THE FALSE LIFE OF EXTERNALITIES

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If we have been raised in a law-based form of Christianity - one of the fundamentalisms we will have absorbed is the idea that relationships with God are formulaic and contractual. We may even think that life in the spirit is a vapour – which makes us cling to our laws and positions.

Islamic fundamentalism is attractive to doctors and engineers for this reason and it seems that there is a variety of christianity that finds a similar attraction. Just because one can name the parts of the body does not mean that we are adept and joining the dots or even knowing which are dots and which are triangles. Yet there is nothing insubstantial about life in the spirit because it is Christ come in our flesh – Jesus expressed as you.

ABILITY TO SEE

Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’ John 3.3 NIV.

Definitions, positions and proof texts give an illusion of spiritual certainty that is absent in real living and being. Which is why the Word of God is a person and not list of definitions. It’s why the love of God is revealed as a person and why life itself it the Christ of God.

New covenant living is not liberalism. It’s Christ in you.

Jesus is the source, the fabric and meaning of the universe. It is in His being that we have purpose and life.

SUPREMACY OF CHRIST

‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ Col 1.15-20 NIV.

This scripture delineates why the spirit and life of God may not always be found when we recite a series of scriptures but there is a flow of spirit and life when a new covenant preacher speaks from his position of union with God. It happens because the light and life of the universe flows from the trinity into the preacher of the word of God.

TWO EDGED SWORD

The best theologians are intellectually sharp, well informed and willing to follow where Jesus leads. The spirit of adventure comes from the Lord and is actually one of the gifts of the Spirit of Christ. As a result, apostolic people do not hide in rabbit burrows of unsupported belief or promote lifeless traditions because they have an identity in some cultural perspective in which stagnation is seen as a form of holiness.

THE MIRAGE OF EXTERNALITY

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Externalized, and largely static notion of the Christian message that has followed us to this day. Faith became about external requirements that could be enforced, punished, and rewarded, much more than an actual change of heart and mind, which Jesus describes as something that largely happens “in secret, where your Father who sees all that is done in secret can reward you” (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). Jesus invariably emphasized inner motivation and intention in his moral teaching. He made religion about interior change and “purity of heart” (Matthew 5:8), rather than anything people can see, or anything that will produce any social payoff.” (1) The same attitude can cause us to claim unity and oneness in Christ when it is absent in substance because our gospel and our christ are not the same person.

Thomas Torrance cites the same thing when he emphasises the ontological aspects of the atonement and incarnation. These are real in our lives, he points out, as a state of being, since they come from real persons who are and have been really active in history and in our lives. Spiritual realities have no substance when they are merely doctrinal assertions and religious abstractions. The manifest in our reality when Christ comes in our flesh.

  1. (1) Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ (pp. 92-93). SPCK. Kindle Edition.