LIGHT HAS COME

LIGHTHASCOME

‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were [self-centered, insensitive, dull, anti-life and] evil’ John 3.19 NIV.

I remember Mr Hautingly, the art teacher at the university. He seemed eccentric and was. In my youthful arrogance I saw him as less than a great example although a reflective and informed person is what He was. Another lecturer, a man of imagination and daring rebuked us and asserted that this man was no joke and that he had an intellect that penetrated the fog. There’s lesson here. Don’t expect to be brilliant as an inmate of the status quo. Such apologists never are. They repeat old saws and don’t advance beyond their mothers ideas. But they do excel in strengthening the system’s iron and bars of fear and small thought. As a proponent of conformity expect, despite your best intentions, to become inanimate and dull. This may win you a place at the head of an institution of the flesh but never admiration among the living or the inhabitants of heaven. Life is not always valued by the respected for what it is and many really do accommodate themselves to darkness and resist the light.

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also’ John 15.20.

There are of course people who are eccentric and mad. And many who are zealous but entirely without discernment – not because they could not have had it. But because they are either arrogant enough to be slow learners or too timid to embrace the rawness of life and its extravagant abundance. If there is anything that distinguishes the life of God from religion it is excess!

In Jesus we get every manifestation of life because He is life to the full. We must be one with Him to see His creation and participate in the up-welling of life that is Jesus for us and the trinity in us.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.

There are people who are not intelligent enough to see through false religion and cut through it with the sword of their being. They have become dull enough to live as functionaries and sycophants of the system. Religion and legalism shrinks the mind.

Like crows these functionaries feast on the scraps of status flung to them by those deformed by conformity and the spirit of anti-christ. Let’s be clear. There are people we are sometimes tempted to laugh at or not take seriously because we think they are not quite with it. Actually they may be more with it than we, more astute than we and have more discerning minds than we do because they have penetrated the illusions we call our life. They are living from the vision of Light itself.

‘For, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ’ 1 Cor 2.16 NIV.

The mind of the climate change denier is not the mind of Christ. But is is the mind of those who cry ‘From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created’ 2 Peter 3.4 NIV. If we are as dull as this in the natural we cannot expect to have any real discernment in the spiritual. The self-centered person is cursed with eyes that cannot see and ears that do not hear. Lets not ever imagine that we are filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit if we are climate change deniers. Could it be that non-believing people who love society and the earth have a higher morality than those Christians who are continually bleating about the supremacy of the economy?

‘Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear’ Jer 5.21 NIV.

A person in the Spirit is different to one who is not. In religion we are ghosts of our real selves. In the Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, we are who we are. Because Christ has come in our flesh, the Son of Man is alive in us and we are grow into the realness of our humanity because we alive in the Spirit. Never a shadow of ourselves we are our real selves because we live in the reality who is Christ. We are potent and life-giving. In addition we are accompanied a supernatural spirit and light that is the law of the spirit of life.

So we are free to choose. As a functionary of religion we can be a servant of anti-christ. With Christ as our life we can be emissaries of our Father. We are free to choose whether we will be carcasses of conformity in the valley of rattling bones or whether we are spirit and life because Christ has come in our flesh.

Poets, artists, writers and actors have the ability to convey to us this ‘greater life.’ Although sometimes characterized as ‘other worldly’ their poems, novels and movies  influence to the good many who would otherwise be dead or comatose because they have been swallowed by the un-reality and illusion of a life without Christ. Many of these people are not Christians. But they frequently bear witness to a raw reality unpolluted by convention and diluted by vanity.

Recently the daughter of a good friend passed away. I was telling my own daughter than Jayne was a person who lived unconventionally and despised religion. She remarked, ‘You and I don’t like it either.’ People like us can can imagine ourselves surrounded by the blind and the dead, and frequently are. There are people who chose religion over life out of timidity or because they have chosen to work at self-authentication in their own strength. They worry away at in the imagined safety of their flesh. Their conformity  wins approbation in some quarters. But such status leaves them personally more blind than they should be and far less alive than their inheritance allows. There is a penalty for rejecting the fullness of Christ. It’s called death.

To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead’ Rev 3.1 NIV.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins’ Col 2.13 NIV.

‘He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving’ ‘Isa 6.9 NIV.

The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small– and for destroying those who destroy the earth’ Rev 11.18 NIV.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land’ 2 Chron 7.14 NLT.

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RADICAL JESUS LIFE!

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If we have been brought up in legalism or in the deeper and more subtle influence of a law culture and Christian performance orientation, it may be easy for us to imagine that Paul retained elements of the law as part of the equation between ourselves and God. It will take a greater effort to come to the realisation – revelation – that God cannot be reduced to law but is in fact expressed as Jesus Christ and that Jesus as Himself with no additional feature or appended prescriptions is in person the righteousness of God and more. He is life itself and more pertinently your life!

It would be easy, raised in Christianity, to imagine that our belief system is the reality and Jesus is a shadow or an addendum. How else do we explain the stubborn or grudging attachment of many Believers to the patterns and behaviours that we adopt as our religious life? But there is a way that is more simple and infinitely more powerful. These things are the shadow. But the reality is 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’ Col 1.15-18 NIV.

We have asserted often in this space that the new covenant is not an adaptation of the old and is not the law with Jesus added or the law with Jesus as our supernatural strength to enable law-keeping. There is no law in the new testament other than the person of Christ in people. Jesus is in us and with us to impart Himself! This is why we need to take careful note of the fact that in Philippians Paul equates law when compared to Jesus as excrement. A law-based religious culture not only denies us life – it ferments neuroses and mental illness. Sure – I know this is a problem for those who find it difficult to be decisive about anything. But Jesus and Paul were decisive because they lived in God and not some version of the knowledge of good and evil. The former is the home of sons. The latter the redoubt of politicians.

On the road to Damascus, Paul became the subject of a drastic encounter and an exquisite revelation: he saw that the eternal representation of God was not the Torah but Jesus of Nazareth. He saw that those who received Jesus as Lord and Christ were no longer out but in. Paul saw that the person of Yahweh had been revealed in Jesus and that it was Jesus who was Messiah, Christ and Lord. In Jesus’ remarks to Paul, ‘Why are you persecuting me?’ Paul  saw that there was no place for sacred violence and that the attitudes he had embraced on behalf of God were not from God.

But more than this. It was revealed to Paul that his in group/out group mentality; the mentality of his doctrine and culture was not legitimate and from now on was defined as the opposite of truth. He saw  that there was no merit in the cultural distinctives that he has been taught recommended him to God. Nothing about this that enabled him and his to participate in God. There was now a new way that had nothing to do with law and everything to do with our inclusion in God on account of our position in His Son.

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ Eph 2.14 NIV.

Not only is our conflicted and bisected self made one. The creation is made one in Christ who brings all things together in Himself

Paul saw that what recommended anyone to God and placed people in Him was a trust and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord. Paul was being shown, that he and his nation were not received or acceptable to God on the basis of the law or on account of their definition of truth. They were all were included in God’s Family on account – not of the law – but of Christ. This was a drastic back-flip for Paul. Yet this is the same re-orientation that any Christian shackled to torah must make.

Don’t be misled by law-cults and Jewish revisionism. There are those who see themselves as apart from other Christians, as themselves ‘in the truth’ and the harbingers of a special message. They are grossly out of sync with the new and living way. Their message undoes what Father achieved for us in Christ. It elevates the law above Christ, makes the law god and in so doing diminishes Christ. The effect is that the ministry of Holy Spirit is denied and the spirit and soul of the Believer is suffocated. The near death and paralysis of parts of the body of Christ, does not occur so much because of the absence of Holy Spirit. It gains ground because so many have never advanced into the fullness of what Father won for them in the person of His Son: Union with Himself.

‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.

Paul’s experience on the Damascus road is affirming to those who have abandoned the ‘other gospel’ of performance orientation to live in the new covenant power of God. It is cogently applicable to those who remain dormant through lack of insight and revelation in an old covenant mindset. Paul became the apostle of the free spirit and the advocate of a gospel that was more than a form of Godliness – it was the power of God.

The radical life that is the Kingdom through you is life in the Spirit of Christ. There is nothing weak and vapid about this. This is the reality of the three-personed God alive in your body. It is you as a son positioned in your Father. It is Christ come in the flesh and by the Spirit active in the world of people and things. This is the reality in which the anointing and the gifts flourish.

Dr Stephen Crosby writes,  ‘The revelation to Saul that his God was Jesus unrecognized, and that Christ was in union with the least of these, was reinforced when Paul was instructed to go and find another member of the dreaded sect of the Nazarene. In this case it was Ananias, someone Saul thought worthy of death.’

So what do we learn from this? Paul’s encounter brought to him the revelation that God was not with those who upheld the law but with those who received the fullness of Jesus Christ. What is fullness? It is inclusion in Christ and as a result, oneness with our Father. Fullness is living in all of our inheritance. Consequently fullness is the projection of Father’s life into us and hence into our everyday affairs in the Spirit of Sonship. It is the Kingdom of God.