A son who lives a good life mostly does so because His life is modelled on his mother or his father. A good woman can often thank her mother and father for the example they were. Good people are genetically and spiritually the expression of parents of good character. Certainly the opposite can also be the case. As a teacher I taught many lovely students. But some were bent in disposition and not nice people. They were a reflection of parents of bent nature – parents who left something to be desired as good and gracious people.
Most of us can do bad things. Even if we are basically good people. But you will come across people who are intrinsically bad or more accurately ‘evil.’ Social science calls them a sociopath. God calls them wicked. In every case such evil has a source – an unrelenting, uncontrolled, polluted heart arising from self-centredness.
God did not intend that we be anything less than ourselves. Since He is I AM He created us to be sons in His own image. We are meant to flourish as the person we are. Thus we are lesser ‘I am’s’ who who live out our distinct identity and purpose in our unique design. In Jesus we are who we are.
This is why the law of Moses was not an end in itself and why the knowledge of good and evil is absolutely inferior to Christ as our life. His intention has always been that we live out of His Person to be a fully whole person. This is why the law is a schoolmaster to lead to Christ. It is why Christ does not live in to make us keepers of the law and a compilation of ‘do good pieties.’ He lives to impart to us the fullness of personhood which is the Spirit of Sonship – all of which is to say that when Christ is our life God is our Father and we express His love, integrity and grace.
To know God is not to know morality or to participate in some performance discipline. It’s not even to do missionary work or be your own version of Mother Theresa. Charitable works can be just as much dead works as any kind of religion. Such religion smothers the spirit-life of God makes us dullards in spiritual discernment. Worse still it inhibits the Kingdom of God.
But when Christ is our life by the Spirit, we are our selves in Father and we release His spirit and life into all we touch with love and grace.
To know God is to experience Jesus Christ as our life and become sons who are fully persons even as the trinity are persons in the fullness of God. To be good persons is to be the expression of Jesus who lives in you. Not your life as you but His life as you.
To know God as He is and to know yourself as you comes from Jesus in you. It should not surprise us that to be a good human being is to be a son in the fullest sense and that this sonship is ours in union with our Father. Being a person is more than being decent. It is being the expression of the Christ in you.
Francois Du Toit writes, “The simplicity of the gospel is also its dynamic! The
only belief that matters, is what God believes! Jesus is what God believes! The faith of God has conquered the odds! One has died for all! Therefore all have
died! Just as it was appointed for man to die once and then face judgment, so Jesus died once and faced our judgment! Never to deal with sin again, but to reveal salvation! (Rom 1:16, 17, 2 Cor 5:14-21, Heb 9:27,28). None of the wise rulers of this age understood the simplicity of this mystery! In God’s economy, Jesus represents the human race! Without our permission or contribution, God singlehandedly wrought our deliverance from the powers of death and hell!”
There are those who cannot relinquish life in the flesh because they think life in the Spirit robs them of the self-respect they try to get from earning approval with God. But in this mode – the mode of the flesh come in the flesh through self effort and self justification – what they do is never enough. They never gain the self worth they are looking for and they never become rivers of spirit and life. Instead they get involved in an endless search for some fellowship, some key that might provide what can only be a gained in one way: CHRIST IN THEM.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
In the Spirit the life of Christ and His infinite refreshment has come in your flesh and you are multiplier of infinite life. Earning your favour through good works of charity and beneficence Christ has not come in you and you multiply death in the name of life. Here we inhibit the new creation in the name of religion.
‘The life-giving power of this age is Christ come in you. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
If Jesus delivered as from being performance addicts He also set us free from the non-life of living as a string bag of virtues. As a person He has made us persons – person who are daughters and sons living in the fullness of personhood which is the image of God. Because Christ lives in us we are the effect of His Spirit. Because we and our Father are one He is revealed in us and we are who we are. Not some clone of religion or jesters in a game of trivial pursuit. We are life-giving sons in spirit and in truth.