Jack was a sincere man. He had laboured for Jesus under the auspices of the law and the belief that the law was the focus of God’s life and therefore of his. He took offence one day when a pastor from another church came and declared that those who lived from the law were not sons in spirit and in truth. ‘You are saying that I am not really a son!’ He railed. But neither we are in a law-mindset. We are potential sons – sons who live as workers and slaves outside our inheritance of Belonging. We are sons of the evil one so to speak. Not because we are bad people but because we have bought his story that we cannot live in the spirit of sonship until we get ourselves good enough to deserve a place in His presence.
Jack took offence because it was implied that he was not a son. Yet in his theology one earns sonship by works of the law. In his contradictory view, we are both not sons and are sons simultaneously, living in a state of ambiguity and uncertainty. The bad news about this kind of ‘sonship’ is that your acceptance with God depends on you! The good news is that our gospel is not yes and no. It’s always yes in God. We belong because, apart from us God has made it so.
‘For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me and Silas and Timothy–was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes”’ 2 Cor 1.19 NIV.
ADVENTURE OF LIFE
Life can be an adventure if we are willing to be reborn and literally embrace a new creation that involves the reinvention of ourselves, a distinct break with our foundations and the beginning of a new life on a new continent in a radically new universe. I’m talking re-birth into the new covenant of Christ our life.
We can, if we choose, make every effort to maintain or rebirth our old normal life. But if we are astute and following Jesus’ own death and resurrection, we will not continue to nurture what Jesus never planted. We will not circle endlessly in confusion. We will embrace Jesus’ uprooting of the tare of our old life and rejoice as He replants us in the Soil of Himself as sons and daughters of God.
‘At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn’ Matt 13.28 NIV.
We can in a natural sense, be born again and be replanted. But the new birth that Jesus speaks of is more fundamental and more sensational than this. It involves the death entirely of the old self and the beginning of the new self in a new and living way that heralds the growth into maturity of the emerging sons and daughters of God. We are transplanted into the soil of Father’s being. We are placed in the womb of the trinity to be rebirthed as real sons in spirit and in truth.
In this rebirth we cannot live in religion – which is the natural inclination of our Adamic self. We are who we are and grow into who we are becoming in the vicarious humanity of Jesus. This means that He is our life and relationship with God, ourselves and others in every respect.
Of course we are not compelled to do this. We can continue our journey in the expected/respected conformity of ‘Give us this day our daily plod.’ We can persist in more of the same and maybe commend ourselves for perseverance in unpromising circumstances. But as Robert Rohr observes, ‘This first-half-of-life task is no more than finding the starting gate. It is merely the warm-up act, not the full journey. It is the raft but not the shore. If you realize that there is a further journey, you might do the warm-up act quite differently, which would better prepare you for what follows. People at any age must know about the whole area of their life and where it is tending and leading. We know about this further journey from the clear and inviting voices of others who have been there, from the sacred and secular texts that invite us there, from our own observations of people who have entered this new territory, and also, sadly, from those who never seem to move on.’
WHO IS OUR FATHER?
‘The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one’ Matt 13.38 NIV.
We can, if we choose mass like mindless sheep in front of an open gate, pressing on each other and squashing each other, oblivious of the door of freedom that awaits. ‘All we like sheep have gone astray, suffocating our spirits in an old and dead way.’ Then again we can permit these circumstances to launch us like a rocket out of the illusions of the father of lies to set us free from the withered sonship of the evil one.
In the new and living way the tare that was our life in the false fatherhood of Adamic separation is replanted in the soil called union with God. Here we are sons of God – not seeds failing to germinate or grow on the rocky soil of the law or the sands of religion. Tares, if they are clever, have a blessed hope. A hope that is expressed in the words. ‘Now we are the sons of God.’
‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ 1 john 3.2 NIV.
‘Moving on’ is done in the spirit of truth, liberty and life. Life of the kind that is expressed as a deep love of life. This love liberates and frees us from lifeless forms and repetitive usages that have no meaning other than a tired familiarity and the soporific effect of any drug. Following Jesus gives us boldness in place of timidity and courage in place of passivity to break the bonds and reject forever the shroud of our collective delusion.