It’s not difficult to associate god with something like the hijab, the Sabbath or a religious routine. Particularly when one lives without the Spirit and is for the most part denied objective signs of God’s presence - the reality of His manifest presence. There’s a big difference between teaching children Bible stories and about Jesus healing the blind man and seeing Jesus heal deaf ears and straighten crooked limbs. These things happen on a regular basis when we leave of living in shadows and embrace the Reality that is Christ. We are not here to promote ideology. We are here to multiply what Jesus began.
Many Believers have never experienced much of God for themselves, let alone God's love. I was raised in a Christian home and educated at a Christian college, yet I did not really come to God and find Jesus as a friend until the bottom had fallen out of my life. It had become plain to me that what I had related to was more the mechanics of Christianity than Christ Himself. Calamity and the desperation this involves can make us hunger for a real Jesus. My knowledge of God through Jesus increased as I came to experience Jesus as a person rather than as a religion. Christ is not Christianity, but the Kingdom of God and its new creation life is Christ.
‘Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life’ 1 John 5.12 NIV.
In this season Jesus wants us to know Him as more than a friend. He wants us to find nurture in His Father as our Father. In Father's love we flourish. In Father's heart we mature as daughters and sons. In the Spirit of Sonship we represent Him on earth. In the resurrection of His Son we co-labour with Him to build the new creation.
The chief issue for humanity has little to do with the law. The issue is, ‘Will you acknowledge the Father as expressed in His Son. Will you be a son in spirit and in truth because Christ is your life.
‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ John 17.3 NIV.
Performance is not God. Wearing a hijab or keeping the Sabbath is not god. God is I AM. Yet He is not far off. The fullness of God is Jesus and the Representative of God among us is Holy Spirit. God lives in you by His Spirit. You are enfolded in His life and His love. This is the life and teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
‘As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father’ 1 John 2.24 NIV.
A God of performance is not really a God whose essence is love. A God of 'this hurts me more than it hurts you' is not all that convincing. Parents who do not spare the rod in the hope of building the child into an honorable human being run the risk of multiplying rage, violence and rebellion. A God who is said to love us but is pretty much pained by our behavior is not the God whose innate nature is love. Neither is the God of Try Harder who reigns in much institutional religion. But the God who says to the Believer, 'Nothing you can ever do can separate you from Me' is the Father who loves you. Father was in Christ drawing you into His arms.
The person who sees the essence of God as law is a different person to one who sees the essence of God as love. One is depersonalized. The other is the expression of Jesus.
‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1.27 NIV.
While it is true that union with God transforms our lives, Father does not see us as a project but as sons and daughters to be loved. Fitting people into a mould, even a good one, is not His priority. God is not law driven. He is love driven.
He does not operate from the dichotomies of good and evil. He is life and He is love. Loving you and drawing you into His Family to enjoy what is His is what He is about. His priority is to draw you into His House and make you part of the new creation that was birthed when His Son rose from the tomb on Sunday morning. You belong. This is your starting point. Grow your relationship with God from where He has placed you: In Himself.
In the Kingdom of God actions don't have value because they are right or because they are beneficial. Good deeds have no life in themselves. They have validity and life when they are done in God. The woman at the well asked Jesus where people should worship. Jesus replied that this was not the issue. The issue was to worship in spirit and in truth. This is impossible in the law. When Christ is our life our actions are the expression of our union with our Father because we are sons of God.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
When Paul wrote Galatians he could have been writing to the adherents of Adventism. He asked them why having begun the Spirit of Christ had the returned to the law. He called them stupid because they had abandoned life in favour of the death of the letter.
‘You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?’ Gal 3.1-3 NIV.
Any course of action is only life-giving when the one who does it lives in God, is one with God and distributes His life. The Kingdom of God is life in the Spirit. It is a life in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is your life because Jesus is your life. It is the outworking of your identity as a son in God. It is the unfolding of the purposes that are yours as a son of your Father. You complete Him as a son/daughter because you are part of Him and always will be. This is your victory over the Enemy and the world.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ 2 Cor 5.17 NIV.
As a Sabbath-keeper we are tied to the law. To be attached to one is to be attached to all. In union with the law we are not part of the new creation. We are part of Adam and his bondage to the law of sin and death and the authority of Satan. In the new creation Christ is our life. Incarnated in our being He is the new and living way of union with God and of transformation. Jesus as distinct from laws on stone is the law of the Spirit of Life who lives in us and ignites our being with the spirit heaven.
‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’ Titus 3.5 NIV.
This is why Paul admonished that circumcision (and by implication Sabbath-keeping) in the age of the Spirit was meaningless. What counts is the new creation that is you as a result of your new start in the resurrected Jesus. Let’s be clear here. If we remain in the law we remain part of Adan. We have not been put to death and are not reborn in Christ. We are not part of the new creation Kingdom of God and we can neither understand or perceive the real meaning of the Kingdom of God’s Son. The truth is that rather than being keepers of the flame, we are the church of the not born again.
‘Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’ John 3.3 NIV.
Jeff Turner writes,
'I had never truly experienced the love of God for myself, and therefore had no grid for understanding it. I lived in a constant state of condemnation and self-loathing. I was burdened by a perpetual fear that I wasn't doing enough or being enough, and always just knew that I was somehow falling short. When a preacher would stand up and whip me for an hour plus with a man-centered message on sin, I'd feel like I'd been to church and would come home licking my wounds and hatching plans on how to get more holy.
When he would speak a message of encouragement or preach on the simplicity of God's love, however, I'd feel cheated. I wanted someone to stand up and confirm my suspicions about myself; that I was no good and dirty. I wanted someone who would agree with my own ungodly thoughts about myself.
When I heard God's love preached and expounded upon I would sit numbly, watching the clock and longing for the talk to be over, because I simply had no grid for understanding such a thing.'
Many live in this kind of apprehension of God, which is actually a lie of the Enemy. Those who live this way mostly live from the old covenant. They are still with Adam in the knowledge of good and evil and with Moses in the law. But they have a new and living way that is Christ Himself - Christ incarnated in their being, Christ their life. The only more morbidly, religious Christian than this Believer is the inmate of Adventism who is both a prisoner of the law and withered by the blight of ‘the distinctives.’ I mean the distortions of the Bible that propose a mean view of life after death and the grinding self-effort of ‘Have I done enough?’ and the gaining one’s own at-one-ment with God.
You can ignore the kind of thing that is written here. You might pass it off as the grumblings of an ex-Adventist, invent some human frailty concerning the writer as an excuse for dismissing the gospel of the Kingdom - and continue in the self-imposed coma of your ‘other gospel.’
Then again you might resort to the assumption that you are supported by Bible truth. But you are not. You are inveigled in a web of special pleading and forced interpretations that are not aligned with the Bible let alone the testimony of the Body of Christ. You can live in this with your persecution complex and your smug assumption - your illusion that your sect has the truth and all the others are mistaken and still get to heaven. But on this earth you will miss out on life. You will live as a slave instead of a son and be almost entirely unsuccessful at bringing heaven to earth. Unsuccessful because you are stuck in an ideology instead of being alive in Christ your life.
‘These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother’ Gal 4.24-26 NIV.
Father, son and Holy Spirit - God - cannot be understood through the Adventist grid which is impersonal and performance driven. Father is unlike the god portrayed by Ellen White and Adventism.
Who God is can be known and understood in the person of Jesus. But we must have the Jesus who is the Christ of God and not the lesser christ of Ellen White and Desire of Ages. This Jesus is not Father’s Son. This Son lived not from the law but from being one with His Father. Today this is our privilege and opportunity. In Christ we and our Father are one. We are not only one but we have been drawn into their fellowship and revelation of themselves and who they are.
‘ All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ Matt 11.27 NIV.
The thing is, that because Father really loves you, now you are a son/daughter of God. There's a one letter difference between son and sin. You can choose your own designation. You can choose Jesus as your life and the rights that are His. Then again you can continue to do that thing you do as yourself. But try as you might you will continue in sin and lawlessness. You have actually overcome the world because Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus is seated beside the Father and your are seated beside the Father because you are in Christ. But Jesus is also in God. He and the Father are one, which means that you are in Christ and as a result in the Father. You are home and you are loved.