Enlightened reason tells us that things are neither good or evil. They just are. It’s the arrangement of things that makes them good or bad. Sin is the warping of the truth and the distortion of purpose. Evil is the malice that presents death as life. A knife may be used to spread butter or kill someone. A hospital may be used to heal folks or serve as a brothel. A religion can reveal more of God’s life. Or hide it. Religion can be used to promote its own gospel – a gospel that suffocates the life of God in the people of God.
A pious soul becomes upset because non-alcoholic wine contains small amounts of alcohol – in the belief that this substance is innately evil. But it’s the abuse of it that is evil just as it is the abuse of food that makes us grow fat and die. It’s the abuse of religion that promotes evil. This is why Christ is our life and religion never is. The Christ of God is I am. He is life itself, and truth and the way to all that is living and ennobling.
Father had created an excellent narrative in which Adam and Eve could have lived for eternity. Here was a story in which the Pair lived in the love of God trusting in the provision of His life and His Way – not through knowledge but through a relationship of trusting uni0n. God is love means we are included in His life – in the fellowship of the trinity.
Satan warped this narrative with a malicious spin. A spin that parasited off an existing good. Sin is caused by separation from God. Sin is good distorted into evil.
Separation brings about more separation and causes the multiplication of sin and death. But Jesus draws all things into Himself. Not only people but the entire creation is joined together in Him. This togetherness and mutual celebration of difference along with inclusion is what we call love.
DISCERNING THE LIE
Any ‘other gospel’ other than Christ’s gospel brings a curse. It continues the fall and its culture of separation, fragmentation, sin and death. ‘Other Gospels’ are evil disguised as life.
The law of sin and death is what we have in separation from God. Evil is both obvious and subtle. It can be found in the hands of the murderer or in the austerity of the religionist. It can be seen in the burglar as well as the thief of Christ’s gospel for the sake of an identity.
PASSING ON A POVERTY MENTALITY TO YOUR KIDS
We know life for what it is – or some of us do. Those with a passion for life are more sensitive to life than the pedestrian traveller who accommodates herself to whatever beliefs were handed her as she entered life. Some are so dependent on this meagre that they eschew a bumper life in favour of their comfortable poverty. They refuse to become sons because they have made a life for themselves as worker - inside a pen fit for hens but not for eagles.
There are people who never knew God’s name. They never knew that Jesus Christ is the human face of God. Yet their hearts knew Him while in the body. After death they see Him face to face and recognise Jesus immediately. He was incarnated in the life they loved and strove to multiply.
GOD IS LOVE
To love life and to seek to live it with a passion is to seek God – whether or not we know who God is. If we do know who God is; if we know that He is the Christ of God manifest as Jesus of Nazareth, we are most blessed. We are super blessed if we know that He is with us and in us and actually our life Companion. This is life in the Spirit. None who live in the law or are attached to it in any way live in the Spirit. The law is opposed to the Spirit. The law is a function of separation and was put in place until the time that the law of sin and death came to an end. At the cross. When Jesus cried it is finished the law was finished. What order replaced the law? Christ incarnated in you.
The son of God aka Jesus of Nazareth is the logos – the divine spirit that holds all things together and who is the living meaning and purpose of the universe. It is this Spirit – this spirit of love, joy and order that dwell in you and dwells in us. Paul called this the law of the spirit of life.
Before The Fall, everything was ‘all good.’ Humans were in relationship with God. They had come out of the trinity as if coming out of a womb. They were part of God. As a result they were part of His nature and character. They were alive to the full. Alive until the fall and the separation of man’s heart that occurred as a result of the lie. Once separated from God life seeped out of them. All perverted gospels are part of this lie.
Life returned again in the person of Jesus Christ. Life comes to you when you agree that He is your life. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the gospel of Jesus and Paul. There is only one Gospel which is the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. Never exchange this life for a lie. Any addition to Christ as our life or a subtraction from Him is a lie.
AFTER THE CROSS
Life as indicated at the start is not compacted into little boxes of good and evil. Not in the post cross age. Life is life. It simply is. Life is the I AM of itself just as Father is I AM.
But the great thing is that in Jesus and the union with God He has achieved for us, we are one with Him and one with life. We are the I AM OF OURSELVES.
This is the resting place and source of real identity. Richard Rohr observes, “The aware mind allows you to enjoy the inherent aliveness in all things, and in yourself, before things and people are categorized or deemed worthy or unworthy, important or unimportant … This is the beginnings of joy, and sometimes even the joy that Jesus calls "complete” (John 15:11).
We can live in personified life (in God) or we can bumble along in our ongoing ‘contract’ of abstaining from the bad and embracing the good. This ‘the Christian life’ for many. Either intellectualized in beliefs and positions or compacted into fundamentalisms and fragments of the letter that kills. Whether the letter is essays or dot points it always kills. Which is why the hard right in politics and religion is always death dressed up as formulae.
The letter kills but Christ is always our life. When we say yes to Him it’s always Christmas and always Easter. He comes as a baby and matures us into the adults we are born to be in Jesus. This is the alpha and omega of our adventure from glory to glory.
This is the ongoing treadmill of the slave and the worker exposed so long ago in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Then again Christ can be our life and we can be the expression of life because we are the manifestation of Him.
Religion is not what Jesus left us. It is not even religion with an anointing. The anointing will not take root in the old covenant because the anointing flows from union with God and the fact of our union with Father. Don’t do to your old covenant religion what God never did with it. He put it to death. In exchange you got not another version of religion. You received a life that is not you as yours – the indwelling Jesus.
When Jesus declares Himself the way, the truth and the life, He is siding with life. He is redeeming you from the letter of sin and death and establishing it for what it is: The manifestation God as the joy of living.