HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION
Once we learn that what we have as religion is not necessarily the life of God, we are positioned to discipline the mind to seek out His Presence.
One of the sayings that are helpful in stepping into our new birth is that ‘Christianity is not a religion but a person’. The essence of the Kingdom of Jesus is not religious at all. It’s Him as us.
This can be hard to understand if we have been steeped in rationalism and trained in a mode that is mainly intellectual belief. Not that our new born life is non-rational or crazy. But it is a state of being that transcends empiricism and the obsession that truth is only what can be seen and measured.
COME IN THE FLESH
Life in the Spirit – which is what we enter when we exit law and religion - is not like pieced of wood or metal. Yet it has a substance of its own that is more alive than any externality or religious motion. Life in the Spirit is Christ come in your flesh to manifest in you and as you. So you do know it’s there.
A lot of people mistake religion for spirituality. They look for life in their religious routine, their specific beliefs and seek to acquire merit through Christian Behaviors. But these can be illusory because we can be religious and decidedly wooden, inhuman, unspiritual and blind. Spirituality is simply Christ manifesting as your personhood.
GROUND OF OUR BEING
Jesus emphasised that union with God – which is what we now have – fills us with spirit and life. This is none other than the trinity, the life-hub of the universe, woven into our being. This is the achievement of the cross. It’s not the anointing or gifts of the Spirit but it is the soil in which these take hold.
LIFE VERSUS APPEARANCE
‘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. This spirit and life is in us due to our union with LIFE PERSONIFIED – the triune God. This spirit of life makes us more alive, more perceptive, creative and imaginative.
LIFE IS UNION WITH GOD
Thomas Merton writes, “The true creative spirit must be fired with love and with an authentic desire of God. This means, in so many words, that the monastic vocation is one which implicitly, if not explicitly, seeks the experience of union with God. … This is the only real justification for the monk's wilderness life and his desert pilgrimage.”
But we don’t have to be monks and live in monasteries to experience oneness with God. Jesus is not somewhere else in some time else. Jesus in you. So Jesus is where you are.
Holy Communion on a daily basis is not something religious. Yet it is holy because it is Christ in your life. – the trinity in your life. The law is not the big issue of salvation. Your inclusion in God, your enfolding in God by the Christ of God is the essence of Kingdom Christianity.
When we ‘come into the Spirit’ we learn that one can be infilled and anointed with Holy Spirit. Jesus did tell us not to embark on ministry without being filled with Holy Spirit. There is a power and a prescience in the Spirit that can make the difference between the Godliness exhibited by Jesus and forms of Godliness without power that are the bane of institutionalism.
But the incarnation, our union with God is the foundation of all else, including the anointing and the gifts. This is why it is a serious matter to attempt the spirit-filled life in the separation that is the law. Holy Spirit anoints us as sons of God. Not as sons of Adam and acolytes of Moses.
The Lord’s Table celebrates the reality of His Body in us by the Spirit. It must be seen as the foundation of the Kingdom of God. Christ in you really is the hope of glory. Without this, what we have is mundane, wooden and legalistic approximations of holiness.
God woven into our being and us woven into God in Jesus Christ is the post-cross reality that is ours. Jesus is the Vine that roots us in the trinitarian life. We are rooted in God because we are rooted in God. Not because we have earned this or because we have attained some standard of righteousness. We are made one because God has engulfed us in Himself. If there is a discipline to be had, it is living in what we have. We do this by believing that Christ has come in the flesh and that God is in us and with us always.