In my last post I talked about how important it is to have the correct starting point. The absolutely only starting point that is right (righteous) and is like no other (holy) and is faithful (obedience) is Jesus. He is our inertial navigation reference point. He is the truth. In the anointing of the Holy Spirit, He reveals the truth to us. More than that, more than roommates sharing ideas, more than a husband and wife sharing in experiences…we have in us and part of us His ideas and His experiences and His emotions and His wisdom and His inclusion and His love. In our union with Him, in His union with the Father, in the triune union of God, in His oneness we have His life. That should blow you away. That is a starting point that is like no other (holy). That is a starting point that is set apart (sanctified). That is a starting point that includes the end point, Love Himself.
I would say that starting point is really good news since I alone have no navigation system that I can trust. I alone always listen to a conscience that is broken and uses distorted facts and doesn’t know everything and serves itself and receives its food from the forbidden tree. It is good news because alone I live in fear. I am afraid of God and man. I am afraid of my own mistakes and the rejection of others. I am in fear of non-existence and insignificance and exclusion. In fear I protect and defend and insist and demand and argue and debate and condemn and hurt others so I look better. Alone I insist on my logic and my reason and my causality. I believe in a deterministic world where there is only cause and effect or carrots and sticks or good and evil. I feed daily and hourly and continuously on the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everything I know must be and can only be filtered through the good-bad fruit juice strainer. Alone I am broken. Alone I am lost. Alone I am wrong even though I believe I am right. Alone I am on a journey that started from the wrong place and is on the wrong road. Check out the last post for more.
But that is why Jesus is the gospel. That is why Jesus is the good news. I AM NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. JESUS IS IN ALL OF US. I am joined to Him, included in Him, accepted by Them, in union with Him. They (God) are in Love with me and pleased with me and adore me and actually like me. Because I am in Him, I can know what it feels like to be in Them because I am in Jesus and we are in Them. I can’t get away from this inclusion. I will never ever be alone again. Every aspect of me that acted out of the darkness of aloneness, the blindness of exclusion, the bushes of fear, the condemnation of shame, the rebellion of rejection… all of that old nature has died in the death of Jesus. He took Adam to the grave and resurrected us together (Jesus and me, Jesus and you) as a new creation that can never be severed again.
OK, with that starting point I want to share and example of what it looks like to walk this out.
The setup is a man and a woman are living together and they are not married. They have a child and have been together for a long time. There are problems at home. They are looking for answers, solutions, wisdom, relief, help…salvation. Jesus is our salvation. In Him are the answers. Still our old way of thinking, our wrong starting point darkness will lead us into an anti-Jesus way of responding. When religion works out of the darkness and brings guilt and shame and condemnation and carrots and sticks and the law of sin and death, then religion is acting contrary to the good news. Religion is inviting the darkness back into the conversation. Region has hijacked the truth of Jesus and His finished work and instead inserted fallen Adam thinking. Jesus set us free from all that. The truth is in Him. To deny that truth, to deny what He did in His life, death and resurrection to us and through us and in us is anti-Christ. Just saying.
So your friend in this relationship (the man and woman above) comes to you and loves you and really needs your help. Do you give them Jesus or do you give them this:
“God is a holy God. Sin is sin. She is living with a man who is not her husband. God says that’s sin. He blesses obedience.”
If you are Moses and you are not a new creation and all you have is the law and, given your own efforts, you will fail miserably and in an old covenant relationship with a God (who you don’t know)…then the words may apply. The truth is Jesus. I can’t say that enough. In Him we don’t see the problem the same way.
Yes living in a non-covenant relationship with a person has its challenges. There is no commitment. It can be challenging to give to one another with complete other-centeredness like the triune Love of God. There is uncertainty and fear. The deep things of a marriage may not be there. The “two become one flesh” may not be there. Giving completely and unconditionally is hard when there is no “until death separates us” covenant. In a covenant relationship with the right starting point (Jesus) there is beauty and joy and life and light and peace and inclusion and acceptance and unconditional love. It all comes from Him and through us and into the marriage. It is amazing, no doubt.
However when religion is speaking it is the spirit of death. It is born out of the darkness. It is not from Jesus. When you have the right starting point then you can “see” differently. As an example let’s break apart the comment from religion:
God is a holy God. Yes He is. His holiness is born out of and defined by His triune nature. His triune nature is Love and acceptance and inclusion and other-centeredness in relationship. His “not awful”, His “set apartness” is the unbelievable unconditional Loving relationship He has with Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful dance of a Kenosis emptying of Himself into each other. It is Holy. There is none like it. It is why we call Him Holy. It is not the inside of a bottle of rubbing alcohol.
Sin is sin. Yes it is but it is defined by relationship. Sin is unbelief. Sin is not knowing God. Sin is working out of the darkness instead of the light (who is Jesus). Sin is denying the finished work of Jesus. Sin is denying what Jesus has done for us. It is a product of the darkness which doesn’t know who Jesus is, what He has done and who He reveals in the Father.
God says that’s sin. If you want to get really technical anything we do outside of our relationship with glory is sin. All have fallen short of the glory of God. Sin isn’t the issue. Darkness is the issue. God knows we will mis-behave. He knows we will make mistake. He knows we will be rebellious. This is why He joins Himself to us in our Sin. He became our Sin. He became the very sinful flesh of us. We have to know, He dies so we would always know, He is in union with us so we will never miss it again…We are not apart from Him. He remembers our sin no more (Heb 8, 10). That is our new covenant. We drink His blood to remember we are not only forgiven but included in the family. Why do we remember each others sin and are quick to point that out when God Himself says He has forgotten it and Jesus has judged us already on the cross?
He blesses obedience. A fallen way of thinking gives weight to a statement like this. “Well Moses said brother… and away we go.” No one has known or seen the Father except Jesus. He said that. Under the law, Moses had to use carrots and sticks because the people did not know God. We have the light of life in us. Our obedience is in Him. Look…He died for us and included us and died as us and was raised with us in union with Him and saved us from ourselves and WE HAD NO VOTE. That was our obedience. Yes there is sowing and reaping. Jump off a cliff without Jesus to catch you and you will get broken. Live in a non-covenant relationship or have casual sexual relationship with anyone or anything outside of marriage and there will be bad stuff that happens. That is just how things work outside of what God designed to be good IN RELATIONSHIP. It doesn’t mean He is withholding a blessing because we are being stupid. No as a matter of fact this is what it says about blessings:
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (ESV)
Here it is in the Mirror translation:
Eph 1:3 Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ! 1:4 He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world! Jesus is God’s mind made up about mankind! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence. 1:5 He is the architect of our design; his heart dream realized our coming of age in Christ. 1:6 His grace-plan is to be celebrated: he greatly endeared us and highly favored us in Christ. His love for his Son is his love for us. (Toit, Francois Du (2014-01-08). Mirror Bible)
Let’s stop beating people up with a Moses stick that is based on a fallen Adamic nature that Jesus got rid of on the cross. God is Love. We are to love one another. Our love for each other must start from the right starting point. It is OK if you have been lost for a long time. I was. It was embarrassing to admit how completely jacked up I was before but now I am so free I scream and shout His glory and praise and holiness. If our first reaction to someone’s pain is to say “God is really pissed at you and it is all your fault and you deserve what you are getting” who are we? The Jesus in us is screaming “NO NO NO. I died for you to include you to set you free from judgment and give you wisdom so you can speak life into someone’s life when they are hurting.” Jesus says “they need me so show them me.”
We have such an amazing blessing in our commission to reveal Him to others. It should look like it is too good to be true. It should never ever look like condemnation. The Hell some people insist on is the one where all the people in it are being loved by God in His full glory and they are screaming “people need to be judged and pay for what they did on Earth!!! How can you let them off?!?!?”
Wow! The master gave them all a days wage…even when they didn’t “deserve it.”
A perfect starting point…please “strive” to find it.