“Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshiping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God.” (Robert Capon)
In these last few posts I’ve tried to contrast a before and after kind of thing regarding some of the “doctrines” or “traditions” we cling to in our desperate attempt to be right by what we perceive we know is right. OK, that is an overgeneralization. The point is we all have the mind of Christ, we are all a new creation in Christ, we all have Jesus in us and us in Jesus, we all have the fullness of God in Christ in us…the hope of glory. He holds all things together and the Holy Spirit is constantly revealing to us our inclusion in the triune circle dance of our divine family. Our God is our Father. Our savior is our brother and our groom. Our teacher and comforter and revealer, the Holy Spirit is one with our spirit. We can never be separated. We have always been in Him with His life in us. We were separate in our minds but now have been joined in a cosmic reconciliation through the divine incarnation of the Word become flesh. The creator has joined the creation and restored the cosmos. There still may be darkness. There are so many who still don’t know the good news of Jesus or reject the good news of Jesus or embrace religion over the good news of Jesus. Still He is in us and we are in Him. The Holy Spirit is revealing that truth in all of us. It may be a hidden truth for many but is still a truth that can’t be undone.
OK, with that backdrop I’ve been sharing how my own journey has taken me from a traditional western understanding of theology (because I didn’t know there were any other options) and God has brought me into the light of life. The truth is setting me free to see more of His truth. From glory to glory and my faith in His faithfulness, I’ve seen a God who is too good to be true. His goodness is beyond our limited human ability to understand something so beautiful. His forgiveness is universal. His mercy never ends. His Grace changes everything and includes everything and accepts everything. He rejects noting or no one. His plan has always been to create a family of us humans to share in His triune perfections of acceptance and Love and inclusion and provision and other-centeredness and Kenosis sacrifice and so so so so so much more. He is not limited by my judgmental, fallen way of thinking. He is not impacted by my dumb decisions. He is not disgusted by my sin and rejection and selfishness. He meets me in Jesus in the darkest places of my deepest wounds and my most deliberate rebellion. He is a Father who loves His children with a love that includes dying to prove it and make it real for all of us. He goes so far as to join Himself to all of us so that our blind desperation to hide in the bushes is consumed by the Love we share in Jesus with and for and from the Father. His vicarious victory is our normality. His eternal acceptance in the Father-Son relationship is our eternal life. His joy is our joy. His peace is our peace. His sonship is our adoption.
If only everyone knew the good news. If only everyone believed the good news. If only everyone participated in the good news. If only everyone embrace the truth of Christ in us.
So as a continuation of the last few posts, how about a re-framing of a few distorted and deceived perceptions of religious principles that have really messed up the human race? It is a huge task but I trust your mind of Christ to ask the questions, seek Jesus for the answers and listen to the Holy Spirit for the truth.
Sin…That has been a fun one on this journey. From the very beginning of my walk with Jesus I have known that I have known that sin and our treatment of sin was not supposed to be what I heard from the pulpit. The angry sin management police sounded more like the accuser of the brethren that Jesus. Jesus never once went on a sin management tirade of fire and brimstone. Yes, He used our concept of law keeping and our concept of Hell to reveal our inability to manage our own lives in our own selfishness. Yes, He did “turn it up a notch” for the Jewish lawyers on the hillside. But His point was to reveal our complete and total depravity to improve our own lives and manage our own behaviors and the pointless nature of worrying about the whole thing anyway. Whew…deep breath….
I wrote a number of posts about sin. You can check them out. You can start with “The tragic flaw of unbelief” where I show the origin of the sin word, hamartia. There are many more that follow. In all of those posts I did not have the re-framed theology I do today. I had no idea that there was a Christus Victor understanding of why Jesus came. Now I can say, in the trinitarian view of God, that sin (acting out of a fallen identity) has been dealt with completely. Check out “You are NOT Formless and Nameless!” to see how the power of sin is removed in our incarnation with Jesus. As a quick side note the reason we still see the “darkness” today and people are “still sinning” is they really don’t know who they are, they have rejected the finished work of Jesus and are living out of incredible disappointment and hurts founded in the “I am nots” of the lies of the enemy. Check out this post “Mess Makers – The great I am NOT.”
Faster and funnier.
Wrath. Come on we all want some wrath don’t we? I wrote a bunch of posts about wrath. For most of them I was happy with conclusions but on a few I probably crossed a line. This is what you do when your theology (angry God with Penal Substitution blood lust) is all jacked up. So I apologize for any “bending of words” that may have occurred. Start with this post “Children of wrath.” There are others you can find by searching wrath. This post however is a good example of looking outside our limited traditions and seeing a deeper truth. OK, big words for a simple discovery, sometimes the translation is just wrong.
Now on this side of a revelation the wrath of God is the best thing we could possibly want or dream of. God’s “wrath” is His great NO!!!!! to our fallen condition. He made us His kids to be in His family. He didn’t make throw aways or rejects or “goats.” He made sons and daughters. From before the foundations of the Earth God has intended us as His children in Jesus. Before the foundations of the Earth we were included in Jesus. Before the foundations of the Earth the “lamb was slain” meaning Jesus was already prepared to go all the way into our darkest place and join mankind in their darkest moment and let mankind work from the darkness to kill Him on a cross as a sinner without a people. That is the wrath of God. He will not relent. He will absolutely hug us to death if required. For the ones who reject His Love and compassion and forgiveness and mercy and grace…His furious Love will be very very uncomfortable. If we can’t let it go…then what happens when the thing we hold onto is nothingness itself? We all need His wrath to root out our weeds of unbelief. We all need a deep, deep, pickling, transformative work of the fiery love of God to reveal how awesome He is in the middle of our fallen stupidity and selfishness. Check out “Godly justice revisited.”
Last one…I know you have to go to a meeting.
Judgment. OK, lots of posts on judgment as well. Try “Godly judgment” as a starting point. When we are trapped and in bondage to an image of God that looks more like Molech or Diablos than Jesus then we are stuck with a Judgment concept that is horrific and not from God. Sorry if I stepped on any toes.
Remember God made all of us to be His children. I can’t say that enough. He didn’t make a bunch of random robots or beasts that either learn better or get tortured for ever and ever. How ridiculous is that? Imagine a Father who had kids and cut them loose in the world with an instruction manual and said “well if you have enough will power and intelligence and wisdom and self-control and… you will pass the test and I won’t burn your flesh off with a blow torch that never runs out of gas while I make sure that you never run out of flesh to burn.” Come on?!?!?! The fear of religion actually has us believing that crap. It isn’t true. It isn’t God.
On one hand our judgement is continuous and eternal. Our day of judgment is everyday. We stand before the judgment seat of Christ and get to decide…do I believe in what Jesus has done in His incarnation, death and resurrection or do I believe I can do it all myself in my effort with my best intentions? Am I trying to work my way into Heaven or do I live from the Heavenly place where I am already seated.
In another very real way there will be a “final judgment.” It is a great mystery and anyone that says they have it figured out completely is a liar. Sorry for toes again. For me I believe this judgment is a giant naked party. OK, don’t be too shocked. We will stand naked before Him, completely exposed, and He will assess our hearts. Are we willing to let Him love us? Are we in agreement with His universal forgiveness of all of mankind? Are we willing to let go of our offenses and insistence on the judgment of our offenders? Are we willing to surrender to a God who is too good to be true by our estimation? Are we ready to let go of our wisdom and embrace the beauty of the triune circle dance of Love? There are some and maybe many that will not give up their perfect pious pew position to embrace our depravity and His inclusion of everyone. “It just isn’t fair!!” they scream. There are some who just want themselves and no other and will say no to dependence in Him and cling desperately to an independence of self. They shout “I don’t want you God I like me too much.”
Here is a good quote by Robert Capon:
“I am left, therefore, with the unhappy suspicion that people who are afraid the preaching of grace will encourage sin are in fact people who resent the righteousness they have forced themselves into. Having led “good” lives – and worse yet, having denied themselves the pleasures of sin – they seethe inwardly at any suggestion that God may not be as hard on drug pushers and child molesters as they always thought he would be on themselves.”
I could be really wrong on all of that but I do know this…God’s judgment is really really good for His kids.
We all need a Re-Framing. We all need a journey of revelation. That journey is the renewing of our minds. That is how we can “know His will.” It isn’t a cosmic test of data-driven certainty but an eternal walk in relationship. He really is that good.