LIGHT OF THE WORLD
The ‘Me Too’ movement is a response to sexual opportunism and abuse. Offenders have been named, outed and shamed and celebrities have made public statements of condemnation. What will be the effect of the furore? Not all that much. There will be some changes around the edges. But the deep-seated selfishness that promotes this behaviour will remain unchanged. What is needed is a new heart and a new life. The genius or the new testament age is that Jesus imparts Himself to us. He lives in us by the Spirit and infuses us with His being. This is why we as Believers must advance Jesus and not morality.
Read the papers and you will find that public morality is issues based. Not so the Kingdom of God. It’s not issues based at all. The Kingdom Jesus began is Christ come in you – Christ come in us all. If God had been able to make sinners one with Himself and make them whole without the resurrection of Jesus, and the outpouring of Holy Spirit, then He would have done it simply by leaving the Jews in the law. He could have left the rest of humanity in their varying adherences to versions of the knowledge of good and evil. But He didn’t because if He did nothing would change.
Today, ‘The world's tallest building has been lit up with a giant image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a woman at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington.’ Ardern has modelled remarkable love and grace. She said, ‘On every occasion when I've had an opportunity to share words, all I've reflected in my mind is: 'What are New Zealanders feeling right now? What are the words I'm hearing expressed around me? How do we all feel?'" This Prime minister’s spirit of love and reconciliation is none other than the Spirit of Christ in her. I don’t know if she is religious at all but I do know when I see the Spirit of Jesus manifest in anyone.
The resolve of many to be more accepting and inclusive is a noble resolve. But it’s not something humans can do on their own. Externalities do not transform people but the Spirit of Christ does. The Spirit of Jesus recently seen needs to be more than an occasional manifestation. It needs to be a way of life. The hope of the world is Christ in us and Christ as us.
Neither the law or moral programs have the capacity to renew people much less transform society. If the law did not work before the cross there is no reason to think it would after the cross. Not even with the hybrid gospel of ‘the law plus Jesus’ helps. What is needed is a new us. And this is what we get in Christ. By the cross our life is replaced by His life and by the resurrection His life becomes ours. By the Spirit all that is Christ becomes everything that is us. The vicarious humanity of Jesus means that He is totally for us and totally represents us towards God in every way.
‘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.
INCARNATION IS CORE
Then we have the incarnation – the indwelling of the trinity in our being. We have this holistic occupation whereby, the members of the Holy Family make their home in our being. We cannot love God, ourselves or other folks by ourselves. Our love is tainted by selfishness and ulterior motives. But Jesus can love others through us. His life and nature in us is as real as the floor you are standing on. The new and living way is that His life becomes ours by the Spirit. What is the incarnation? It means you are graced by a life that is not yours, so that you can live your life as a son of God.
Gregory Boyd writes, “How can the church begin to acquire the reputation of love it is supposed to have? It is not by devising more loving programs, for this would be just another form of us trying to do the good thing. Rather, the way to acquire a reputation for being loving is to simply become loving. As we love God, ourselves, and others out of the fullness of our participation in the triune God, the world will see that Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father” (John 17:20-26). (1)
(1) Gregory A. Boyd. Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God (Kindle Locations 1071-1074). Kindle Edition.