Monday, 9 November 2015
Becoming One with Christ
Photo Credit: Wendy
(Spirit Led, Part III)
I started a series of blogs through which I share some of my struggles as a Christian within the walls of religion. So far, I’ve concluded that the church matrix was never intended to be the regulatory agency of the Christian moral conduct. Neither was the pastor-god the moral compass guiding the believer, as it was never the Law of Moses. Instead, I proposed that Paul was right when he told the Romans that it is the Spirit of God who guides and leads the sons and daughters of God (8:15).
I also shared that it was outside the religious matrix where I discovered the truth about Christ living IN me, for which I am now renewing myself to a “God-IN me” mindfulness.
In fact, even before becoming done with organized church, I had been learning to be guided by the Spirit, although erratically, due to my lack of knowledge. But it wasn’t until I left organized religion that I had to stick my heals to the ground, as I could no longer depend on a religious institution or a human being for the direction I clearly saw Christ had made His dwelling IN me.
Again, assuming Paul’s experience proves right, I am to be guided by the Spirit of God from within. This may also be what Jesus implied when he told His disciples that the Spirit would be within the believer and would guide us to all truth. This is the way I allow the life of Christ IN me guide me through life.
Christ IN me: The Hope of Glory
In my previous posts, I also have alluded to having certain encounters with Jesus. I don’t mean to be mystical or claiming to have seen Jesus. But I’ve had a few experiences in which I have had this deep intense revelation, other times an inner voice. I call them encounters because they are my burning bush experiences that have marked my life in more ways I can begin to explain.
One of these most recent encounters occurred in February 2014. Without any anticipation and while communing with the Father through Bible reading and meditation, I suddenly became aware of the Gospel truth in which Christ and I had become one in Spirit. I Initially read the following passage in Colossians 1:26-27:
“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s
out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this
rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their backg-
round, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nut-
shell is just this: Christ is (lives) IN you, so therefore you can look
forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple…”
(MSG, parenthesis and emphasis mine).
I’ve tried to come up with an illustration through which I can communicate what I gathered in my spirit, but was not been able to improve on the one I got from Steve McVey in his book, Grace Walk.
Sweet Tea Vs. Ice Tea
As McVey explains, there’s a big difference between Ice Tea and Sweet Tea. Ice Tea will never have all the added sugar dissolved, as the chill factor will prevent it. Has that ever happened to you? The undissolved sugar will rather accumulate at the bottom of the glass. Sweet tea, on the other hand, has sugar added while the water is still hot, so the sugar dissolves completely, changing the molecular composition of the water. That’s how water, tea and sugar become one: Sweet Tea. You see?
Christ and His Ekklesia
In like manner, religion taught me that, at the Christian conversion or born again experience, God had only sealed me with His Spirit. That’s why I often heard the illustration of the king and his royal seal. In essence, the Spirit of Christ and my inner being continued being two separate entities, somehow sharing space in my body or my in heart, like the undissolved sugar at the bottom of the glass.
For this reason, when I fail to perform, my behavior gets the best of me, or I “backslide” into sin, the Spirit is grieved and removed from me (as with the sugar is disposed of after drinking the Ice Tea). I now have to repent, rededicate myself to God and plea with God to return His Spirit to me. In essence, the Spirit and I have never become one as Paul told the Church of Corinth (1st letter 6:17).
Conversely, the Spirit taught me that, as Sweet Tea, the Spirit of Christ and my spirit had become one. This is what Paul disclosed to the Romans as being a New Creation IN Christ. For this reason, the Holy Spirit can never be separated from mine, binding us together with eternity. That’s actually,the meaning of eternal life. God’s Zoe life! Life with no beginning and no end, is now integral part of my own being. God and I have become one, therefore, the quality and quantity of His life are now mine!
In fact, this is the truth the Apostle Paul conveyed to the early century church in Rome (Ch. 9), Colossi (Ch. 1 & 2), Ephesus (Ch. 3), 1 Cor. (Ch. 6), and elsewhere he preached. For instance, he told the Corinthians, “He that he that is joined unto the Lord, becomes one spirit with Him” (1 Cor 6:17). I suppose he discovered that truth through his encounters with the resurrected Christ. Don’t you?
Married to Christ
On a similar note, there is a big difference between being with someone and being that person. Paul uses this analogy in Ephesians 5 to show how a man and a woman, through consummation of the covenant of marriage, become one flesh with each other. But for long I missed the fact that he was contrasting covenant marriage truth with Christ and His bride’s union. Paul confesses this being a mystery, nevertheless a true experience at his born again experience.
Paul conveys that Christ and the church (us collectively and individually) have become one at the born again experience. This truth can also be seeing through the New Covenant ritual of baptism, in which the Spirit immerses us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
Nevertheless, he already knew about men and women becoming one flesh. Remember, he was a Hebrew who, among other scriptures, had memorized the famous verses about leaving and cleaving (Gen. 3:24). But when he received the revelation that marriage was only the shadow of the truth found in Christ’s union with His bride, he marveled at the revelation. Christ and His Bride (us), become one in Spirit! Paul saw that God’s unyielding stance on marriage had little to do with marriage itself (the shadow), and a lot more to do with the Gospel (the reality). No wonder God’s stance against divorce!
True the Gospel, God reveals that Christ and His Bride have become one through the New Covenant in the blood of Christ. He has become one with us, redeeming us back to our origins in which we now, not only walk with God in the cool of the day, but rather, are God-indwelled, as Ezekiel prophesied, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments, and do them” (36:27). God is talking full responsibility for us doing His will. He won’t entrust us to any man, any law, any rule or any religion, but only to Himself!
If that doesn’t knock our religious socks off, nothing will!
In this and previous blogs I have laid truths I have experienced and learnt with the intent of sharing how I believe, us believers ought to be led by the Spirit and not by a religious organization or a human leader who may claim to be the regulatory agencies for Christian moral conduct.
Hear me now: there is LIFE outside the walls of religion!!! It’s an exciting, scary and perilous adventure! Nevertheless, one that helps us become who we were created to be.
Notice I am sharing this from my story’s perspective. I am not pretending to be a theologian or becoming authoritative or legalistic in my approach. I’m just a simple believer learning to become fully acquainted with the life Christ has deposited IN me. I don’t want to hoard it all for myself, but rather share it, as I know many people have had similar experiences and, better yet, have become one with Christ themselves, yet are afraid to come out into the open.