Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being v. Behaving

Most people generally live by some kind of moral code regardless of its believed origin. Most of the time Christians are also striving to do what we believe to be good and to not do that which we believe to be bad. The only difference between most Christians in this respect and non-Christians is that we claim to know Jesus and have His help in managing our behavior.

On the face of it, we are still striving to do the right thing even if we are truly striving to do it with the help of God. In addition, Christians often live in the place of having an increased list of what is right and of what is forbidden and sinful. Just the same, the evidence will usually show that the Christian is not achieving the doing of good things in any different strength than anyone else.

As long as Christians try to do what is right we are trying in the same way anyone else is trying. God then becomes more of a motivational reason to do right rather than being one who has made a difference in our ability to do what is right.

However, what is happening is the person who knows Jesus is still living in the same construct they were living in before they knew Jesus. This is the construct of laws. We say we are no longer under the law, but we live as if it really is all about behaving rightly by following laws. Some of those laws are truly good things like loving your neighbor as yourself. Laws, though, are not for those born of God, but are a temporary aide to point to the need for a new nature in God.

At the moment one’s life is given to Jesus, he or she is reborn as a son or daughter of God. Our nature is no longer the nature that did not know God and needed to strive to follow rules for our good. Our nature now bears a new identity as having His nature birthed on the inside. The only “work” of a Christian is to rest in that new identity. It is about being who we are in Christ. It’s about realignment with His nature on the outside that has already occurred on the inside.

“Good works” are produced because there is a good being, and not because one strives to live according to a good versus bad dichotomy. A good tree bears good fruit. If we have the nature of God on the inside we will exemplify that reality on the outside naturally with ease. This is why Scriptures says that people will know those who are in Christ by their love. If Christ love is inside it will overflow and be seen on the outside in such measure that it is obvious God is in that person’s life.

Yet we Christians live like we still have to try by our own efforts to behave in a pleasing way to God. In reality we please God when we wake up in the morning before we have done anything at all because we are His beloved children already.

I remember when my sister gave birth to her son and she said she was so proud of him. While he is a new born baby, never having done anything at all he pleased his mother and father. He only needed to be their son to do that. He never at any point had to try to be their son. He was born thus.

The Christian life is inherently supernatural. If we are not supernaturally reborn as a son or daughter of God we cannot do anything more than strive to be good by following rules no matter how noble we think those rules and traditions to be.

I think anyone who has asked Jesus to live in them, has truly received the life of Christ and the ability to live in such a manner. But just like a natural baby needs to learn how to live the human life, so does a supernatural baby need to learn to live the supernatural life. However, the learning process is in discovering who He is so that we discover who we are thereby being the fullness of who we are.

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