Post details: Living Jesus


Permalink 03:39:26 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], By Pam, 1096 words   English (US)

Living Jesus

Satan has no more powerful or deceptive tool than religion and his favorite tools of deception are Christian religions. By religion, Satan not only blinds unbelievers to the Truth that is Jesus be he also renders believers ineffective.

I can think of no better way to symbolize the bondage of religion than to wear around one's neck the image of a dead Savior forever hanging dead upon His cross. I can think of no way better to confuse the mind and heart of a believer than to continually speak upon the death of Jesus on the cross with constant reminders that it is we who put Him there. I can't count the number of sermons I've heard that state that it is my sin that killed Jesus. I did not kill, Jesus. Jesus gave His own life in sacrifice; not in an effort to burden me with guilt but that by dying and rising again, He could give me eternal life, vicariously through faith. Jesus did not die to burden us with guilt, Jesus died that we might live!

The vehicle that God used to bring about the death of Jesus was religion. It was the religious leaders of the day who saw their system and their livelihood and most of all, their position of authority being undermined by Jesus, who called for and obtained the crucifiction of Jesus. This was not happenstance but as with all things with God, allowed for a purpose. That purpose is to demonstrate to us the true fruit of religion which is death. There is no religion on earth that can restore man to God in a loving relationship and give him eternal life.

Jesus is Life. If we are to live, we must feed upon Him. This is not the ceremonial Lord's Supper or Sacrament. These are but symbols of the true ingesting of Jesus Christ that is spiritual. Just as we eat bread for sustenance and wine serves the purpose of quenching thirst, easing pain, and lifting our spirits so must we take into ourselves the true manna that is Jesus. It is He that gives us living water ensuring that we will never experience spiritual thirst again. Jesus is the sustenance of the believer.

Religions appear to be good and to also sustain those who practice them; but in comparison to the spiritual sustenance in Jesus, religion is merely junk food. Religion can never quench spiritual thirst nor nourish as Jesus Who is the bread of Life does. Religion temporarily eases the spiritual hunger of men and women by imitating that which is spiritual. Just as a Big Mac tastes like good food and fills the immediate need, religion can also seem to fill the need for true spiritual sustenance. We all know the end result of a steady diet of Big Macs and a steady diet of religion produces the same bloated and unhealthy state in us spiritually. Religion imitates the Life that is Jesus but religion is Death.

All religions are but training in choosing between good and evil, which is what got us all into trouble in the first place. Eve wanted to be like God and choose for herself between good and evil. Yet, human beings can't choose correctly between good and evil because we ourselves are subject to them. Only God Who is seated in eternity and is ultimate good, seated above good and evil can choose correctly for us. Jesus says that those who enter the Kingdom of Heaven must become like little children. Little children have no concept of good and evil and wholly trust their parents to guide them and protect them from that which harms them. That is exactly the dependence that God desires from us. Religion actually trains us to commit Eve's original disobedience over and over again in a hopeless attempt to make human beings holy and like God. Religion can never give man the dependence upon God that God desires from us. God does not require, as religion requires, that we make choices between good and evil as God does but that we rely on Him fully, allowing Him to choose for us.

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life:that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. And:I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought into complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus imparts Life to us by actually living in us who have been given to Him by the Father. This Life is not expressed in us by our own good works according to our choosing but by Jesus actually living through us and fulfilling the good works that God has ordained for us to fulfill. There is no more unhappy a believer than one who fights against this wonderful fact by adopting religion and struggling to make his or her own Godly choices. God does not desire for us to exalt ourselves by our good godly 'choices'. Instead He desires that we fully surrender to Jesus Who now resides in us and allow Him to choose for us. God does not desire from us sterling testimonies that exalt the possible goodness of humanity; God desires from us the dependence of a child who simply abides in the moment and trusts fully in Him no matter what may come.

It is in this that believers can also truly find unity with one another. Not in practice or doctrinal agreement but in the person of Jesus Christ Who is actively living in each one of us and personally directing our lives.

Dear brother and sister in Christ, don't allow the burdening of the counterfeit of religion to steal your joy and render you ineffective for Christ. Don't be caught in the hopeless struggle of exalting self to the position of God. Surrender 'your' testimony for the testimony of Christ in you and the work He has done and is doing in you and through you. Don't trade the Life abundant for ceremony, pragmatism, tradition, and hype. Don't surrender your freedom in Christ to the bondage of religion. The Truth has set us free. Cease from seeking to obtain God. Stop living by the rules of religion and live instead according to our new nature; live Jesus. Let us live our lives truly, as the called out children of God.

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Comment from: C Grace [Visitor] ·
I think you are blaming religion for what is basically a problem of the human heart, not a problem of religion per say. Religion is not the problem, neither is tradition, neither is formal worship, neither is dogma, etc. The problem is that the church is full of sinners not yet fully saved, nor yet out of darkness.

you say, "Instead He desires that we fully surrender to Jesus Who now resides in us and allow Him to choose for us"

But do you really live this way? To what extent realistically can we live this way? Is your mind so fully surrendered to God that all your choices, all your words come from Him?

I hate to say this but you come across as fairly arrogant and religious in this post about your own non-religion.

If you preach your own non-religion with the caustic virulence of the one preaching religion how are you any better? How are you not burdening people with trying to live according to your own relgion of grace. You are making grace into a religion rather than offering the grace of God to your readers.

It's about a relationship of the beleiver with God where they are at. How is someone who is blind to the leading of the Spirit, but who desires to follow Christ, supposed to live the Christian life except to trust the doctrines of the church to carry them? Little children trust their parents, but they can see their parents. There are many who cannot see God at all except through the forms of religion. God does not blame them for this. He does not rebuke them. He may rebuke the religious people who abuse relgion and corrupt it to their own purposes, but does God condemn religion itself?

Permalink 10/06/06 @ 16:39
Comment from: C Grace [Visitor] ·

Reading your other posts, I am sure that you did not mean to come across as harsh or arrogant.
It seems like maybe you are struggling with hurts that you may have suffered in church. I appologize if I have been insensitive.
Permalink 10/06/06 @ 16:59
Comment from: Flo [Visitor] ·
On the contrary to the other comments, I think you have it right on the money. Great read!
Permalink 10/06/06 @ 17:09
Comment from: Pam [Member]

Religion is of man it isn't of God. Religion feeds the pride of man it can never humble us before God, that is against the very construct of it. I was not writing to condemn the religious, I condemn no one but I do fully condemn religion for there is no life in it. There is life only in Jesus. I still go to church to be with other believers but I try to stay away from practicing religion.

I am in the process of learning to abide and I don't always accomplish that but I know that abiding is the only way to fill the bill because I don't have the capability to choose rightly between good and evil and it is pointless for me to rely upon an ability that I can never have. Every time I try, I sin. Yet, when I abide the Will of God is accomplished through me. Abiding can never be accomplished through arrogance but only by death to self. Religion however, is the height of arrogance in it's promise to lift us to the holiness of God. To insult someones religion is to insult them at their most prideful and vulnerable point.

I like to write but I find that tone is the hardest message to convey and all words find their meaning in tone. However, there is no room for arrogance in grace for by grace, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. All men are made equal before Jesus.

I struggle with the pain of life as we all do. In this life we will have tribulation but in Jesus we have the victory that overcomes the world. A part of what must be overcome is natural tendency to replace a living relationship with Jesus with religion.

Thank you for the thoughtful comment and your honesty. Have a great weekend and a wonderful Sunday!

Permalink 10/06/06 @ 17:33
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey Flo,

Thanks for the encouragement and I'm glad you enjoyed the article.:0)

Permalink 10/06/06 @ 17:34
Comment from: C Grace [Visitor] ·

Thanks for replying. first a definition, just to make sure we are one the same track.

religion - a system of beliefs and practice pertaining to a god or Gods.

It seems to me that in the OT God himself set up the Jewish religion. He gave them the Law and very specific ways to worship Him. Why? Gal 3:24 "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith."

Is the problem with the tutor or with those who try to be saved by it?

"I do fully condemn religion for there is no life in it." exactly. Why bother to condemn something that is dead? Why bother to accuse a piece of stone because people worship it instead of the living God? As I said above it is not religion, not the system of beliefs and practice, that is the problem. The problem comes when people make an idol of those beliefs and practices.

I have Catholic friends, full of the Spirit, who love their litergy. The litergy is dead, but their own faith and love of God bring life to it. That is how religion is supposed to work. If there is no life in the believer - then no life in the religion. But if there is life in the believer then the doctrine and practice itself can alive for that person because they find God in it, just as you can find Jesus in the clouds.

For some people the religious service can be an icon that we 'click on' to lead us to God rather than an idol we worship. The icon means nothing and once the 'program' starts running disappears, but that does not mean it is useless or evil.
Permalink 10/06/06 @ 20:36
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hi cgrace,

I think we are on very different pages and I'm not sure I'll be able to say anything that satisfies you. It is more important for each of us to find agreement with Christ than with each other.

We do agree on the definition of religion however, there is no set of beliefs or practices that can give eternal life. Jesus is Life and the only one able to impart eternal life.

Yes, God did set up the Jewish religion to show us that man can never fulfill the Law for the Law is spiritual and man isn't. Man is naturally self-centered and self-serving, no religion can change that natural fact. The Bible in the book of Romans states that there are none that even seek after God. We all naturally seek our own glory and the fulfillment of our own desires. To seek God, we must undergo a radical change. Jesus said we must be born again and it is through faith in Jesus that we truly come alive to God. It is the Holy Spirit that reaches down and quickens our spirit enabling us to reach for Jesus and become new creatures in Christ. To be a Christian is to be obtained by God. Religion focuses on teaching man to choose correctly between good and evil that he might become holy enough for God. The Jews couldn't do it and neither can the Catholics or Baptists. There is no holiness for humankind apart from Jesus. Jesus is the righteousness of the believer. Religion can imitate that but it can never replace it. Religion burdens us with our sins and our own works. Jesus came to set us free from both. If I am to enter God's rest then I must cease from my own works. It is only by abiding in Christ that I can fulfill the works that God has laid out ahead of me to accomplish.

You seem to be focused upon corporal worship and for me worship is a constant and not something that begins and ends at a certain time on Sunday. Jesus lives in me. He is my friend and He stays closer to me than any brother or sister. I worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and the trappings have no power to promote or deter that worship. I enjoy gathering with other believers and sharing our experience of Jesus in our lives. I enjoy studying the Bible with others. I enjoy telling unbelievers what Jesus has done for me and of what He can do for them. Those are my acts of worship and I need no outside stimulus to put me in the mood. It is the Holy Spirit that enables me to commune with God and I am indwelt by Him. I don't find Him in any particular building or under any particular denominational flag. I too have known Catholics that seemed to truly know Christ but it wasn't Catholicism that made them alive to God anymore than fundamental rules of Christian practice can save anyone. I too have enjoyed some beautiful services and they were not evil but neither were they of any particular benefit. They made me no more close to Jesus than I have been since the moment I accepted Him into my life.

When I say that I am looking for Jesus in the clouds, I am saying that I am looking for His physical return. There are times when I grow very weary of the trappings of Christian tradition and I long for Jesus to return. I don't look into the clouds to feel closer to God. I am always close to God for Jesus will never leave me even if I should try to leave Him. Even when I despair, I know He is near even if I don't feel that way.

To be a Christian is to be so infused with Jesus that no part of our life is untouched by Him. In me there is no thought that doesn't include Him even when those thoughts aren't Godly thoughts, they are all taken captive to Jesus. Jesus is not someone far away or long ago in time. Jesus is my life. Jesus is what I live, do, and say in my everyday life.

Religion has the power to train my flesh, excite my senses, teach me about good and evil, but religion can't give me eternal life. Religion focuses on man's response to God but the testimony of my life is what Jesus is doing in me.

I'm sure that we could debate this endlessly but the truth is that neither of us will be able to change the other's mind. We each understand God as He reveals Himself to us. I leave you tonight with a scirpture (which also don't contain Life but point to Him Who is Life) that gives God's definition of true religion.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I would call that definition of religion, living Jesus.

God Bless,
Permalink 10/06/06 @ 22:03
Comment from: C Grace [Visitor] ·

I don't disagree with anything you say. In fact I think you sum it up very nicely.

"Religion has the power to train my flesh, excite my senses, teach me about good and evil, but religion can't give me eternal life. Religion focuses on man's response to God but the testimony of my life is what Jesus is doing in me."

You also said though,
"Religion is of man it isn't of God. Religion feeds the pride of man it can never humble us before God, that is against the very construct of it."

and this is really what I disagree with. You seem to think that religion ought to be ditched altogether. What I see is that it does humble us. It is the very striving to obey the Law and failing, it is experiencing this very hopelessness that you talk about,

"Religion actually trains us to commit Eve's original disobedience over and over again in a hopeless attempt to make human beings holy and like God."

That enables us to realize our need for grace. Without religion no one would realize they need grace. If we don't first try to obey the Law, we never come up against our own need for the power of God to rescue us. Religion may be used by Satan, but first and foremost it is God's tool to confront us with our own weakness.

Permalink 10/07/06 @ 16:36
Comment from: C Grace [Visitor] ·
BTW to see where I am coming from scan my blog entries under the categories 'New creation' and 'escaping the flesh'
Permalink 10/07/06 @ 16:43
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Good Afternoon C.Grace,

We probably agree more than we think and are quibbling over words and expressions. Christians do that a lot I think.:0)

In my view, Satan is subject to God and in God's working all to the good of those who are His in Christ Jesus, Satan also serves God's ultimate purpose in us. And I agree that He uses religion in our lives but that doesn't make religion good and apart from Christ, all religion can really do is allow for the pride of man to exercise a pretentious kind of holiness.

In my life, I am well to the point of scraping religion and I think there are many others on the narrow path with Jesus who are also at that point. I think what I wrote would encourage them. That is my hope. I would also hope that it might help to open the eyes of someone caught in religion without Christ or a Christian that has resorted to his own efforts through the guise of religion rather than relying on Christ.

I would also imagine that God can use other things to confront us with our own weakness. I was not trained in any religion and I did not come to Christ under the influence of any particular church. I simply had reached the end of my own sinful ways, Jesus was introduced to me and I reached for Him. Ten years later I was baptized into a church and though I had started with Grace, peer pressure soon sold me into bondange to religion. Now I'm on the other side of that and Christ alone is where I'll remain.

I haven't given up on church. I believe that it is important to fellowship with other believers but church is not where I meet Jesus. I need no special meeting place to commune with Him. He is always with me.

Before I posted this, my husband read it and said, "Yes, you put religion soundly in its place!" That is an expression of where I've put religion in my life and I hope to keep it there! Jesus satisfies as nothing worldly ever can.:0)

God Bless,
Permalink 10/07/06 @ 16:53
Comment from: Pam [Member]
p.s. I will check out your site.:0)

Permalink 10/07/06 @ 16:56
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey C.Grace,

Back again. I read those posts and also your post on the emergent church and they are very interesting.

I know that I have ear marks of being emergent but I don't identify with any group in particular. I'm just a Christian. I do however believe that a personal focus on Christ is what it is all about. I don't know your view of eschatology but I believe in a literal Kingdom Rule and I believe that during that time all will be ruled directly by Jesus, there will be no intermediary. I wonder if what is occurring in the church with the emergent movement is not preparation for that...just a thought. In any event, I don't fear for the church, I know God will lead it exactly where He wants it to go.

I guess I would take some exception with what you say about the Catholic Church. I don't think any organization has ever done more evil under the cloak of God than the Catholic hierarchy of the Catholic Church. At one time, there was no other church and I do believe that there were born again Christians with in her and still are today but it was never the church that civilised us. All providence is the hand of God working in the affairs of men. If the organised church should crumble, we will be fine.

What you define as a lovehead, I call abiding or living Jesus. It is a point of maturity when a believer is so in touch with the mind of Christ within them that to do the Will of God has become natural to them. They have reached the childlike state that is the requirement for citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.:0)

See? Quibbling over words mostly but in Jesus unity.

I haven't given up on church. I couldn't if I tried. The moment I accepted Jesus, I was also joined to that special company of called out believers we call the church. We always seek each other out even when we've been hurt within the organized version. The internet seems to have filled that void for many and by it, I have met many Christians that I never would have within my own denomination. My faith has been greatly expanded and changed by that and I am grateful. It is this global church that has truly taught me through experience that what holds us in unity is Jesus Himself and that is a wonderful thing to know.

Have a great day tomorrow worshiping with whatever group you worship with and I will too. May Jesus be lifted all over the world that all might be drawn to Him.:0)

Permalink 10/07/06 @ 17:18
Comment from: lisa [Member]
Wow, I am SOOO far behind (so what's new??)
At any rate, I have really enjoyed reading the posts between Pam and C. Grace. It's great when two people in Christ can discuss different points of views without any hostilities.

What I've gained from these particular posts, is that God can use anything, and will use anything, to reach those He knows are ready to receive His Life He has provided in His Son. Be it inside of organized religion or in some far-removed-from-organized-religion community, He'll move mountains to make sure we have the opportunity to hear and respond to His Gospel.

I started out in an organized church as a child, responded to God's Gospel, then, as my parents started attending a church closer to home, I was guilted into changing churches to attend as a family. It was at this new church that I started my life down the road of legalism. Tired of it all, and wanting to not have to "be" anyone, I started visiting chat rooms. In there, I didn't have to be anyone's anything--counselor, mom, teacher, nothing. I could 'be' anything I wanted to be.
It was also in said chat rooms that God had laid on another chatter's heart to visit chat rooms to "practice" sharing the Gospel, so he could share it in "real" life. Well, I was one of the chatters he 'practiced' on, and God used that incident to show me the Truth.

FF to years later. Here I sit, with no local church assembly, no chat friends, but very content in Christ. I have many brothers and sisters in Christ that He has allowed me to meet and fellowship with this side of Heaven. But man, how I long for the Eternal Fellowship with Christ and my Family! One day... our faith will be sight..

God bless you all :)
Permalink 10/07/06 @ 21:53
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hi Lisa,

I've missed you.:0)

I think God know what each of us needs to create Christ-likeness in each of us. I used to think I chose Jesus but the older I get the more I realise that God just reached down and grabbed me and all the bad choices I've made since along with the good ones were all known by God in advance. With that comes the maturity to abide more consistently. Life never gets any easier but I am more at peace amid the storm because I truly know that all is being worked together for my good. Also in my more mature years, I've come to believe that this process that is taking place in me will be, in a future age magnified to include all. It really is all in God's hands, those extremely capable hands. If God can show such mercy upon me, there is no one that He can't have mercy upon. I agree that our faith will one day be sight and I think that sight will be far greater than we are capable of imagining and our family larger than we ever dreamed.

Come what may, all is well with my soul.:0)

Night Lisa,
Permalink 10/07/06 @ 22:45
Comment from: lisa [Member]
Hey Pam! :)
I've missed you too, terribly. I either don't have the time to get over here, or when I do, my dial up acts as if it's trying to surf through molasses--

You know? I can't remember now who it was I was talking to--was it you? But, any ways, we were talking about how when we got to heaven we'd have glorified bodies and such. And as we were musing (I think it was a friend from the conference, now that I think of it) we were talking about how much love was just flowing from the different brothers and sisters in Christ. This was just for 5 days. Man, how would that be for ETERNITY?? We'd have to have glorified bodies--our mortal bodies couldn't handle all that pure Love! But I eagerly await the day that we dohave that eternal reunion.

Thanks for your encouragement Pam. Have a blessed day tomorrow!
Permalink 10/07/06 @ 23:52
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Hey again Lisa,

I think what I am looking forward to as much as reuniting with people I love is also reuniting with people whom I have loved and have had a falling out. I hope to have understanding toward those who have hurt me and to be understood by those whom I have hurt. I've always thought that if we could know all of the things that led a person up to the point of whatever horrible act they commit that we would not be able to help but to forgive them. If we could see into each other's hearts the way Jesus does, how could we not forgive? We can't see though, not in this life.

In reference to the verse I quoted about orphans and widows...I heard someone say once that on judgement day, Jesus would decide for the widow and the orphan and all would be set right. You know, we are all orphans and widows, one or the other or both at some time in our life and it will be Jesus Who sits upon that great white throne. That in itself changes my view of judgement when it is Jesus passing it down. Judgement meted out with mercy is truly, righteous judgement and all of us will benefit by it. Yes, it is a fearful day but isn't it the fear of God that brings us to the point of Salvation?

Ah well, I'm getting old and there is something about getting old, having seen so much that makes room in your heart for everyone. I believe that someday, I'll even have enough room there to truly love my enemies and that will be a day to fulfill all days.

Aren't I a sap?lol!

Permalink 10/08/06 @ 01:49
Comment from: Lisa [Visitor]
...and a lovely sap you are, me dear ;)

No, seriously though, I totally concur with you 100%. Yes, my heart is lightened at the prospect of seeing everyone I love forever. The flesh side of me still wrestle with seeing the ones who've hurt me. (Perhaps I've also hurt them in someway unknown to me?) But just like you say, when we can see them through and through the way Jesus does, we WILL understand how they hurt us. Of course, by then it won't matter, because our fleshly bodies won't be in the way.
It's sad when brothers and sisters in Christ can't be reconciled down here this side of the grave, but one thing we've probably both learned is that we can't make anyone be reconciled to us. We can only love them, and trust God to lead us in our responses to their acts of unreconcilation, if that makes sense. I'm learning myself, as time passes on, that the hurt given me isn't as hurtful once my focus stops being on them, and on Christ. Sometimes it seems as if Christ motivates me to do a loving deed towards said person, and I resist, because it alwaysends up being rejected. I think it's God's way of keeping me humble lol. It even gets to the point where I imagine the rejection to begin with, it happens, and I smile and go on about my business. I'm confident on this one thing, though: He who began a good work in me, will complete it.

Sigh--there was a point to this, and now I've forgotten what it was :P LOL
Love ya
Permalink 10/08/06 @ 09:16
Comment from: Pam [Member]
Morning Lisa,

LOL! I saw a few good points in that post. I'd sum it up by saying that God is at work in all things, there is nothing that is not under His direction and all of the hurts that we all suffer and also inflict will be reconciled in ultimate good. That is a comfort in whatever we are asked to endure and Jesus will see to it that we endure.:0)

There is a balance to be struck I think in protecting ourselves and giving of ourselves. It is good to give but not to the point of enabling someone to sin against us. There is a difference between honoring another and enabling. That is a tight line to learn to walk but one step at a time, Jesus can help us keep that balance.

Have a good Sunday, Lisa. Keyboard atcha later!

Permalink 10/08/06 @ 09:27

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