Two things happened to me this week that pose questions to our Christian walk. One I sat with my evangelist friend Johnny Kinch, our discussions were far and wide however one of our conversations was around the importance of revelation to our Christ-like pursuit.
Today we have so many challenges of where we stand, what we believe and how we practice it really is an overall challenge to the Christ likeness that we are and that we are to pursue.
I hear many saying, I must admit I’ve said it as well, that we are in the midst of a reformation of our faith which will transform much about understanding and therefore practice. We’re challenged on sexuality, justice, grace and law, on everything at every hand. My belief is that what God is bringing us into a Reformation on is simply adjusting our view of God. This adjustment of our view of God will bring a new paradigm which will cause a new practice or shall I venture to suggest wine skin.
I must put this as a caveat, has this not always been the way wineskin adjustment, our wineskins will always have to adjust. The challenge is whether the changes are pragmatic in adjustment or whether there is an eternal input into that adjustment. Are w adjusting to ‘get more’, what ever the more we are after or are we adjusting to restore the image and likeness of God to all creation. The adjustment coming from a discovery and deepening understanding of the nature of Good, Father, Son and Spirt ?
Therefore in every fresh breath, understanding, insight or revelation it really is about seeing and continuing the Christ call who came to explain the father (John 1:18).
Through our discussion it came more sharp,my to me that we must look to see in every life that is ‘coming to Christ’ will see and be transformed via a revelation, a vision of Christ. This seeing, this revelation is what cultivates our pursuit to live Christ likeness. If this revelation, whether it be an Emmaus Road, Damascus Road, or a still small voice whatever it may be it’s the last impact that enabled me to put to one side one way of life , the way I once was, Paul said it to many of the new Testament churches did he not, “…once you were one of these…”, whatever these are. This seeing, this revelation, this vision, this transformation, this conversion that so impacts me it enables and creates an onward desire to be like Christ. That my was seeking my whole emphasis is to live a life according to a revelation of Christ.
Our conversation concluded in that we wanted to bring everyone immediately into a revelation of Christ which would fully impact our world. It also would determine a lifestyle.
Today more and more people seem to live in whatever way they wish to, and justify it on terms of grace. Yet Grace saves me the Bible says. So how I would suggest to you that when Grace, a revelation of Christ takes hold of you, you have nothing else in your life but a longing to live according to that arresting.
The very same day I was in discussion with Johnny a book was delivered, a gift from a dear long friend Dr Timothy Larsen. The book is called ‘Theology questions everyone asks” subtitled Christian faith in plain language. My first thing was to enquire to see what Tim had written in 12 chapters, he writes the first and asks ‘What is a Christian’. which brought me back to my earlier conversation of the impact of revelation in my life, in Johnny’s life, in many I know that are pursuing Christ. You see ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’, only happens in the light of this revelation. One of my challenges is not to make the revelation so grand and so vast that no one can enter, or only the few neither to dumb it down so suggesting a simple discharging of information. Seeing something I’ve never seen before in information, Is a revelation in any measure when revelation enters our own mind and soul it means I cannot get up from the chair, leave the room or walk away from that moment unchanged. So never mind how gentle how small the narrative or how big, did you leave that moment knowing that you couldn’t live the way you had. Something had to start and something had to stop.
The Bible says that without a vision the people are unrestrained, in other words vision, revelation brings into my life what I must do and why I shall not do. Today people read these statements as inflicting laws upon them, but really its due to the encounter, revelation, seeing I now have a life style that looks as Paul outlines Christ occupied, that cleans up my speech (no unwholesome word comes from my mouth), brings my life into order (live Christ like by the power of a Resurrected life), enables a generous lifestyle (become a giver like the nature of God birthed in us), just to name a few.
I’ve not read Timothy’s chapter but I will read with interest, but I’m convinced that what we need today is constant revelation impact, not just experiences. Without revelation our faith will become like a drug addict constantly looking for the next experience and having to experience regularly to keep the high. Or let me be the first to see that a deep experience in my personal walk of faith, and I pray that every one of us will encounter them, is much more about revelation making the transformation. So what is a Christian, someone who is caught with a vision of Christ and is propelled forward in Christ likeness, Christians are arrested by revelation that has brought a way of life. we have discovered our Hero – the Christ and we are total absorbed by this Christ in ever way.
Some people suggest that Paul laid down laws ‘you shall not”, but I would suggest Paul simply said in the light of your revelation of the Christ some of you lived a way “as some of these” but now there is an evident outflow form ever way of my life, as an individual and asa corporate family. It was not you should, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t ,you shouldn’t. it was more about having caught the revelation this is the life that you can now expect to live. Revelation life has an outflow of shape, the way you talk, you deal with people, the way you include people, the way you conduct your affairs, the way my home runs, the way my relationships are conducted, the way I speak. All these have a shape in the light of revelation of Christ.
So it’s not about law it’s about Christ being birthed inside me and I will live in this way. It’s much better to wake people up to their revelation, which will make them led by the spirit and their lives will have a form that is Godly, Christ likeness, the image and likeness of God.
I now look forward to reading Timothy’s article on what is a Christian.