Inviting others into our life in God
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.2 Cor 3:12-18 (ESV)
In a world therefore that is broken, in a modern context, what is pure religion and undefiled? Are we called to maintain the purity of the body of Christ? Are we provided with some form of mandate to maintain some form of strict separation not just of mind but of body also?
The answer is a resounding no.
Jesus was not obsessed with Purity
The purest man who ever lived (saving for his human nature), did not maintain strict separation. We read in Matt 9:10 how after the calling of Matthew (a tax collector – one of the publicani), Jesus went to a dinner with a group of tax collectors and sinners. A careful reading of this passage indicates that whilst Jesus was reclining with some of his disciples, some plainly were not willing to join him.
It would appear that whilst Jesus was inside the house with the publicani and sinners as well as some of his disciples, some of his disciples were outside of the house and were approached by the Pharisees who stared at Jesus and the publicani and the sinners and some of the disciples and they were astounded. “Why does your teacher eat with” these people?
The disciples who were outside didn’t have an answer but Jesus certainly did: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous but sinners”.
Pure Religion is to PREACH
James tells us that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (Jas 1:27 – ESV) We have already discussed this in another article but it is worth revisiting.
Our task, given by God is this: we are to go into the world and preach the Gospel. We don’t do this by cutting ourselves off from the world. We don’t do this on our own terms. The Master provides us with the example. Go into the world, on their terms, and preach your heart out. Go to the places where they are and visit them and speak to their hearts!
There is risk associated with this. That’s why James tells us to be careful. Keep yourselves unstained by the world.
He wouldn’t need to tell us this if we were going to keep ourselves locked away from the world. Get out there into the world and meet with other humans. Preach from the heart the things you have been given. Don’t try and fly under the radar, speak loudly, speak often and speak true.
The Perfect Law
We have received the perfect law, our faces shine with it, we have persevered in the perfect law of liberty, we are not hearers who forget but doers who act. We speak with disciplined tongues in the marketplace, in the street and from our very rooftops.
The Way, the Truth and the Life is not concerned with the scaffolding of the building, it is interested in preaching the things of eternity in a world of darkness. Churches are our invention (accepted by God as an expedience) and strife, factions and all of the tribalism that we indulge in are distractions from what we are called to do.
Let’s consider an analogy. If you see an endless stream of humans running wildly and with abandon towards a cliff and falling off it, would you not want to shout to them that the direction they are running is toward death?
Would you be bothered with how the other people who also see the danger organise themselves or would you ignore all of that as irrelevant and instead focus yourself on saving as many people as you can from their impending doom?
The Will of the Father
At it’s purest, doing the will of the Father is this, to carry on the work of Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”Jn 3:16-17 (ESV)
If God dwells in our hearts, then His love for the world, that drove Him to give His only son to save the world, must motivate us to share that love.
WE Vine in his definition of Agape says this:
“Love can be known only from the actions it prompts.” Love “expresses the deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy [except that God has made us worthy] objects, producing and fostering a reverential love in them towards the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver”(Vine, 1939)
To therefore live the Love of God in its purest and most undefiled form is to take action, to help others to seek the Giver of LOVE.