There are two kinds of Christianity.
1. The Christian “religion.”
2. The Christianity we find in the New Testament.
The Christian religion is built on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Christian religion can be studied using the same categories of thought used to study any other world religion.
It can be analyzed just as Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are analyzed. The difficulty with the Christian religion (like all religions) is that it makes its adherents think that they have now found the real knowledge of good and evil.
Regrettably, there is a great deal of pharisaism in the Christian family today. The Bible teaches the highest possible moral values. But the Bible is fundamentally not about morality. Following the Lord Jesus Christ involves living out the highest moral values. But following Jesus is fundamentally not about morality.
Conversion to Christ involves a moral transformation of life. But conversion is not fundamentally about morality either. The most moral unsaved person on the planet needs Christ just as much as the most immoral one. It is Christ, not religion, that saves us.
Christianity, therefore, is not fundamentally about morality. And it has nothing to do with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Those who live by the life of Christ (the Tree of Life) do not act as though they are morally superior to others. While they stand separate from the defilements of sin and the world, they embrace those who are wounded, hurt, confused, and defiled by them. So on the one hand, believers are “set apart from sinners,” but on the other hand, they are the friends of sinners.
To wit, Christian leaders have been telling God’s people that they must “be like Christ” for the last six hundred years (at least). The well-known book by Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, was published around 1418.
Some 480 years later, Charles M. Sheldon’s book In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? was published. Ever since then, Christians have been trying to “do what Jesus did.”
But this “gospel” hasn’t worked. The reason? It’s an instance of asking the wrong question.
The question is not “What would Jesus do?” I believe it’s “What is Jesus Christ doing through me … and through us?”
Jesus made pretty clear that we cannot live the Christian life. Instead, He must live it through us.
Jesus Christ lived His life by an indwelling Father. In the same way, we as believers can live the Christian life only by an indwelling Christ.
But the question before the house is . . . how?
Check out my Webinar on this topic. It’s Part 1 of a series of in-depth talks on the subject of how to live by the indwelling life of Christ which became a full-blown course a few years ago and that many of you have taken.
I call the Webinar The Missing Ingredient of Today’s Discipleship. Anyone can view it from anywhere in the world.