We hear a lot in the news about identity theft destroying a person’s credit and financial well-being, but is that the real identity theft plaguing humanity?
What about the IDENTITY which empty religion has stolen from mankind?
It could be likened to a person receiving an unlimited inheritance, yet living in poverty because they do not believe that untold riches are at their disposal.
In the same way, the self-image of many has been marred by belief systems which are based upon the premise that everyone is a sinner and will always be a sinner, never able to rise above the level of their own incompetence.
This whole line of thinking not only misrepresents the original message, but blatantly ignores plain statements to the contrary contained in the very same Sacred writings.
Nevertheless, mainstream religion continues to perpetuate this idea by creating a dynamic of fear in which a righteous and holy God must appease His own sense of justice by eternally punishing those He created with the inherent ability to sin. Somehow, even though He is Omnipotent and has complete foreknowledge, He is still powerless to prevent it.
As preposterous as it sounds to begin with, but without totally dismissing our culpability in the matter, why would God even bother sending a Messiah if He only intended to destroy the creation His Son supposedly died to redeem?
In the book of Corinthians it says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”
If God is not holding anything to humanity’s account, why in the world do religionists insist that He is?
Where has religion hidden “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world” who “takes away the sin of the world?”
Many claim that this is merely speaking of the penalty for sin being removed (and then, they say, it is only removed for those who have good sense enough to accept the sacrifice). So in essence, the “good news” was delivered, but can ultimately be undone by the sovereign will of mankind and each individual’s choice……Really?
The New Testament book of Romans clearly proclaims, “While we were “yet” sinners” and “even when we “were” enemies, we were reconciled to God.“
Obviously there is a higher law in operation which transcends all perception of sin and all fear of death, “The Law of the Spirit of Life (which was revealed in Christ) has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The Apostle Paul himself goes even further, cutting to the heart of the matter, when he states, “It is no longer I that sin,” and “It is no longer I that live, but Christ.”
Either Paul was a schizophrenic looking for a way to excuse himself for his actions, or he recognized that his true identity (and everyone else’s) was beyond the plane of a mortal physical existence.
With the emphatic realization that “If one died for all then all died,” he even asks the rhetorical question, “How can you who are dead to sin live any longer therein?“
It is evident that Paul recognized “sin” as the false identity, the old-man, the ego. Not as an obstacle to be overcome, but as something that had been exposed for the sham it is. This “missing of the mark” (nature, character), is something that is not possible when the illusion of separation from God is removed.
“Whoever abides in God does not sin,” and “Whoever is born of God does not sin for His seed remains in him and he CANNOT SIN because he is born of God.”
The beauty of the message is that what is true for Paul is the Reality for all of mankind. This identity in Christ which he speaks of is present in every spiritual tradition in one form or another. Whether it is called the Higher Self, Divine Nature, Buddha Nature, Universal Mind or Atman, every spiritual tradition acknowledges One Consciousness as the Essence of All Being.
Some would argue that experiencing the Reality of the Divine Nature without the work of the cross is a New Age impossibility, but they would be limiting an Infinite God who in His profound Wisdom demonstrates His love for all without reservation and without a need for acceptance. God is no respecter of persons or religions, and the message of “the cross” is as pertinent to other religions as it is to Christianity.
The self-sacrificial love demonstrated in Christ was never intended to be something anyone has to “accept or reject” in order to obtain the Eternal Life already freely given by God, but to serve as a launching pad propelling humanity into the heavens of Divine possibility. The Life of Jesus was a pattern displaying mankind’s potential to achieve “greater works” in this earth by releasing the “kingdom of God” he proclaimed to be within Us.
Though there are variations in terminology, the operation of the cross is recognized as self-denial, the negation of the ego, or the transcendence of the individual self in Eastern cultures. This is the path to experiencing one’s True Identity which the Master fully exemplified. The whole idea of dying to the self in order to experience the Higher-Self or Oneness with God is a common teaching found in all major religions. The only difference is in the minds of those who see exclusivity instead of the all-encompassing splendor within the message of Salvation.
Just as “the finished work of the cross” is understood in Christian circles, so a person must consciously acknowledge the alignment of their will with the Divine for the Reality of Oneness and the Life of God to be fully manifest in their experience, but the doorway is open to all, not limited to some elite group or religion. This realization of Truth is something that can only come by Divine Grace, not human ability, effort or choice. Salvation has never been a choice; it has always been a “free gift”. What we do with or without that awareness defines our reality.
May we discover together Our True Identity as we apprehend the fullness of Our Divine Inheritance which cannot be found in the limited resources of any bankrupt religion.