I came across a quote in a book I am reading that I would like to share with you. The book I am reading is entitled, Melchizedek: Our Gracious King-Priest in Christ by John Mastrogiovanni. Presently, I am reading it for the second time. For me, there is so much packed into his textual offerings that I am having to read paragraphs over and over again seeking to digest what the author is communicating. Perhaps you might want to consider investigating it for yourself or not. If you do, be prepared to spend a good amount of time in mediation, just saying.
The quote that has intrigued me states, “Religion gives us rules to live and fail by with the pretense that we will attain godliness. Union with God through Christ gives us the freedom to pursue Likeness without failure.” Now I realize that unless you have read the text it would be a challenge to grasp this quote completely. Allow me to offer a little background. The author seeks to help the reader discover the differences between two trees; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. He indicates these two trees aren’t really trees at all. He suggests these two trees represent two systems.
Of course, these two trees are first mentioned in the creation story found in the book of Genesis of the Bible. As we recall the creation story the serpent coaxes Eve to eat of this forbidden fruit with the promise that if you do, you won’t die but rather you will be “like” God knowing good and evil. The lie had to do with the notion that the Adam (the man and the woman) were not “like” God to begin with. The question then comes to mind, who created the Adam? Was it God or was it the serpent? (I suggest you take a look at my blog #23 The Revelation of Eve) There are a lot of twists and turns about the conversation between the serpent and Eve and that is exactly what a snake does, it twists things around to bring about confusion to better control its prey. I remind you of the first five words of scripture, “In the beginning God created…” not in the beginning the serpent created.
The author of the quote in question also indicates when Lucifer fell from heaven it was because he desired to receive for himself alone. This was connected to the five “I will” statements recorded in Isaiah of the Old Testament chapter fourteen. These ‘I will” statements are an indication of the one thing mankind wrestles with most, ego! We too want for ourselves alone. That is why the scripture says it is more blessed to “give” than to ‘receive.” The key to closing our eyes to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and opening our eyes to the tree of life is found in the notion of likeness.
Another quote John makes in his book says, “If the original sin was egoistically believing that “if I embrace the knowledge of good and evil I will become like God,” then grace is “the acceptance that I am already in the Image and Likeness of God.” Beware of religion! Jesus died upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to destroy it! If the enemy of God had known what the outcome of the crucifixion of Christ was going to accomplish, they would never have crucified him.
Our task upon this earth is to awaken from our desires to receive for ourselves alone and recognize our Image and Likeness in the one true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were made to reflect the image and likeness of God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are in effect mirrors. When we are reflecting the Christ, and we do that by humbly giving, we fulfill the pleasure the Adam experienced before the fall. We can now experience that same pleasure because of Christ Jesus. We now have the freedom to pursue the Likeness of God in Christ without failure. That is the fruit of the tree of Life!