A fear of the walking dead appears to be fairly common.
Zombies look alive, but they’re dead. You’ll know one when you see one because they’re stiff, travel in groups, and feed on the living.
You may wonder if you’ve run into one at church.
You may wonder if that’s what God is all about—procuring unthinking, unfeeling, meat-robots to do his will.
Jesus was no zombie; He exudes life and was followed by a tremendous crowd.
But he climbed a little hill, sat down, and began to expound the law.
But first he warned us all about zombies.
In Matthew 5:17, he says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill (fully fill) them.”
Because Jesus had already been so gracious, and because these people were not experts in the law or known for keeping the law—those would be the Scribes and Pharisees—these “blessed” common folks must’ve been tempted to think that the Law just didn’t matter anymore.
In 5:19 Jesus says, “…Whoever relaxes on of the least of these commandments… will be called least in the kingdom….” It matters!
And yet Jesus “seems” to relax several commandments in just a few paragraphs: “You will pay life for life and an eye for an eye,” Sabbath commandments, and ritual commandments about drinking blood and eating the bread of the presence.
Well, we know that the Father’s commandment is His Word, and His Word is “the Life,” and all the commandments are summed up with the one word: Love.
God’s law describes Love, Life, and the Will of our Creator.
We’re tempted to think that breaking God’s law is freedom, but we all know it’s bondage.
Breaking God’s law turns us into zombies: “The day you eat of it, you will surely die.”
Because we seem to struggle to discern Good from evil, we make laws to help us keep God’s law.
And yet, just making laws seems to make us want to break them.
Laws can tell you that you’re wrong but seem to have no power to make you right.
In fact, they can even tempt you to be “un-right”—unrighteous.
In Romans 7:9, Paul claims that he was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came—like knowledge of Good and evil taken from a tree—he died.
That must’ve been around the age of two, and yet as a Pharisee, he kept feeding on the law until Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus and baptized him in his love.
He was dead (Rom. 7:9), but being dead, he died to the law (Rom. 7:4) and then claimed to be alive—eternally.
Jesus says, “Think not that I came to abolish the Law,” and then, “…Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
No one was more “religious” than the scribes and Pharisees.
But in Matthew 23, Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees… you travel across sea and land to make a single convert, and when he becomes a convert, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves… Woe to you… whitewashed tombs.”
He accuses them of being zombies or double zombies, making quadruple zombies.
Scripture talks as if we’re all zombies and that attempting to justify the self with works of the law is like continually feeding on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; it makes us twice the children of hell and quadruple zombies.
What is it that hangs on the tree in the middle of the garden?
Answer: “The Good in flesh” and “The Life;” The Word of God, Love. Righteousness hangs on the tree in the middle of the garden. Not a “what,” but a “who.”
To justify yourself is to crucify Righteousness and make yourself unrighteous and dead.
To trust that you’ve been justified is to receive Righteousness; die to death, (the second death), and begin to live and never stop.
Righteousness is not a law. Righteousness is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Zombies crucify Righteousness and try to apply Him to their lives that are dead.
The Bride receives the righteousness of her groom, becomes his body, and gives birth to his life—eternal life.
We’ve all been zombies but are destined to become the Body of the Life.
“REPENT!” says Jesus. It means, “Change your mind.”
1. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. All the ingredients are right here.
2. The Kingdom is a body—his body. His body at rest, but always moving. Your life is his life, always given and always received. We are his body and blood (eyes, feet, hands). He fulfills the commandments like blood fills a corpse as it rises from the dead.
3. And you are dead…until you are connected. He may heal your body for a time, but he heals his body for eternity. He heals it by giving you himself. He is God’s decision to love, and to love is to bleed for your neighbor. And,“Love binds everything together.” (Col. 3:14)
Most people aren’t living and afraid of the dead.
Most people are dead and afraid of the Life—for living Life is the death of death.
The monsters we fear are what we’ve made ourselves to be.
But the thing we fear most is what God has intended for us to be: alive.
So, Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood. Eat me. Drink me.”
It’s a trap: a zombie trap and a vampire trap.
It turns blood-sucking monsters into the image and likeness of God.
It’s Righteousness, Knowledge of the Good, and the Will to Love—it’s Life.
If church is a place where people compete at righteousness, it’s hell.
But if church is a place where people confess their unrighteousness and feed each other with Christ’s Righteousness, it’s an outpost of the kingdom of heaven—Eternal Life.
You have behaved like one—a zombie and a vampire—but that is not who you are, “R”.
“R” stands for “Righteousness.” You are the Righteousness of Christ.