Thomas Merton wrote, “If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.” Our inheritance is not bits of life or some life. It is infinite life.
The real efficacy of the at-one-ment is the achievement of this life in oneness with God. Just as we entered separation from God in Adam, so we now have union with God in Jesus the Son of God. This is why Christ is our life and externalities and religiosities are not.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
NO TIT FOR TAT
We are most unfortunate if we think we must gain Godliness by entering a kind of ‘contract’ in which we do things in order to get acceptance from God. No. We are Godly because in Christ we are part of God and God is part of us. This is the at-one-ment of God achieved for us on our behalf by God. We are able to ‘be holy as God is holy’ not by self-effort but because God has woven Himself into our being in Jesus Christ.
“While it has been common to speak of the atonement as the vicarious death of Christ, Torrance argues that the entirety of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is atoning, lived for our sake and on our behalf.” (1) Christ’s life is lived continuously for us and Christ by the Spirit becomes us. This is incarnation – Christ come in our flesh.
In the sonship of God we are one with God by relationship and one with God by the Spirit.
The fact is – if you choose Christ as your life – He is your life by the Spirit. Your fellowship with God as such is the spirit of sonship – a state of being in which the saints flourish because they and Father are one. We are part of Christ because we are part of Him. In Him we are part of the Holy Family. We are sons.
In the Spirit we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. This is our life in principle, whether we believe it or not. But it is our life in spirit and in truth when we believe it. This is the real meaning of belonging both in the Body of Christ and belonging as sons in the Holy Family.
Science knows that a theory cannot be true and not true at the same time. To avoid meaninglessness a belief statement must be able to be falsified. If it cannot, it is nonsense – a piece of something and nothing.
To belong to the Body of Christ we must believe in the gospel of Jesus and the apostles. Belonging is the result of faith in the Christ of God (and not some other christ); belief in His Gospel of the Kingdom and the adoption of His view of who you have become as a result of His drawing you into Himself. We have no right to a revisionist gospel. An empowering gospel is not something we made up.
THE NON-MYSTERY OF FOLLY
To attach ourselves to ‘another gospel’ and assert that this validates our authenticity as disciples is nonsense. Our gospel is not both yes and no because our gospel is Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom. Paul wrote with conviction, ‘As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.9 NIV. We wither not because God has dumped on us. We shrivel and shrink because we have cut ourselves off from limitless life through absorption into our own egos. We suffocate what could have been the free flow of spirit and life.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 35). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.