CHOOSE THE TREE OF LIFE
We can live a kind of life circling our own tree of life – our private mulberry bush and in doing so experience drops of spirit and life. Or we can eat from the tree of life – His tree, which is the cross redeemed and swim in rivers of living water.
In writing the perceptive work, The Normal Christian Life, Watchman Nee drew a clear distinction between Christianity and spirituality. A . W Toser was similarly aware of the distinction between religion and Godliness, with the former portrayed and defined as God-stuff and the latter as spirituality. There are authors who are able to write of Christianity and its culture using character mining anecdotes and apt similes. Nevertheless they seldom write revelation or release spirit and life because they do not write out of ‘union with God’. *
SPIRITUALITY OF SUBSTANCE
The latter is the province of the mystics and of all who have moved into their new covenant inheritance.
This is not to condemn those who know no better, but it is to urge all to look for life in Life Itself rather than in the container. Mysticism has been described as a lived experience of God. It’s what Torrance sees as a relationship of being (ontological) in contrast to a relationship of the letter. The letter can kill but its main defect is that it lacks substance while purporting to be substantial.
Our union with God proceeds from the undoing of our Adam and the doing of our life in Christ. Totally. The sacrament in this kind of life is Christ in you. The sacramental ignition that is yours as a result is you as a manifestation of the trinity. It’s called being sons of God.
Martha was on the way to knowing more of God in Jesus but it was Mary who had gotten past externalities and motions to the source of life itself - oneness and instruction by Jesus in person.
ALIVE IN GOD
Life, light, knowledge and deep spirituality comes from BEING IN GOD. Only the Father knows the Son and only the Son knows the Father. Father makes us participants and sharers in this ‘knowing’ in the persons of Jesus and Holy Spirit. Thomas Torrance draws our attention to the fact that God makes Himself known to us by union, communion and sharing His being with us. Not just by information. Or by the gifts. The gifts are in fact dependent on our union of being for proper functioning.
Thus the ‘living word’ where God is concerned is not just words or marks on paper but a person, a relationship with the trinity and the interweaving of God into our being. God has made it so. It’s our part to say yes and live in agreement with what He has done. Torrance writes,
“It is not too much to say that this relation of the Son to the Father revealed in Jesus Christ [and] the incarnation .. opened the way [for our] knowing God in himself, as nothing else could have done. In Jesus Christ the Son of God took our human nature upon himself and made it his own so completely that he came among us as man; and by what he was as man, he revealed to us what he was and is as God. That is to say, without giving up his divine nature, he united himself to us in our human nature so completely, that by living out his divine life within our human life as a real human life he revealed something of the innermost secret of his own divine life as Son of the Father.” (1)
As a result of this Christ Project and His finished work, the life of Jesus with Father becomes our life and we participate with Him in a communion of the kind He called ‘I and the Father are one.’
* Union with the law is not union with God. It is union with separation from God.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 55). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.