A retired pastor remarked, ‘ I spent my whole life preaching ‘doing righteousness and refraining from unrighteousness’, only to discover that this is not quite the Message of Jesus.’
‘So what is the Message’, I asked. The Message is incarnation from start to finish – Christ in you, Christ as you, Christ for you in every possible way.’
Union with God is not ours because we have ticked a box. It’s ours because we are in Christ and Christ is in God.
There’s good reason to live in God and not in the law. The law binds us to sin and its separation. We are separated in our minds when the knowledge of good and evil is the fabric of our being. The fruit of this tree is non-being, resulting in the absence of spirit and life from our souls and the inevitable death of our bodies. Because of this God’s solution for our disconnection is not more law (more knowledge of good and evil) His solution is His Living Way of uniting our being to His: The Christ who is our life.
CHRIST IS YOUR LIFE
This union has been accomplished. It is the position in which we can live without presumption. Jesus prayed,
‘That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me’ John 17.21 NIV. Such ‘oneness’ is not a future state. It is our now state of being in Christ resulting from the at-one-ment of the cross and the incarnation of God into our being.
Our union with God since the fall has come in degrees. Prophets and kings had fellowship with God and people like the Roman centurion were His servants. Nevertheless the true knowledge of God came in the person of Jesus Christ who reveals Father to us and us to ourselves. Any Believer who says ‘yes’ to Christ has the potential to enjoy a greater degree of oneness with God than any ‘great’ of old testament times. Why? Because the trinity lives in you and you in Christ have been drawn into their life.
There are those who have more of God than others now. Not because they are better people who have gained more points. But because they live in the reality of the incarnation. Living in His truth rather than our own truth is a great advantage.
‘Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.
One with Father, Son and Holy Spirit obedient people live in this state of belonging because it is real, it is true and it is theirs – their inheritance. It’s your inheritance.
Stephen Morrison writes of the paradox of sin and separation.
“Sin is a paradox. It is and it is not separation because it is under grace. Sin demands death and separation, and it is in itself separation from God. The nature of sin is separation from God. Separation is not a consequence of sin; it is the nature of sin. But since God is inherently gracious towards us He refuses to let us go. He continues upholding our existence in spite of our rebellion.
Though we separate ourselves from Him, He refuses to be separated from us. Though we let go of God, God refuses to let go of us. Sin is separation from God, but God refuses to let us go. In His freedom He loves us. To let us go would be annihilation. By grace we exist. Our very next breath is a sheer testimony to the grace of God, and the unwavering love He has for us.” (1) This explains why we can be in The Body but not of the Body.
This explains why we can define ourselves as belonging to the Body of Christ and not be of the Body at the same time. We own what we believe. Actual, lived-in belonging is ours in the gospel of Christ and the apostles.
If our ‘gospel’ is another gospel that defines us as separated or has us living in a partial atonement in which we are obliged to add something of our own to ‘get in’, this ‘belonging’ is not ours even though it is. The reality that is ours is the reality we believe in our hearts – which is why we need the mind of Christ, Paul’s gospel and not some ‘other gospel’ that spreads the ‘great darkness.’ Don’t travel with the cattle in the goods van when Jesus has given you a first class seat with Himself, Father and Holy Spirit at the front of the train.
(1) Morrison, S. D.. We Belong: Trinitarian Good News (pp. 44-45). Beloved Publishing. Kindle Edition.