DONE WITH PADDOCKS OF TARES
Fundamentalist notions of the Body of Christ are conditioned by Greek inspired dualistic visions of thinking that tie them to words and positions instead of the actuality of being that is ours in union with God. Whether fundamentalists are tied to the law explicitly or implicitly their thinking is founded on a notion that has Christ separate from the law and in some instances a christ of whom it is suggested that he is separate from God*.
For these Believers, in the new testament, the law as a ‘way’ has not been done abolished. It remains. But now for them, the law has an ally. In the new testament Jesus is seen as the Instigator of the law’s successful implementation in the lives of Believers. In this distorted perspective ‘right doing’ is not seen as an expression of God in us and a function of our relationship with God. It is constructed as an independent entity that Jesus helps us accomplish: Dualism. This is sometimes expressed as Jesus will help us clean up our act enough to become accepted by God. This is not true of course. Firstly we already are received into God’s life and secondly, righteousness is a function of God in us and as us.
This law impregnated versions of Christianity are more about separation than they are about union with God.
This dichotomy arises from the dichotomous nature of the knowledge of good and evil. Along with it is the Arian insistence that Jesus Christ was not of the same substance as the Father and acted from a subordinate role of bringing the sons of Adam into compliance with God’s law. Keep in mind that in this schema the law is notionally independent of God. But originally and in the new covenant life, righteousness and grace are all the substance of our relationship with God. We are one in being with God.
Some denominations come to make the law and its keeping the big issue of salvation when it is not. The issue is the trustworthiness of Father and our achieved union with God. This already achieved through the cross at the hands of the trinity.
The truth of the life accomplished for us by the enterprise of Father, Son and Holy Spirit simply ‘is.’ Whether we benefit from this or not depends on whether we are believing what God is believing about it.
The following observation by Thomas Torrance bears consideration and an effort to comprehend what he is saying.
“The crucial problem in the doctrine of the Church that confronted the Nicene theologians in the fourth century may be set out in the following way. Arianism held that the relation between the Son and the Father was merely of an external or moral kind contingent upon the divine will, and not internal to the one being of the Godhead.
Correspondingly, it operated with an external relation between the saving work and the Person of Christ, and thus also with an external or moral relation between the Church and Christ. Hence the Church was regarded, not as the Body of Christ, but as a community formed through the voluntary association of like-minded people.
Nicene Theology, on the other hand, held that the relation between the incarnate Son and the Father was internal to the one eternal being of God, and was not an external creaturely or moral relation but one intrinsic to the essential nature of God.
Correspondingly, it operated with an internal ontological relation between the Person and work of Christ, and thus with an internal relation between the Church and Christ of a dynamic and ontological kind established through the reconciling and incorporating activity of the incarnate Son and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It was early Christian understanding of the incarnation and atonement in their mutual involution in the one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, that gave rise to the classical doctrine of the Church.” (1)
We can belong to the Body of Christ and be a tare. Jesus spoke of paddock of tares for a reason. A paddock of tares is a divergent gospel that robs people of fullness of life. John wrote of the denial of Christ come in the flesh (side-lining the incarnation with the law) as a ploy of anti-christ. As such we can assert belonging in the Body of Christ because all belong conceptually. But we belong spiritually and are one with Christ as a state of being, when Christ is our life on the grounds that His being is also our being.
Thus Paul’s words ‘Christ your life’ are not just poetic. They refer to a state of being that is not found in Adam/Moses but is found in Christ. Whether our ‘belonging’ in the Body has substance or is just clouds without rain depends on the situating of the self in Moses or in Christ. We are what we believe.
* As in Arianism
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 277-278). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.