GROUND OF OUR BEING, CORE OF OUR LIFE IN GOD
The core and ground of our salvation is the atonement and the incarnation. Both analytically separate but both part of the one uniting of ourselves as sons in spirit and in truth with God. This ‘making one’ is the ground of our righteousness and the healing of our degradations. It is the door into spirit and life and the escape from pedestrian un-life that would present itself as ‘the Christian life.’
Atonement and incarnation is the soil from which our life in the Spirit lives and the reason that we have the Spirit without limit as Jesus did on account of His oneness with His Father. But the gifts do not join us to God. God has joined us to God.
This at-one-ment is complete and finished. Known as the finished work of Christ its effect is the vicarious humanity of Christ, wherein Jesus Christ represents us totally in any and every aspect of our relationship with God. Our union with God is a fact having been caused by the action of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in drawing us into themselves through the cross and Pentecost.
The life of God flows into our being because God in Christ has taken up residence in our being – never through the law or any element of it and not through any rite or sacrament because Jesus in His Person and Body is the union between ourselves and God and ourselves and each other. You now live a sacramental life of the kind Paul called, ‘Christ in you’. Jesus is the atonement and the incarnation in His person.
Thomas Torrance writes that
“The incarnation and the atonement [have been] brought together in terms of their intrinsic coherence in the divine-human Person of the Mediator – the incarnation was seen to be essentially redemptive and redemption was seen to be inherently incarnational or ontological. Union with God in and through Jesus Christ who is of one and the same being with God belongs to the inner heart of the atonement”…..
Christ’s union with God as a result of the cross becomes your union with God.
“The understanding of the atonement in terms of the inner ontological relations between Christ and God and between Christ and mankind, implies that the very basis for a merely moral or legal account of atonement is itself part of the actual state of affairs between man and God that needs to be set right. The moral relations that obtain in our fallen world have to do with the gap between what we are and what we ought to be, but it is that very gap that needs to be healed, for even what we call ‘good’, in fulfilment of what we ought to do, needs to be cleansed by the blood of Christ.”
We have been forgiven for our sins and the distance between ourselves and God has been healed and undone. There is no separation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God in Christ establishes a new basis for union with God which at the same time is the substance of the redemption of our sonship. Torrance continues and explains why we have a new covenant and not the old and more importantly why this new covenant is not a modification of our pre-cross arrangements.
APART FROM THE LAW
“The inexplicable fact that God in Christ has actually taken our place, tells us that the whole moral order itself as we know it in this world needed to be redeemed and set on a new basis, but that is what the justifying act of God in the sacrifice of Christ was about.
Thus while, in St Paul’s phrases, Christ subjected himself ‘under the law’ to redeem those who are ‘under the law’, nevertheless his act of grace in justifying us freely through redemption was ‘apart from law’. Such is the utterly radical nature of the atoning mediation perfected in Christ, which is to be grasped, as far as it may, not in the light of abstract moral principle, but only in THE LIGHT OF WHAT HE HAS ACTUALLY DONE in penetrating into the dark depths of our twisted human existence and restoring us to union and communion with God in and through himself.
In this interlocking of incarnation and atonement, and indeed of creation and redemption, there took place what might be called ‘a soteriological suspension of ethics’ in order to reground the whole moral order in God himself.” (1) The law is not God and never was. God is love and God is grace. God is both life and righteousness and these are ‘apart from the law.’
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 159 - 160). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.