Jesus says in Revelation, ‘You say you are alive but are actually dead.’ This is not because the people are not zealous and not because they are careless of the law. It’s because they have retained themselves in the law or some routine of works or in religion.
The astonishing fact of new testament life is that we and our Father are one. This is to say ‘one’ in the sense that sons are one with their Father and one in the sense that the prodigal son is received into the Father’s house with joy. In the story of the prodigal son it is apparent that that the prodigal now lives in a oneness with His Father that the loyal son does not. He is in the house but not of it, something like a marriage that is dead but still formally existing.
YOU AND FATHER ARE ONE
We have this union with God because the at-one-ment is complete. Separation is finished which is what Jesus declared as He expired on the cross. “It is finished!” But the expiration of His life was the regaining of ours – in spirit and in truth.
This union with God – union and fellowship with the trinity is there for all. But we must choose to receive it. And in receiving it we can be careful to embrace all if it. Not just bits and pieces. The parable of the talents is not about abilities but about those who embraced all of their inheritance and not just pieces of it. Some buried it in the ground and some multiplied it exponentially. All got to heaven. Some brought more of heaven to themselves and to earth than others because they chose to go for the truth.
RIVERS AND DROPLETS
Thomas Torrance writes of the relationship between full reconciliation and partial reconciliation of the kind implied by separationist assumptions and old covenant teaching. ‘Genuine revelation results in reconciliation or is received only by those reconciled to God.’ (1)
The implication is that Christ’s gospel as opposed to ‘other gospels’ eliminates confusion and bad theology. Here Torrance is alluding to the sharpness of spiritual discernment cited by the writer of Hebrews when he declares, ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12. Old covenant Christianity is extraordinarily dim-witted where spiritual discernment is concerned.
The writer above, probably Paul, is not only speaking of ‘attitudes.’ For him the living word in us unites us with living truth in God. Union fosters revelation and revelation fosters more union. The converse of this truth is that an obsession with our own ideas and perspectives dulls both reconciliation (oneness with God) and revelation. As Paul noted when speaking of the un-reconciled who had constrained themselves in the law,
“Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children” Gal 4.25 NIV.
There’s but one gospel. Don’t make up your own version. You have no right to do so and there is no life in such a course. The narrative we believe is the story our of which we weave our reality. Satan suggested a false reality that when embraced was the fall. His ploy continues today. We have direct union with God – so direct that Christ’s life is our life. But his ruse is to imply that morality, or religion or the gifts or the paraphernalia of church is the life. But no. The trinity is our life. We are the manifestation of God if we believe we are the manifestation of God.
The issue today is the same as it was for Adam and Eve. Will we believe Satan’s narrative or will be believe Christ’s story. In the first we remain slaves. In the second we are the sons and daughters of God.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) . Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.