We can be participants in ‘the letter’ or we can be participants in God. In the letter we can define ourselves as ‘in God’ when we are merely in some definitions about Him. This is how we can assume we are part of the Body of Christ, yet in reality be part of the knowledge of good and evil – of what in fact is this body of death. The latter is about information. The former is about the actual union of your person with God.
The ‘letter’ precludes union with God. Born of lie that led to the fall, the letter is a weed of separation growing in the garden of anti-Eden. The letter kills because it cannot produce union with God. Only God can do that. He has done it in Christ who weaves God into us and us into God.
Our union with God is an ontological union involving the enveloping of our being in the fellowship of the trinity. Fundamentalisms make theology out of words. The doctrine of the Jesus and the apostles includes you in God.
This explains why all belong, yet not all belong in spirit and in truth. To belong notionally is to belong in the mode of fallen Adam – in a statement couched in the knowledge of good and evil. To belong in spirit and in truth is to belong in the mode of Jesus where fallen Adam has been undone we and our Father are one in Jesus.
The difference between a notional union with God and union in spirit and in truth is this: Notionality (religion) has us receiving Christ. New covenant truth lives in the reality that we have been received already into Christ’s life.
In order to minister the Kingdom Jesus began we must be ministers of the new covenant. Richard Rohr observes,
“Most groups picked a few moral positions to give themselves a sense of worthiness and discipline, or a few sacraments to “attend,” but.. divine union still largely remained a secret or foolish to imagine. “I don’t have time for the mystics; we are running a church here,” a bishop once told me. I’m not kidding. And he was not a bad man or a bad bishop, but he was an outsider to the very Mystery that he talked about in the church he was “running.”” (1)
The bishop was an outsider because he and his religion were outside the union that was their – because they did not believe Christ’s Gospel. The bishop and Father were one in by designation. But not in spirit and in truth because he did not agree with the doctrine of Jesus and the apostles. You can live outside and without your inheritance because you refuse to embrace it. Refuse because you are satisfied with ‘this body of death.’
When we are born again we can ‘see’ and understand the Kingdom of God. This is because we leave behind our first Adam and enter into the life of our second Adam – into Christ who is our life. Here we rightly divide the word of truth because we are free of Adam’s confusion and cunningly devised fables.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self. SPCK. Kindle Edition.