NOT A PEASANT RELIGION
From time to time we might come across families of misers who live a constricted life that is poor in material comfort and even poorer in spirit and soul. It’s a living parable of the Believer who lives from the soil of the law.
Any theology grounded in the law is innately mean. It has to be because law is a culture of scarcity on account of that it is innately reductionist. With the law the whole is never greater than the sum of the parts. Always less. Legalism promotes the lie that the parts are the ‘whole.’ Paul exposed the lie in law-mongering when He said that ‘the letter kills.’ Unfortunately it can make zombies of us because it makes us think we are alive with a pseudo zeal. Activity is not life. In the law we are bereft of spirit and life and bound to an ‘accountants view of religion’. When Christ is our life we are always ‘more than we are.’
The atonement has a fuller meaning when it is considered as an overflow of the love of our Father for sons and daughters rather than merely seen in the reductionist view of the law.
The actions of God show that righteousness is defined by what God has done rather than by legal abstractions. Righteousness is defined as love and the life that is love is revealed in the narrative and being of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and our Father are one. The narrative is that God sacrifices Himself so that God’s vision for the sons of God – the sharing of the trinity’s enjoyment of life to the full is realised in you, in order that we can be drawn into their joy and their pleasure in simply being.
This is why “The atonement is not simply one moment of time on the cross, but the “development” of the incarnation, of the heart of the Father revealed in the Son, who has partaken of human flesh. Therefore, atonement is essentially the ontological communication of the life of God, a life that gives itself in suffering love, even to the pain of death on a cross. The heart of the Father has healing and atoning effects when it lives in the life of the Son.” (1) Ontological refers to action in real time resulting in life flowing out from what God has done and is continuously doing through the ministry of God.
YOU AND FATHER ARE ONE
The atonement is the at-one-ment of God and ourselves. It is the story worked out in real time that makes us one with God and ensures that we are interwoven into God, and that we are sons in spirit and in truth. We are sons not because the law is in us – this would make us smaller than we could have been and separate us from God.
We are sons because we are born of God initially, and reborn by the new creation of ourselves in Christ into an Easter Life of continuous resurrection. This makes us larger than many of us know. Nevertheless it is the truth and the truth that is the manifestation of God as you and all of us.
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (pp. 8-9). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.