NOT FOR THE RIGHTEOUS
Rules are useful in some areas of life like driving and flying an aircraft. In the realm of behaviour they can provide guidance. But here’s the thing. They have no power to make you are whole person much less a son of God. Thus Paul writes,
‘We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers’ Tim 1.9 NIV.
The law is not made for sons. Christ your life is here for our sonship. Put this together with Pauls statement, ‘ I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Gal 2.21 and we have the touchstone that separates Christ’s gospel from ‘other gospels.’
A STATE OF BEING
If we have been raised in the law we will probably have absorbed the notion that there is life in the following of rules. This would in fact be reasonable if we were still living in the knowledge of good and evil where positions and definitions are equated with being like God. But they are not synonymous with life. The notion of sin as the transgression of the law is only partly true. Sin results from separation from God and is the result of the attempt to find life and be a ‘self’ independently of God.
The most subtle kind of sin results from gospels that smother or dilute the cogency of Christ our life. These ‘gospels’ multiply ‘un-life.’
Thomas Torrance emphasises that our relationship with God is ontological rather than suppositional/positional. This is as it should be since the undoing of the knowledge of good and evil has been achieved by the enterprise of the trinity and their incarnation into us personally and in the church. It’s about ‘beings’ who have done things and in so doing entered our lives incarnationally. It’s much more than abstractions and forensic definitions. It’s you being alive with spirit and life because God has become part of you.
The life of God is not in the law or the positions of fundamentalism – at least not much of Him, given that because of grace there is some. Drops rather than rivers of life drizzle from ‘letter’ conditioned gospels.
NEW CREATION REGENERATION
Given that Jesus Christ is the Door to life, we need to keep in mind that He, as the logos, represents the entire rationale and purpose of creation. This means that to be joined to the life of the earth is to be joined to the One who is the Creator and Redeemer of Creation. In Jesus we are one with God and one with life, which is cause for celebration and exultation. This is the new creation writ large.
“Unfortunately, the notion of faith that emerged in the West was much more a rational assent to the truth of certain mental beliefs, rather than a calm and hopeful trust that God is inherent in all things, and that this whole thing is going somewhere good.” (1)
People who do not know Jesus personally often sense the Christ in His creation because it has been birthed by Him and His Spirit has been incarnated in its creatures, landscape and the life-giving inventions of human beings. There is a joy in landscape that the non-believer can sense and an excitement in technology and enterprise that is part of the joy of life. Nothing is dysfunctional of itself. I is only destructive outside of Christ. Thus Chits is not only your life. He is the life of the world.
While we may have a wedding ceremony we are one with our spouse when we consummate the marriage. We are talking physical and spiritual union – a parable of being one with Christ. We belong to the Body of Christ when our being is part of Him and our spirit is part of the Holy Family. We belong, not because we have received Christ but because He has received us into His life. In Jesus we are drawn into the Holy Family. As a result our being has become interwoven with God’s being. Jesus urged, ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. We do not have to live in figments (fig leaves) of the letter when we can live from where we have been placed – in fellowship with the trinity.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ (p. 22). SPCK. Kindle Edition.