Joe threw a hissy-fit because he claimed someone implied that he wasn’t a son. Joe was a son but a son of the kind Paul described as workers and slaves in Galatians.
The real meaning of the atonement is our achieved union with God. It’s more than an acquittal and much more than the event of the cross. The fuller meaning of the atonement is seen as it is revealed as the intention and plan of God that was implemented in the beginning. It was put into effect in the incarnation of God into the sons of God. It has been realised in our lives as Christ in you – God incarnated in His daughters and sons.
There’s much meaning in REALISED. ‘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. To be Kingdom people we need to realise this in our-selves as our daily state of being.
The atonement is much more than God saying, ‘I have to help out these creatures who are their own worst enemies.’ It involves God’s desire to know us, fellowship with us and enjoy as us sons and daughters created to share the trinity’s joy of being.
DESIRE IS FRUITFUL
You are desired. In marriage desire leads to a couple becoming one flesh. In a good marriage a couple are one in being before they have intercourse. In a good marriage sexual love is a component of the growing unity of being that is called ‘one flesh.’ People can have casual sexual assignations. But such sex is basically bodies together with no deep state of being. This is a metaphor of the Believer retained in the law. He finds a kind of union in some act of ‘obedience’ - adherence to a rite or the practice of an observance or some act of sacrifice. But there is no union of being with God.
One might follow a different gospel and claim to belong to the Body of Christ because one has found a scripture about the one loaf. One does ‘belong’ in a superficial sense – but only of the kind of sex without marriage.
Here one has not become a bride of Christ because one remains married to the law – which continues as ‘another husband.’ This is the effect of a partial atonement – an atonement that waits for its completion on something you do. But such an atonement is not the atonement of God. His atonement results in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The atonement is less about law and more about ‘being’.
“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.” (1)
We do not belong because we can quote a scripture than says we do. We belong in spirit and in truth because we live in God and in His Plan. In Him we have our being. Under the law and in separation we do not participate in this ‘being’ because our mindset retains us in Adam’s separation – even though objectively we belong and have moved from separation to union with God.
As ministers of the new covenant we promote the truth of our achieved union with God and undo poor teaching and embedded cultural errors that dilute the strength of what is ours – the fact that we are woven into God and God is woven into us. We are sons not because we read a scripture that says we are but because at the hub of reality and core of existence we have been drawn into the life of God by the enterprise of the trinity.
REJECT A PRODIGAL LIFE
Christian Kettler writes, “One of the enduring contributions of Barth’s early theology is his continual reminder that religion is the sinful person’s attempt to respond to God, but only on the sinful person’s terms. The tragic irony of the phenomenon of religion is that what appears to be an act of devotion is, quite the contrary, an act of supreme hubris. In fact, the very reality of God becoming human in order to offer a perfect, obedient response argues against our meagre attempts at responding, filled as they are with ulterior motives.”(2)
Don’t live a prodigal life in the name of God. The prodigal son was never less than a son. He just missed out on the benefits of the sonship that had always been his.
(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.