To believe and follow Jesus is to follow the Christ of God, to be tutored by Jesus through His Spirit and to embrace accurately and correctly all that He is. In this way we are the wise virgins who become married to all that has been accomplished for them by the alliance of the trinity.
We are well able to choose how to be in Christ. We are not at liberty to have Jesus and then append our own gospel. There is one gospel of the Kingdom lived by Jesus and revealed mainly by Paul and John. No other gospel will evoke the Kingdom or express it. This is why those who live out the new covenant inheritance that is theirs are quite different people to those who have not embraced their inheritance in full. This is to say that we represent Father as sons and daughters simply by agreeing that in Christ we are fully alive. Or not. If we are dilatory enough we can live separately in the old covenant even though the new has been our inheritance for over 2000 years.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV. We are competent as ministers of Kingdom growth living in the provisions of the new covenant. Not if we have allowed ourselves to stagnate in the old.
T F Torrance writes, ‘Perhaps the most fundamental truth which we have to learn in the Christian Church, or rather relearn since we have suppressed it, is that the incarnation was the coming of God to save us in the heart of our fallen and depraved humanity .... That is to say, the incarnation is to be understood as the coming of God to take upon himself our fallen human nature, our actual human existence laden with sin and guilt, our humanity diseased in mind and soul in its estrangement or alienation from the Creator.’
Jesus came into the world as the son of God. Incarnation. He has come into us by grace and by Holy Spirit who fills us with the Spirit of Sonship: Incarnation. The beauty of the incarnation is that the life of God is ours and our life is established in God since the Son of Man is a member of the God-head. The one John saw is our alpha and omega, which is to say the beginning of us and our unfolding destiny.
The plan was complete at Jesus’ ascension. There has been no addition to this gospel. No subtraction and no amendments that are legitimate since the advent of Jesus and the teaching of the apostles. Christ as He was then and is now is all and in all. In Him there is more than enough. Certainly there have been aspects of our inheritance that have never been taken up and truths that have thoughtlessly been laid aside. But as Torrence assures us, “There can be no more laying of foundations, any more than there can be other incarnations or crucifixions of Christ or re=baptism.”
It is a poor man’s gospel to harangue people with Bible scriptures under the assumption that they should try harder in order to put them into practice. The new testament is not a moral agenda or a behavior modification manual. It is the testimony of the Christ, His finished work and the meaning and application of His accomplishments for us.
‘Doing good with Christ’s help leaves us under the tree of knowledge with its stinking fruit. ‘Keeping close to Jesus’ blinds us to the fact that Jesus is in us and with us and that we are the effect of His being. The facts is, Jesus is in us. Jesus is the surety that we live in the presence of God and that God as the trinity lives un us. There is no link in the chain between God and ourselves that is left to our fitful and feeble strength. Christ is our life and is totally efficacious for our continuous advance into the fellowship of the Holy Family. Truly Jesus is the vine. We are the branches and the fruit, ripe with the spirit of sonship.