THE GOSPEL OF OTHER GOSPELS
Paul uses the term ‘Christ your life’ to indicate that Christ is in all things for us and by the incarnation Christ manifests as us – individually and as the Body. As stated before this does not mean that we are deities, nor does it mean that we lose our individuality and agency as individuals. It implies that as individuals we receive the spirit and life of the trinity when we as individuals choose to believe we belong and follow Christ’s gospel rather than our own impression or self-contrived ‘other gospels.’
The first symptom of the presence of ‘another gospel’ is the inability to see.
In union with God, we become progressively more our true selves, because we are leaving behind the false self that we had been attempting to manufacture in our old covenant life of separation from God. Religion separates us from God. It is extraneous to God and superfluous to our relationship with Him. His Kingdom is relationship. It is family and it is you as a daughter/son in His House.
Our union with God is the doorway to the union with our real self and the Body of Christ. ‘Christ come in our flesh’ means that The Spirit of Jesus active in our being makes us progressively all that the Son of God originally meant us to be. We get to live according to our design – a feature that Paul calls advancing from glory to glory.
The mysterious paradox of this union is that Christ’s life becomes our life and at the same time we become more our real selves. Theologian Baxster Kruger calls this perichoresis which means union with God and retention of the individual self. Radical grace means that Christ manifests as the Believer through incarnation. (This is how all of us get to be The Body). But He does so because we agree that He does and we participate in His gospel and not some divergent belief that annuls it by an attachment to the law and an adherence to a mindset of an unfinished atonement.
If for you the atonement is unfinished, you pretty much are too.
MORE OFYOU NOT LESS
Dr Gary Deddo of Grace Communion International writes, “Via the Incarnation, God in Christ did not assume all human persons to himself. Had that been the case, the distinction between Jesus and all others would have been obliterated‐‐‐Jesus would be all persons and all persons would be Jesus. As a result, all persons would be identical to the divine Son of God and thus members of the Trinity as Christ is. But that is not what happened at the Incarnation‐‐‐that is not what the gospel declares. Jesus Christ assumed human nature‐‐‐that, which all human beings have in common, not what makes them unique individuals or subjects‐‐‐that which gives them personal identity.”
You become more ‘you’ in Christ. Not less. It’s not universalism in play here. Or a cosmic soup. You get to be who you are in Jesus while we present the diverse facets of Jesus as His Body. There’s a wedding that is the marriage of our person with Jesus. Wedded to Jesus and His gospel and not ‘another gospel’ we are the virgins who go in to the wedding feast. Not those who miss the occasion because they are contained in a narcissism of their own.
We do not belong to the Body because we are Christians. We belong to the Body because we believe in Christ and His Gospel and are not attached to some ‘other gospel’ that insinuates we are sons when we are not. Jesus called this kind of culture ‘tares’ and Paul warned that it attracts a curse.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is addressed to persons and communities. Paul summarised it as ‘Christ our life.’ Jesus described it as Himself being the way, the truth and the life and theologians today have called it the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Christ is for us, Christ manifests through us and Christ represents us totally to our Father. This is our inheritance generically – but not ours until our hearts have agreed that it is so and not ours until we have embraced it as our possession in spirit and in truth. Salvation is about the truth and belonging is personal.
There is a difference between possessing our inheritance and leaving it in the ground. We are not one with Christ unless we choose to be one in His terms. Garry Deddo writes,
“By the hypostatic union [the divine and human nature], which took place at the ontological level of human nature, all human persons are not fused with the person of Jesus. But Jesus Christ did become Lord and Saviour of all by his saving assumption of human nature, and he did so in order that all persons might live according to that reality as human persons who, as subjects, receive and participate by the Holy Spirit in that new and regenerated human nature Christ has for them.”
The key here is ‘receive and participate’ in the Simple fact of Christ our life. This is the gospel and Jesus and the apostles.