YOU CAN SEE
There’s a way that seems right to the natural person person but it’s the way of death. It does not immediately appear as death because it is disguised in a shroud of ‘received beliefs.’ Nevertheless it depletes people of life even as is disports itself as life and accepted Christian teaching. It’s the kind of ‘gospel’ that sends people to all parts of the world as missionaries even though it sends them as cripples and apostles of a gospel so distorted that it is no gospel at all.
Jesus appeared in vision and said to this kind of representative, ‘Your spiritual senses have been so subverted by your law culture that you perceive real spiritual discernment as judgement. As a result you exist in self-perpetuating blindness.’
Life in the law for the Jews was a colony of Adam’s knowledge of good and evil. It was given to the Jews to lead to the Messiah as the life and the righteousness of God manifest in fullness in the person of Jesus. But Jesus came to be our life and our righteousness through His indwelling self – not a means of empowering us to comply with another entity external to ourselves, namely the law. From Christ onwards we would be joined to Father through His Son and one again united with the law of the spirit of life. This is not an abstraction. It is us when we are part of God which is to say part of Him as sons in spirit and in truth.
There never was a ‘law’ that was external to God and to ourselves in Adam and Eve. The law of the spirit of life is us and all things in union with God.
ONE WITH GOD
In explain the importance of Jesus and the being of the Father being one with the being of Jesus Christ and it significance for our being as part of God’s being, Torrance refers to the Ebionites who,
“Did not think of him [Jesus] as begotten of the Father, but as created. Far from being God become man, he was rather like a prophet indwelt by God. Hence they rejected any idea of an internal relation of being between him and the Father in favour of an external moral relation in virtue of which he fulfilled his messianic vocation as Christ
… Jesus Christ was placed quite definitely on the creaturely side of the radical difference between God and the creation, and as such could not be regarded as embodying in his own person the real presence or saving activity of God himself among men. It was not Jesus Christ, therefore, who was the focus of faith, but only ‘the heavenly Father’ to whom he directed mankind in his teaching.”
Of course Jesus declared Himself as the I AM of God and the full representation of the Father naming Himself as one with the being of God. The Ebionites formulation of Christ is not unlike that in which present day old covenant law adherents portray Jesus. Not as the expression of God in us but as a ‘Jesus’ method of super-charging our attempts at law-keeping. Such a portrayal presents a lesser Jesus and a limited ‘us’ since we have a Jesus who is somewhat less than God and a version of ourselves that remains still outside Him and separated from Him so that we are reliant on our own efforts and attempted self-discipline to position ourselves where Jesus can help us the most.
This may present as a semi-respectable try-harder gospel but it is not Christ and Paul’s gospel of the Kingdom. There’s a way that seems right to the carnal Christian but it’s the way of death. It does not immediately appear as death because it is disguised in a shroud of ‘received beliefs.’
Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 112). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.