In his latest post Ted Johnstone writes of the sacrament of baptism, ‘We'll look at how three Trinitarian theologians address the sacrament of baptism. All three understand baptism to be a proclamation that we have been saved by Jesus Christ alone and not through our own repentance and faith. All three view baptism as a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus, in which our old selves have been crucified and renounced in Christ and we have been freed from the shackles of the past and given new being through his resurrection. For all three, baptism proclaims the good news that Jesus has made us his own, and that it is only in him that our new life of faith and obedience emerges.’
What we have here is not a label. That which we are talking about is being ‘included in God.’
Clearly we are not talking about ‘assent to propositions’. But what we are talking about is fellowship with God in spirit and in truth.
Jesus ministered in contrast to the culture of the knowledge of good and evil. He ministered spirit and life. What exactly was this? It was union with God, fellowship with the Holy Family, His innate life without limit and the light of truth that was Himself. It was the life that Adam had lost through separation. This is the life that is the inheritance of all who believe right now.
‘Baptism’ is complimentary to the Lord’s Table in that it is a sign of belonging and union – a sign of the greater reality that His life has become our life and that in oneness with Christ we are one with our Father.
To be drawn into God’s life is to be drawn into the communion of the trinity.
In contrast to a legalistic outlook formed by an attachment to the law and old covenant, the new covenant vision exemplifies our belonging in God and posits faith less as ‘right beliefs’ and more as a state of being and belonging in the Holy Family.
This is a faith in which you know you belong because you are at rest in the fact that Jesus has received you into His fellowship with Father and Holy Spirit.
THE DESSERT OF THE LETTER
The law may be lived as adherence to the Ten Commandments or more subtly as the living out of Christian Beliefs. Either way both attitudes are of the law Jesus replaced as the way, the truth and the life (incarnation) and the law of which Paul exclaimed ‘If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" This is because Christ Himself is your life and your fellowship with God.
So what is the intent of God in Christ? The intention is to join us to Himself and be our life.
Our focus in this post is participation. You belong in the fellowship of the Holy Family.
ADAM UNDONE IS WHOLENESS AND TOGETHERNESS DONE
If we have been raised in religion and the law we may see ‘participation’ differently to the extravagant and full participation that is our genuine inheritance. Paul’s use of the words, ‘Christ our life’ and ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ are core to the state of belonging, of being and participating in the fellowship of God and of each other.
Our ‘Being and belonging’ is trinitarian as Johnstone’s article indicates. This is because the God who is love is love because of relationship – of communion between the members of the trinity. An anti-trinitarian stance extinguishes the God of love because love is relationship between persons. As such this view denies being and leaves us with an abstract god that fits well into a law based belief system.
IN PERSONIFIED LIFE
But your reality consists of ‘real being’ with real persons who are the fellowship of the trinitarian God. Legalism saps God of being and you of personhood. The new covenant in which Christ’s life is your life (as in Baptism) places you in the Family of God and the Family of God in you. This is the source of all life and the reason why the law is a nothing, is passé and a relic of outmoded Adam. But you are in the ever current Christ. Baxster Kruger writes,
“The doctrine of the Trinity means that relationship, that fellowship, that togetherness and sharing, that self-giving and other-centeredness are not afterthoughts with God, but the deepest truth about the being of God. The Father is not consumed with Himself; He loves the Son and the Spirit. And the Son is not riddled with narcissism; he loves his Father and the Spirit. And the Spirit is not preoccupied with himself and his own glory; the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Giving, not taking; other-centeredness, not self-centeredness; sharing, not hoarding are what fire the rockets of God and lie at the very center of God’s existence as Father, Son and Spirit.” This is the difference between oneness with Christ in spirit and truth and a notional oneness of abstractions and positions.