Many Christians are raised in the idea of separation. When Jesus cried out on the cross, ‘Why have you forsaken me,’ he was echoing the cry of every human. This was the cry of naked Adam and Eve. It’s our cry when we forsake ourselves, judge ourselves as unworthy and convince ourselves that we do not belong with God. Many good Christians are convinced intimacy with God is earned. It is. But not by us. Jesus’ union with our Father and Holy Spirit is our union. It’s the gift of God.
‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God’ Eph 2.8 ESV.
FROM AND TO
What have we been saved from? We have been saved from separation from God and saved into oneness with God.
Well may Believers be called The Bride of Christ. Just as a husband and wife are one, not just one in walking side by side but one in being because they have become one in body and spirit (we are talking love-making) so oneness in Christ entails our oneness with God. Godliness is not defined by what we do. It’s who we are part of God as daughters and son. ‘You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. You will realize that you are sons in spirit and in truth.
A real life in Christ births our real self as a son and reproduces sons and daughters of God.
IN THE FLESH
I remarked to a colleague once that the poet’s words in Song Five illustrated our life as the Bride of Christ – physical, spiritual, sensuous and passionate. ‘My heart began to pound for him. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh ..’ Fundamentalism finds it hard to accept this. It denies not only the reality of the Spirit but the reality of Christ come in our flesh in the passion and sensuousness of a full human life. Genuine holiness is Christ in you.
A law mentality separates us from God as He is and us as we are. It suggests abstraction as a life. It robs us of God as He is and of ourselves as we are. God in Christ has brought all things together into Himself. In Genesis God declared all things good. On Easter Sunday He inaugurated the new creation. Francois Du Toit writes,
“Oneness does not come in degrees – only our awareness of it may at times be measured in degrees!
When Jesus prays, “I in them and you in me, that they may be perfectly one.” He uses the word eimi to be – [osin] – and not ginomai to become. It is not just what we are redeemed from, [our waywardness and rejection of the life of our design] but what we are redeemed into that is most exciting – we are redeemed into rediscovering oneness and sonship! The degree of our lostness is not the equation – the length of stay with the pigs is not the highlight of the story in Luke 15. If realized sonship is the equation then both brothers were equally lost! In Christ every single person is equally found!”