Eugene Peterson writes, “The centrepiece of Christian theology is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures as a whole and the witness of Jesus himself, corroborated by those who knew him best, is unrelenting in insisting on this. So why is there so much hate, so much contentiousness, so much ill feeling among those who claim to be his followers? And especially among Evangelicals who take pride in having it “right”?” (1)
IT'S NOT A RELIGION
The answer to this question is in plain sight. It’s because the core of our living has not been the incarnation of God in our selves. Rather the core of our living has been the generality of Christianity, a regime of Christian moralism along with behavior modification blended together in a ‘try-harder’ culture that is the Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil.
Many Believers have so absorbed and acclimatised themselves to ‘faith’ as a variety of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result they deny Christ come in the flesh in favour of what they are used to.
Peterson highlights the fact that it is Christ who is our life. – not religion that is our life. He draws our attention to the fact that when Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ He was declaring that He is not only the Door to life and fellowship with God. Jesus was saying that ‘He becomes us.’
This is the meaning of the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Paul expressed this as ‘Christ our life.’ Meaning that the Spirit of Jesus is expressed as you and I. This is the meaning of the Lord’s Table. Just as food becomes you, so Jesus becomes you.
‘Virtue signalling’ and the citing of virtues on Facebook and the quoting of scripture does not make us better people. When Christ’s life becomes our life, because we have welcomed Him to be life in us – He has literally come in our flesh – which means that Jesus manifests as our own personal self. We become full of grace and truth because we are the expression of Him.
Let’s be clear. We cannot be nice people because we want to be. We are what we are through ‘common grace’ which is the presence of God in all humans. But we are better than we thought we could be when we have invited Jesus to dwell in our being and express Himself in our person and our relations with ourselves and with other people.
The centrepiece of the Kingdom of God is the incarnation of Jesus Christ in you and in us.
(1) In Jersak, Bradley. A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel . CWR Press. Kindle Edition.