THE NOW OF UNION WITH GOD
Eternal life is knowing God as He is and knowing God through Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus that we know Holy Spirit and through Holy Spirit that we know Father and Jesus Christ. This is simply to say that we know God through God and through ourselves – not merely by way of words, definitions and positions.
The truth is that we know God through ‘being’ which means firstly by the living word and secondly through the written word. The latter is always a function of persons.
THE LETTER KILLS
If we are contained in a one dimensional epistemology of words, namely ‘the letter’ we may imagine ourselves possessing a certainty and a ‘knowledge’ that does not actually exist. For example we may imagine ourselves belonging to the Body of Christ because we have found a scripture that seems to affirm this. But what if we are living in a different gospel. “Another gospel” of the kind Paul spoke of and a variety of which Jesus warned us off - because it produces tares – the tares of false sonship in a mindset of illusions coming from the father of lies.
All things find their being and their real nature in God. Jesus came among us to certify this by drawing us into His life: The at-one-ment. Our knowledge of God, of who God is and who we are in Him and the certainty that we are in God comes to us from God Himself. It comes as a result of the combined efforts of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Knowing God and our belonging in God is personal and communal in the first instance and only secondarily legal.
THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE
We cannot know God or ourselves through the law. Legalism can provide only a skeletal and inadequate epistemology. A valley of dead bones gives a very poor picture of the church, just as a gospel so distorted that it is ‘another gospel’ can only be considered to belong to the Body of Christ by applying a drastic amount of ‘spin.’ The Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of human beings perceived through Christ our life is the only way and the living way that God and ourselves can be known as who we are.
“If we are really to have knowledge of God we must be given a point of access to him which is both in God himself and in our creaturely existence. That is precisely what we have in the incarnation, where God’s self-revelation as Father takes place through his self-giving to us in Jesus Christ his Son. When God gives us access to knowledge of himself like that he does so within the conditions of space and time and therefore within the bounds of what we human beings may apprehend. At the same time the knowledge which God thus gives us of himself in his incarnate Son is from a centre in his own being, where all our human understanding and conceiving of him may be governed and tested in accordance with his divine nature. Thus when we approach God as Father through the Son, our knowledge of the Father in the Son is grounded in the very being of God and is determined by what he essentially is in his own nature.” (1)
It takes living in the new covenant to know God and what God is saying to us in Christ and in the new testament. Reading the new testament through old covenant assumptions is at best confusing and at worst nonsense.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 52-53). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.