“In examining any claim to truth, it is always good to consider what the implications of the given truth-claim are. If these implications are impossible or unacceptable, this is a fairly good initial indication that the truth-claim from which they follow is false.” (1)
Jesus declared Himself the way, the truth and the life for a reason: Because He is life in every way. Paul spoke of Christ our life in contrast to law and religion as our life – because a new and living way had been opened in which life in the person of Jesus would live in us and be us. Thus Kingdom life is a state of being – of being a son. So don’t live as tares.
NEGATION OF SUBSTANCE
Adherence to law ties us to the letter and captures us in the stronghold of positions and definitions – while denying the power of the Kingdom. This promotes woodenness and a culture of dead folks talking. For example, it has the peculiarity of being able to make a favourable evaluation of the Holy Spirit in a statement of beliefs while denying His presence in everyday living. It can claim a theoretical union with the Body of Christ while living in the separation of the law and the old covenant.
Law centric teaching admits the incarnation while living without it, in the externalities of the law. Christ has not come in the flesh in practical terms because the law has been maintained in the flesh and the head. ‘Christ in you’ is a construct and not a reality while Paul’s ‘Christ our life’ is reduced to ‘Christian living as our life.’ All of this pales into tiddly-winks compared to the raw spirit and life of Jesus in us and as us by the Spirit.
The Kingdom of God appears on earth as we live in the fact that the chief manifestation of Holy Spirit is YOU.
The Kingdom of God is lived on earth when the trinity is manifest as you and us all. ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
The most grievous effect of adherence to the law in the Christian age is that it robs Christianity of Christ – which is to say it fades the incarnation into a shadow for the sake of the concrete actions of the law. But it is Christ in us and as us that imbues action with spirit and life. Paul writes,
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit’ Rom 8.1-4 NIV.
The incarnation means that Christ is our grace. The incarnation means that we are graced with Christ’s Spirit in us. The incarnation means that by the Spirit Jesus becomes our life and more. The incarnation means that we are woven into the fellowship of the trinity. The incarnation means that we can reign in the spirit of ourselves and not deliver bags of something and nothing in the name of God.
The magnificence of our inheritance in Christ is cause for a warning against legalistic and trinitarian heresies.
If an obtuse attachment to the law in the new testament age denies the substance of the incarnation it can also deny the reality of the trinity. This is because legalism, being a child of the forbidden tree is a form of death – death of the kind that Paul calls ‘the letter that kills.’ The letter robs us of the reality of a relationship with persons in exchange for a relationship with abstractions and positions. This is why people can lay claim to belonging to the body of Christ in the mindset of the letter while having limited interwoveness with the trinity in terms of ‘Realizing that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.’ John 14.20 NIV.
C Baxter 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.’ And the deepest truth about the being of ourselves!
If God is subject to the law, as some believe, then God is not God because the law is god being higher than Him. If the law is God then ‘abstractions’ are god and Aristotle was right. God is an ‘unmoved mover’ and so are we when bound in doctrines and theologies but separated from personhood and life like so many eunuchs and caponised chickens mouthing everything but spirit and life.
Thankfully we are not. To see Jesus is to see ourselves. To trust Jesus is to possess our place in God – not in some abstraction but in the fellowship of persons – the daily companionship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. This is the day we are born again and the day we become sons and daughters of God in spirit and in truth.
(1) Boyd, Gregory A.. Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity (pp. 163-164). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.