It is a great privilege to be a person. We originated from all that is super-personal and alive with love and the joy of life – the Family that is God. The trinity is not only the womb of all existence. It the womb of ourselves as individuals and in community. Jesus Christ is the door to our inclusion in this hub of life and the realisation of the fullness of our personhood.
In Christ we are alive. In the law and anything less than Jesus we are dead men walking.
Nowhere is the nature of a human being so dimmed as in a theology that insists that the foundation of God’s Kingdom is the law. Such a theology is death to spirit and life.
God theology insists that the source of life is Christ in you.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV. We are in our glory when we are who He created us to be and when we are the expression of His spirit and life.
A person is both wonderfully simple and amazingly complex. Simple in that we have a spirit, a soul and a body and complex in that all of the above can manifest in amazing subtlety and diversity. We as persons are living entities in which the whole – our person – is always greater than the sum of our parts. The notion that the ten commandments are a summary of God’s character is specious. Jesus is the expression of Father’s character and you are the expression of Him. From a child I had always known that there was something niggardly and anti-life about defining and confining persons in religious law. Many were not happy people, some lived a life of trivial pursuit and those who had a modicum of peace lacked spirit and life. Paul hints at the reason for this when he warns that those not in the Spirit are in a body of death.
The importance and the supremacy of the NOTION OF PERSONS was revealed to me in Paul Tournier’s book, The Meaning of Persons. Here he writes,
‘There are two worlds, or ways of looking at the world, of entering into relationship with it, depending on the spirit in which we approach it. We may see in it nothing but things [and] mechanisms …[BUT] By becoming oneself a person one discovers other persons round about, and one seeks to establish a personal bond with them … [Yet] the person always eludes our grasp; it is never static. It refuses to be confined within concepts, formulae and definitions. It is not a thing to be encompassed, but a point of attraction, a guiding force, a direction, an attitude, which demands from us a corresponding attitude which moves us to action and commits us.’ What he means is that anyone who lives in the fullness of Christ is a life-giving spirit.
There is a reason why a real person cannot be nailed down to a mechanical formula and this reason is simply that a large portion of the person is spirit. ‘So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" - the last Adam, a life-giving spirit’ 1 Cor 15.45 NIV. We need ensure that we are living in the last Adam rather than the first Adam.
When Christ is our life we live fully as ourselves and impart life to others. A quality of God is that He is totally free, constrained by nothing and glorious because He is fully Himself. Jesus demonstrated the same glory by being one with our Father, being totally Himself and accomplishing all that His Father had set out for Him to do – by as His Son. When Jesus is our life this is our life.
‘For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself’ John 5.26 NIV.
The life Jesus gives us is connected to eternal life in that it is a life that is infinite where we are totally one with God and as a result totally ourselves. We grow into our glory as son because we are one with our Father.
Some teach that participation in the divine nature is achieved by law keeping. This accords neither with the Bible or reality. Paul warns that if we are connected to the law then as far as we are concerned, Christ died for nothing.
Sin is not transgression of the law. Sin is separation from God. Such separation produces unrighteousness and dullness of soul. As ‘law-keepers’ we remain separated from God and therefore still in sin. This is the predicament of old covenant Christianity where Christ is purported to be not our life but a means of helping us extract life from the law. But the law is separation and therefore death.
God does not live from the law. He never did and never will. He lives from Himself and is the Spirit of Life. To be a person who is alive and growing from glory to glory we must live in the God who has made His home in us to express Himself through us. We participate in the divine nature – as sons of God by origin and the union achieved through redemption. God is incarnated in our being and we are in Him. We participate in the personhood of the trinity. Holy Spirit imparts to us the relationship of Father and Son. She admits us into the dynamic of their relationship and we are fully human and fully alive.