ACTS FOLLOWS THE GOSPELS FOR A REASON
People can see themselves as separate from God and see their life aim as to become accepted by, loved by God and one with God. So they make this OVERCOMING SEPARATION their project of their Christianity.
The aim is good, even righteous but quite misguided. Because they already have oneness in Christ.
Since the cross the world is not separated from God – unless it chooses to be or mistakenly believes itself to be. Jesus has gained for us oneness with God of the kind that He enjoys in the communion of the trinity.
This is a very close oneness and inclusion indeed. Jesus declared this inheritance for all when He said, ‘I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity’ John 17.20-23 NIV.
While oneness with God has been secured for all it becomes the possession of those who believe in Jesus. Jesus is the Door to oneness with God in this life and in eternal life. But it is not gained by performing for Jesus. It is ours in Jesus. Christ is our life in every way. He is our relationship with God and the expression of Himself in us as Godliness.
How shall we be right with God? There are no pre-requisites. You are not in double jeopardy having to ‘get right with God’ and to land this ‘get right with Christ.’ Jesus is you in relation to Himself and to the trinity. This is some of what Paul means when he speaks of Christ our life (Col 3.4) but only some because the potential of Christ our life for us is limitless.
Theologians have called this, ‘the vicarious humanity of Christ’ which is actually a definitive description of Jesus as Living Grace. Thomas Torrance puts it this way. “In Jesus the final response of man toward God was taken up, purified through his atoning self-consecration on our behalf, and incorporated into the Word of God as his complete self-communication to mankind, but also as the covenanted way of vicarious response to God which avails for all of us and in which we all may share through the Spirit of Jesus Christ which he freely gives us.” (1) It avails for all of us and we may share in it by believing Jesus and resting in the truth of our oneness with God.
Baxster Kruger explains the difference between earning Christ and entering Christ’s life when he writes, ‘It’s not about us receiving Christ. It’s about us being received into Christ’s life. This is the difference between our inheritance in Christ and notions like ‘Keeping close to Jesus.’ You are in Christ, Christ is in you. He has come in your flesh to bring glory to your life in the body. Christ come in all of us is the Body of Christ. This is the Body of Christ that is the advancing new creation Kingdom of God.
Some teachers write about ‘receiving the presence’ and ‘getting in the presence’. There is a manifest presence. But the most remarkable manifest presence since the cross is you. Christ is incarnated in all who believe. This your foundation and starting point. The incarnated presence is not a wind but a state of being. It’s you in Christ and Christ in you and more. This is the trinity in you.
You are not separated from God unless you think you are. Even then you are not separated because your mind is out of sync with mind and achievement of God for you in Christ. Live in the reality you have been given. Reality really is Christ. Religion is the shadow of the real. It has faint substance.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, p.78.