Being part of the Body of Christ is more than a legality. Viewed as a legalism it is a faint shadow of the Real. This is because membership in the Body of Christ is about being. It’s not an artefact of the letter which is a province of the knowledge of good and evil with its definitions and positions. Reality and wholeness derives its nature from ‘being.’ Being is what the trinity is and this being is what we have been woven into in Christ.
We need to be clear. Being part of the Body of Christ does not justify adherence to non-gospels, half-truths and false christs.
Myk Habets in his study of Torrance uses a quote that lists Calvin’s denotation of what union with Christ means for us. We find the words, “Engrafting, communion, fellowship, in the Spirit, mysterious/incomprehensible, one flesh/marriage, spiritual union, mystical union, growing together/becoming one, union with God, adoption, regeneration, and partakers of Christ.” (1)
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this surpasses legalistic conceptions of belonging to the Body of Christ – the former being of the law might be likened to a separated couple who are technically married compared to a happily married couple who are one in spirit, soul and body.
There’s a reason why the church is called the Bride and the Christ is the Bridegroom. It’s about being one flesh. It’s oneness with Christ which brings with it union with the fullness of God.
It's not difficult to see why one can live a legalistic life and be no better than those who do not know Christ. Legalism neither joins us to God or makes us whole.*
Godliness is ours because Christ becomes us. This is Christ come in our flesh. That one is Godly because one opposes abortion, goes to church or keeps a Sabbath is laughable when compared to the fulsome, holistic righteousness that is ours when Christ comes in our flesh to be our life and our righteousness.
Christ in you is more than the rejection of the bad and the acquisition of the good. Christ in us is the infinite, undiluted life that is the fullness of the trinitarian God expressed as you.
* The good person who lives to be virtuous but who does not know Christ may have the advantage of an unimpeded access to Christ since she is not insulated or suffocated by layers of religion. This is not to say that there is no need for fullness of life in Christ. It just means that bad religion is worse than no religion.
(1) Habets Myk, Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance