‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.
It’s not just virtuous to live from the Gospel of Christ and the apostles. It’s life-giving. It’s spirit and life. Our new covenant oneness with God is the prize of the post cross age. God shares God’s being with His daughters and sons. It’s era of the tree of death brought to a halt by the cross and the beginning of the Kingdom of God resulting from our oneness with God – a oneness achieved entirely by the enterprise of God for us.
I have spent most of my life like many others not making much of the trinity and as a result not appreciating its foundational nature for an understanding of the being of God and the nature of our salvation – and more to the point of our oneness with God and what it means to be Godly.
UNION WITH GOD AND PERICHORESIS
Oneness with God has nothing to do with the law as some suppose. It has everything to do with the nature of God expressed as trinity.
“Prior to Karl Barth the doctrine of the Trinity had played a minor role in modern Protestant theology. The tone was set in the eighteenth century by Immanuel Kant, who stated that trinitarian doctrine offered “absolutely nothing worthwhile” for practical life.” (1) He was wrong about that, given that it is the nature of the trinity and its implication for the being of humanity that engenders cohesiveness and genuine community in place of rampant individualism and fragmentation. The trinity and its communion in the mode of perichoresis gives meaning to Christ’s words, ‘May they be one as we are one.’
The meaning of Godliness is defined by the trinity because the trinity is the womb of our birth as humans and the perichoresis that defines God’s being is the perichoresis that was ours before the fall and which has become ours again in Christ. The simplicity of this is that we are not Godly according to doing and keeping laws. We are not Godly in terms of the knowledge of good and evil – how could we be in this separation – But we are Godly when God is us. We are talking incarnation and oneness with God.
Barth asserted that “The doctrine of the Trinity is what basically distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian, and therefore what already distinguishes the Christian concept of revelation as Christian, in contrast to all other possible doctrines of God or concepts of revelation.” (2)
It is also descriptive of our union with God as a result of the cross.
GLORY OF GOD IS ONENESS
This is to say that the genuine gospel as opposed to ‘other gospels’ and law based distortions of Christ’s gospel are not about ‘doing’ but about being. At the fall our being was fractured from separation from God. By the cross and through the at-one-ment God has won back our union with God in the person of Christ.
The gospel of the Kingdom has nothing to do with the law. It’s about a new creation that is us in union with God. Of course it’s not divorced from righteousness because this new and living way is the righteousness of God flowing from our sonship and oneness with God.
We may talk of the Body of Christ and claim belonging in it. Yet remain in a notional relationship rather than a substantive union whose archetype is the trinity.
“The doctrine of the Trinity is what basically distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian, and therefore what already distinguishes the Christian concept of revelation as Christian, in contrast to all other possible doctrines of God or concepts of revelation.”
A law subverted gospel neutralises the ‘being’ that is ours in God, replacing this living union with a construct. This is why Paul calls this kind of ‘body’ the body of death. It’s not alive because its in Moses and Adam.
Legalistic renditions of the gospel are futile because they have nothing to do with undoing of Adam and the healing of the facture between God’s being and the being of His daughters and sons in Christ. This brings a more cogent meaning to the words, ‘The two are made one’ in Christ.
‘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. The day we realize this is the day that we are reborn into the second part of life – a lived union with God: The gift of infinite life.
(1) Hunsinger, George. Evangelical, Catholic, and Reformed (p. 1). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition. (2)Ibid. (p. 2). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.