INCARNATION AND RESULTS
“The covenant between God and Israel was not a covenant between God and a holy people, but precisely the reverse. It was a covenant established out of pure grace between God and Israel in its sinful, rebellious and estranged existence. Hence, no matter how rebellious or sinful Israel, was, it could not escape from the covenant love and faithfulness of God. That is the aspect of the covenant that is brought out so poignantly in the book of Hosea. Even if Israel persists in adulterating its relationship with God, he will not divorce Israel, for the bonds of God's steadfast love retain their hold upon Israel and lock it into a relationship with God which will finally triumph over all estrangement and bring about reconciliation and peace.” (1)
THE NEW COVENANT IS NEW
It may be seen that Israel enjoyed belonging with God prior to the cross – of a kind. Yet this relationship is not of the kind that ensues as a result of the incarnation. There had been no incarnation of the kind in which Christ comes in the flesh. The presence of God was in the earth as creation and society but not as a personal presence and not as the envelopment of human-kind in the oneness of being that is the trinity. This came in the Christ of God. In the Messiah God reached out and ceded Godself into human beings and wove human beings into the Family of God.
THE HUB OF HUMAN HISTORY IS THE CROSS
At the cross the oneness, the fellowship, the one for all and all for one of the trinity draws human beings into this communion. Thus holy communion is much more than mourning Christ’s sacrifice of the cross. It’s the sign and celebration of our now union with God. As the bread and the wine become you, so you have become one substance with God. You are a daughter/son of incredible closeness.
[In the] incarnation.. God has drawn so near to man and drawn man so near to himself in Jesus that they are perfectly at one. In Jesus the problematic presence of God to Israel, the distance of his nearness and the nearness of his distance, which so deeply troubled the soul of psalmists and prophets alike, was brought to its resolution. In Jesus, as the angel announced to the Virgin Mary, there was born none other than Emmanuel, 'God with us", that is, the mediator between God and man, who is both God and man in one incarnate Person, in whom and through whom and in the form of whom divine reconciliation is finally accomplished. (2)
Paul says we are reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. ‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation’ 2 Col 5.18-19.
The distrust and animosity that Satan seeded into our souls was extinguished in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus alienated human beings enter a level of union with God that is closer than that enjoyed before the fall. Life in the Spirit is much more than an influence. It is the personal God, the three personed God alive and present in you. Jesus Christ is the life-giving spirit of adoption. He has given us oneness with God and Jesus is our oneness with God. Christ is our life in more ways that one. He is our fellowship with God in fullness, He is the righteousness of God manifest in us and He is the One who make us who we really are as authentic sons and daughters of God.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ.