A major effect of a legalised Christian faith is that it leaves us in the separation of Adam and His Bent Tree. Paul called this situation being ‘sons of the slave woman’ without our inheritance. In another place he describes it as belonging to the ‘this body of death.’ He’s referring to life in the separation of Adam when we have the privilege of living in Jesus where the ‘two are made one.’
We can avoid sitting in the branches of Adam’s tree, debating holiness when we can be holiness because God in the incarnation is us.
The law was a rendering of salvation within the system and culture of the knowledge of good and evil – a crippled state of fellowship with God. Make no mistake, the mindset of the law separates us from God, just as it alienated Adam and all who followed him from interwoveness with God.
IT ALREADY IS
Your oneness with God is an accomplished fact. It does not come from temples with rooms, from commandments written on rocks or the adoption of any kind of externality. In Christ you get oneness of being with God.
Father’s command is to believe His Son. Jesus’ testimony is that He is our life.
Any real gospel of the Kingdom is the undoing of Adam and the believing of Christ in us as the result of the atonement and the living of the incarnation.
In the incarnation we just ‘be.’ Be what? One with God. ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. This is the meaning of the Lord’s Table and the meaning of life. The meaning of life for you and for the world is ‘Christ our life.’
An illness born of a distorted gospel is experienced in the belief that rather than living in the state of being that is Christ our life we try to be to be worthy of Christ.
This subtle form of legalism and perpetuation of the fall, kicks the separation from God bucket further down the road. “The problem with an externalized Gospel is that Jesus Christ does not remain essential for every aspect of our salvation since the person of Christ has been marginalized.” (1) The grim part of this non-gospel is that we are ultimately responsible for earning our own salvation – which is a subtle and debilitating lie.
For many Believers their Christian life consists of the redundant task of earning Christ.
An externalised gospel, meaning a gospel of the letter, does not undo the separation of Adam because it is alien to the oneness that is the trinity and which we have been included. We need to be astute enough to live in our oneness with Jesus as He takes us in Himself into the fellowship with the trinity. Live in Christ’s reality – never the mindset of a distorted gospel.
“If salvation is merely a transaction that puts us “in the black” before God, yet the Christian life lived in fellowship with God remains our duty to uphold, then Jesus is merely a tool God used to save us from sin that is no longer needed for the life we now live in Him.” (2) But God and not a form of Pelagianism is our life.
Intimacy with Christ is a thing of comfort and joy. It makes us alive with satisfaction and spirit. A friend of mine assured me once that we had to earn intimacy with Christ. In her view we gained it through overcoming sin. But such a view is not only anti-gospel. It is self-defeating. It leaves us responsible for gaining that infinite life that eludes us.
AGREE WITH GOD
We do have a responsibility but it is not this. Our responsibility is to agree with Christ that He is our life and to rest and grow in this reality.
NOT AN EFECT OF HUMAN EFFORT
“Calvin and Torrance rightly understand union with Christ as the first and central aspect of the Christian life, but Western theology has made it into a conclusion earned by good works.” (3)
NEW COVENANT MINISTRY
This is to say that as a result of the cross humanity has been made one with God. The mission of the new covenant teacher is to reveal this inheritance to all and encourage Christians, particularly to live in the union with God that is already theirs.
Don’t be among those who say ‘You are a hard man’ and leave your inheritance in the ground, because you choose not to believe that God’s grace is that comprehensive.
You are incarnated with God. Obedience is living in this incarnation instead of some religious externality that is either a substitute for union with God or a bid to achieve it. (1) Morrison, Stephen D.. T. F. Torrance in Plain English (Plain English Series Book 2) (p. 140). Beloved Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.