Athanasius wrote, “You cannot put straight in others what is warped in yourself” which indicates that if we would draw people into Christ and His life, we would do well to be worshiping the True Christ in His Real Gospel.
Athanasius spent a good part of his life establishing belief in the Christ of God as opposed to the lesser christ of the Arians. The Christ Arius and his followers proposed was not fully God and thus not capable of reconciling humanity to God with the result that the mindset of those who believed their doctrine resulted in a lesser christ and an inferior Believer.
Athanasius had a great influence on Thomas Torrance and those who studied under him. This group of scholars understand that Grace is Christ and that grace mediated is the incarnation. Such people are salt, life and light as they portray that which is the narrow way that is the light of life – not religion, not miracles, not morality and not new ways of doing church. But Christ our life which is the infinite life who is Jesus expressed as Bill and Jane and Sue and Bob.
A Christ formed from a law impregnated imagination cannot portray the Christ of God. Cannot portray a ‘true Christ’ because the Christ of God is a function of the trinity and not of the law. A law-lens portrays Christ as an abstraction. The Lens of Christ portrays Christ as Christ is.
I had a lecturer once – a bitter, law steeped man, who thought pleasure unholy and inhibition Godly. He could have been cleverer than He was, but His mind was dulled by the culture of the law, the wounds of his life and his life-long baptism in the river of Neo-Platonism and dualism that flowed from the fundamentalism in which he was steeped.
Not every law person is bitter. But none of them overflow with spirit and life. Nor are they overly perceptive and none excel in spiritual discernment. Barth is correct [below] when he suggests that Christ is not only for the ridding of sin. The purpose of grace is to fill us with life without limit. In Christ we share in the infinite life that is the trinity.
NOT A SECOND BLESSING
We need to look for life where it is. Not where it is not. Holy Spirit and the anointing are not an addition to the salvation that is ours in Christ. The anointing adds nothing to the harvest of the cross. Being ‘in the Spirit’ is actually living in the atonement and incarnation, that the cross has accomplished, rather than living in the flesh, in religion or any construct of the law and its works. One does not live well in the Spirit when the umbilicus of the law makes us one with the law and its separation from God.
To live in the Spirit is to live Christ our life.
Jesus is the Vine who is God and who joins us to the fullness of God as the trinity. This is to distinguish between the fruit realised in us as a result of our oneness with God in Christ and the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are the results of Christ our life. Gifts of the Spirit to be exercised properly, must be the result of our new covenant oneness with God if they are not to be a supernatural kind of ‘works.’ Gifts do not make us one with God. The cross makes us one with God and the incarnation is this oneness alive in our being. The Presence is in us and with us whether or not it is manifest.
EFFECT OF CHRIST OUR LIFE
Jeff McSwain observes that, “Karl Barth refuses to codify or commodify the work of the Holy Spirit.. We might say to be “full of the Spirit” for Barth, then, functions as biblical idiom for our operating in the truth of the Spirit’s fullness given to humanity.
“Again, this is a fullness given; it is not inherent in humanity. To be “full of the Spirit” is a biblical phrase essentially wedded to Christology and for us purely derivative and relative in nature (after all, who could claim, aside from the Messiah, to have an unadulterated fullness… on Barth’s view, believers may anticipate continuing to grow in fullness even after the sinful contradiction has been fully removed! Relates Barth: “Even as eternal grace, freed from the whole enshrouding veil of our temporality and corruption, grace will still be the grace of God and not our nature. To that extent, even in the eternal redemption, we shall not be at the goal, and the blessedness of our perfect knowing of God will consist in a being on the way, so that it too will have to be described as theologia viatorum.” (1)
YOU ARE ALIVE
The Grace that is God, is reconciling, healing and life igniting with limitless life. To be filled with God in this respect is to become life itself.
(1) McSwain, Jeff. Simul Sanctification: Barth’s Hidden Vision for Human Transformation (Princeton Theological Monograph Series Book 232) (pp. 71-72). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.