Many Christians participate in the Lord’s Table. Some are aware of the depth of meaning in this sacrament and others are not. The latter see it as a commemoration of the cross and the former see it as what is. The celebration of Christ’s life for ours. The Lord’s Table is a reminder and a celebration of being; of our one substance with Christ; of our being sons in spirit and in truth.
Jesus did not mean for us to celebrate forever His death. His purpose for us is to celebrate and live in His life for us and as us. We eat the bread and the bread becomes us. With Christ as our life, Christ becomes us and we become our best selves.
THE TRUTH IS AMAZING
Jesus said, ‘Those who eat me will live because of me.’ He was even more emphatic when he said that unless ‘we eat his flesh and drink His blood we have no life in us.’ The life referred to here is the spirit and life that is ours in being joined to God in Jesus. This is the living way of being sons with content; of being sons in spirit and in truth; sons in being rather than sons by legalism, by assertion or by proof text. We are talking the spirit of sonship as a state of being.
Myk Habets commenting on Torrance, summarises expertly what oneness with Christ means. “As the true Man and the last Adam, Christ represents the archē and telos of human existence, the one in whose image all humanity has been created and into whose likeness all humanity is destined to be transformed from glory to glory.
Through the Incarnation the Son becomes human without ceasing to be divine, to unite humanity and divinity together and effect a ‘deification’ of human nature, mediated to men and women who are said to be ‘in Christ’ by the work of the Holy Spirit. By means of a ‘wonderful exchange’ Christ takes what is ours and gives us what is his. For Torrance, this is the heart of atonement.” (1)
The law separates people from God. The Son makes us one with God.
SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH
This ‘deification’ of human nature does not mean that we become deities. But it does mean that we become sons of God in actuality rather than in figure or in theory. We are talking a very high order of being, which is why some of us need to give up the self-deprecating ‘I am nothing’ talk and enter with humility the state of being that is ours when Christ is our life.
Law based theologies can talk of being sons of God while denying the possibility in actuality. You cannot be a son of God in spirit and truth from within the law. We can talk about being the Body of Christ without possessing the substance.
The Christ incarnated into Jewish society has been incarnated into each of us so that we become an expression of Him and as sons, manifestation of the trinity. This life in the Spirit which becomes Christ manifest in our flesh. It is our possession by agreeing and believing. Not ours in a separated mindset. You are what you believe.
If we have been side-tracked by aberrant theologies that reintroduce the law and by doings so all but extinguish life in the Spirit, we do well to understand theosis, the incarnation of Christ in us, and be done with false dichotomies that attempt to make an issue of the difference between justification and sanctification. This is because Christ is both. By agreeing with God that we are adopted into His life as a state of being, we enjoy Christ’s forgiveness and His transformation as a living way of being ourselves. This is life in the Spirit that manifests as sonship in the flesh.
(1) Myk Habets in the preface to ‘Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance.