The worst kind of freedom is to be captured inside our self-made reality - from where we distort each new piece of revelation and refuse to contradict our sense of self - in order to preserve the illusion in which we are living. Paul Tillich wrote, “Man is free, in so far as he has the power of contradicting himself and his essential nature. Man is free even from his freedom; that is, he can surrender his humanity.” He was right about that. We can choose to be less than we are or make a choice to be more than we are. As Jesus said,
‘Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life’ John 12.25.
Truth is a person and also a relationship. We are real when we are in the truth of who we have been made to be. We are in the truth when we are in God. In God we are ‘established’ in life and in our authentic sonship. We are part of the Body because we are part of God.
‘Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen’ Rom 16.25-27 NIV.
What is it that is mysterious and mystical about this gospel? It is that by act of God and by the Spirit, Christ’s life becomes yours and your life is united with the Family of the Trinity.
PART OF AND IN RELATIONSHIP WITH
We belong to the body of Christ when we are part of Christ. This is ‘What Athanasius called a ‘freedom of religious discourse’ on the basis of who God has made us to be in Himself and [attested to] in the Holy Scriptures. This occurs when we pass beyond what they literally say to the truth of who God is - which the scriptures convey - and seek to express that as accurately and precisely as we can.’ (1) We pass beyond words to a state of being. We move from the letter to the Spirit of Sonship.
This is what Paul means when He talks about circumcision of the heart as opposed to a mere cut piece of flesh.
‘Belonging to God’ is a state of being not a bunch of words. This belonging was secured for all by the at-one-ment (the cross). It is the possession of all who have made Christ and His gospel their life and not adopted some gospel of their own. One gospel secures our union with God. Lesser gospels are derivatives that insulate us from God and from our real selves. Other gospels are like driving a wheel barrow when you own a Ferrari.
We cannot be one with God through the law because the law belongs to the knowledge of good and evil and the separation of Adam and also of Moses. As noted above our union with God is ours by ‘being’ not by the letter or by grabbing at a scripture that cites ‘the one loaf. Particularly is this so when we have baked our own loaf – a loaf that denies that Christ has come in our flesh because we have made Him come in the law. Note well that..
‘All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father; and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
KNOWING AND BEING
There is a knowing that is about being and a knowing that is merely propositional. When God speaks of ‘knowing’ your wife He does not means knowing her habits and personality. This is not about ‘recognition.’ “knowing” in this sense means physical and spiritual union – a union of being. It is for this reason that non-gospels and ‘other husbands’ are adulteries.
“Careful examination discloses that the mutual relation of knowing between the Father and the Son.. involves a mutual relation of being between them as well, and not only between the eternal Son and the Father but between the incarnate Son and the Father. This implies that we are given access to the closed circle of divine knowing between the Father and the Son only through cognitive union with Christ - that is only through an interrelation of knowing and being between us and the incarnate Son. Although in our case this union is one of participation through grace and not one of nature.” (2)
By grace we are one with God through faith. By grace we know Father and Holy Spirit in the ‘knowing’ of Jesus and by no other way.
UNION OF BEING
Actual and cognitive union is ours in the new covenant state of being and mindset. This is THE KNOWING that we and our Father are one. This union does not exist in the separationism of the law or anything that is not Christ. What does this mean? It means that if we insist that we belong to the Body of Christ in our own gospel - we are making it up. It means that if Christ is our life as a result of our PARTICIPATION in the new covenant we and our Father are one. As the fall and redemption illustrate only too well, we become what we believe. In the fall and its perpetuation we become slaves and workers. In the new creation gospel of the Kingdom we are sons of God in spirit and in truth.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 57). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.