Who we are depends on what has birthed us. Birthed by the law we can be sons and daughters notionally but never in spirit and in truth. If notionality were sufficient Jesus would not have needed to correct the woman at the well when she asked where the Godly should worship.
Instead of specifying Jerusalem, Jesus drew her attention to who was standing before her: The Messiah. Worship that was actually worship, meaning worship in spirit and in truth would be accomplished in Jesus – not in right places. Or in correct days. As He said, ‘In Him is life and that life is the light of all men and women.’
There’s a reason why the man contained in the law lacks spiritual discernment and the woman whose life is Christ has this discernment in spades. Spiritual understanding comes not from the citing of scriptures so much as our agreeing and living in the reality that we and our Father are one. We are one since the cross and Pentecost. This is the new covenant – the truth that Christ is our life and that God is in us as we are in God.
“Before we proceed to examine more carefully what access to God the Father through the Son and in one Spirit means, let us note that by accuracy or precision in knowledge is not meant as some narrow Biblicist way of thinking and speaking about God. Accurate or precise knowledge of God is not gained by stringing together biblical statements but by allowing our thought to be informed and determined by the truth of God to which they direct us.” (1) What is this truth? The truth is that since the cross we and our Father are one.
‘Knowing’ the truth comes from ‘indwelling’ and more. Revelation is the product of union with God. In the law we are in union with ourselves. In Christ we are in union with God. What kind of union is this? This kind: ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. This is the kind of union to which Torrance draws our attention. It’s the union Jesus has with His Father and the union taught by Paul and John.
In this union Christ has come in our flesh. Our being is interwoven with God. This union is the foundation of the Kingdom, the soil in which the gifts grow and the reason for the church Jesus builds without human hands. But why is this so? It is because Kingdom life is Jesus multiplied – not religion calcified, revived or anointed with ‘the gifts.’
Richard Rohr assures us that “The Risen Christ is the standing icon of humanity in its final and full destiny. He is the pledge and guarantee of what God will do with all of our crucifixions. At last, we can meaningfully live with hope. It is no longer an absurd or tragic universe. Our hurts now become the home for our greatest hopes.” The risen Christ in all who believe is you. The risen Christ in those who embrace a personal Jesus is the church Jesus builds out of Himself in us.
(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.