WE ARE REAL WHEN OUR REALITY IS CHRIST
God made Himself known to people in the nation of Israel through Grand signs, through the temple liturgy, through prophets and kings and the patterns of Israel’s life. He was present in Israel in a way that was to be far exceeded by the coming of God among us as Jesus Christ and following Pentecost as Jesus Christ come in in. our flesh.
Today the primary source of the self-revelation of Jesus Christ is Christ Himself.
Leanne Payne warns that we can dull Christ’s effect in our lives by attaching to substitutes for Christ. Stand-ins for Christ are not alive with His life. Christ Himself is the source of the spirit and life that ignites our humanity to be authentic sons and daughters of God. Only the God who is Christ has life in Himself. This is why all things dead are no match for His presence.
WITNESS OF ISRAEL TO THE REALITY THAT IS CHRIST
Thomas Torrance observes that “The role of Israel as the servant of the Lord in mediating that revelation inevitably pointed ahead of itself to a fulfilment in the Incarnation.
“When that took place in the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary and Son of God, the whole prehistory of that mediation was gathered up and brought to its consummation in Christ in such a way that while transient, time-conditioned elements fell away, basic, permanent ingredients in God's revelation to Israel were critically and creatively taken up and built into the intelligible framework of God's full and final self-revelation to mankind.
“Incarnate as the Jew from Bethlehem and Nazareth Jesus Christ stood forth, not only as the controlling centre of the mediation of divine revelation in and through Israel, but as himself the personal self-revelation of God to man, the eternal Word of God made flesh once for all within the objective and subjective structures of human existence.” (1)
As a Christian, it is not certain that we know God or have a relationship of any substance with Him on account of religion. As Paul said to Jews, ‘Circumcision that is not circumcision of the heart is no circumcision at all.’ Jesus and Paul did not advocate faith in faith. Jesus said ‘Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent.’ The kind of ‘knowing’ here connotes the ‘knowing’ between a husband and a wife. There are of course degress of knowing. The thief on the cross took what was on offer. We who live out our lives as Believers have the opportunity to live in oneness with Christ because we have been made one with God by Christ. So the practice is to rest in the incarnation that is ours already.
The Son of God was incarnated among us in the context of Israel’s history – a history of people who worshiped the living God, rather than numerous dead ones. Jesus Christ came among us as a Jew and as the Son of God.
Not only this, but following the resurrection, the fullness of Jesus Christ became incarnated in Believers so that the fullness of God was woven into the everyday people in a way that made each person more infilled than John the Baptist and any of the holy men and women of history. Thus, Christ in us really is the hope of glory as we participate in fellowship with God and in the divine nature of God as sons and daughters of God. This is not a routine or a work. It is a rest and a conscious mindset of agreement with who Christ is for us and what He has done for us. We are included in His life in the triune God.
The atonement and incarnation is the oneness and wholeness that is God embracing us and enfolding us in a belonging that is more than just ourselves as by-standers. We are intimate sons and daughters with our Father in heaven and our Father in us.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, p.22,23.A