WOVEN INTO GOD AND GOD WOVEN INTO YOU
“It is significant that the New Testament does not use the term regeneration (paliggenesia), as so often modern evangelical theology does, for what goes on in the human heart. It is used only of the great regeneration that took place in and through the Incarnation and of the final transformation of the world when Jesus Christ will come again to judge the quick and the dead and make all things new. That is to say, the Gospel speaks of regeneration as wholly bound up with Jesus Christ himself.” (1) Incarnated in us Jesus Christ is our grace and our life.
THE FRUIT OF HIS VINE
Any familiarity with the development of the Christian Faith in the age of the Church Fathers will reveal that the law was never an issue because the law itself was irrelevant. What was relevant was the fact that Jesus Christ was fully God and that in Him, humanity had been enfolded in the triune God.
Regeneration in the view expressed above has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with the atonement and the trinity incarnated in our being.
Regeneration in the Biblical sense and incarnational reality is distinguished from more common usage, in that this regeneration is not based on moralism or legalism of any kind. It’s based on the Christ incarnated in our being and thus becoming woven into our life to impart from the Spirit that which is realised in our flesh. This is what Paul called ‘Christ our life.’
Torrance continues, “Jesus Christ in his own self-oblation to the Father is our worship and prayer in an acutely personalised form, so that it is only through him and with him and in him that we may draw near to God with the hands of our faith filled with no other offering but that which he has made on our behalf and in our place once and for all.” (2)
YOU HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AND YOU BELONG
This is why it can be said truthfully that Jesus receives and accepts you as you are, not as you should be. Conversely Christ woven into your being is expressing you as He is and not as you are in separation from Him.
Hopefully it is apparent from this that it is not the law and disciplined attempted adherences to the law that effects change for the better in our lives. Where discipline is apt, it is apt because it consists of living from Christ our life instead of rules, programs and moralities that happen to be the Christian flavour of the month. Where there is disciplined effort, it is the effect of Christ our life and never the means of our acceptance with God.
When we come to the place where we understand that our Christ-life is about belonging and not performance, we will live more joyful, grace-filled lives bearing much fruit.
1 Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, p.85
2 Ibid p.86