ALIGNED WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS
Parents can do their best at raising a family, yet one of the children can become a delinquent. When I was a youth the word delinquent was used a lot to describe deficient socialisation and bad behavior. Such delinquency was not always seen to be the fault of the parents but the result of youthful poor choices.
Similarly, one is no more saved from degradation and spiritual disease by belonging to the Body of Christ, than one is guaranteed good mental health and an honourable disposition by being raised in a good family. Wholeness, holiness and fullness of life is ours when Christ is our life according to the apostles teaching and the Gospel of Jesus.
DEGREES OF INHERITANCE
Myk Habets, following Torrance observes, “For Torrance, the Fall of humanity resulted in total depravity, in Calvinistic fashion. Total depravity does not entail, according to Torrance’s reading of Reformed theology, a thorough ontological break in humanity’s relation with God, but it does mean the essential relation in which true human nature is grounded has been perverted and turned into its opposite, something which only makes sense in a relational-teleological understanding of the imago Dei.”
Old covenant addicts are not cut off from God. But they have a miser’s inheritance instead of an heir’s inheritance in Christ. Paul tells of the sons of the slave woman and the Free Woman in Galatians. The latter live in their inheritance.
ENJOY HIS GOSPEL
It follows that we can have a relationship with Christ that is full or one that is limited. There is belonging for Believers but some have less belonging than others. Torrance makes an astute observation. The nature of the communities of faith highlighted in American Gospel is a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus and the teaching of the apostles. What is revealed is a disappointingly ugly version of the money changers in the temple. Yet no one would wish to argue that these people do not belong to the Body of Christ.
The fall separated man from God. But not totally. God was with Israel but not in the intimacy that He can be with any Believer since Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ Jesus announced that following His mission any person who believed would be ‘greater than John The Baptist’ – greater in the sense that a Believer would enjoy the communion with God that Jesus enjoyed with His Father.
The enterprise of God has woven us into God in Jesus Christ.
We are not at liberty to create our own gospel, manufacture an aberration of The Way, pervert the Message of Jesus and the apostles and revert to the law because we can. Living the new covenant and ministering new covenant life is important because it is a full Gospel and not a partial gospel. Any partial gospel is a lie and an aberration that causes’ illness in the Believer and disease in the Body of Christ.