A most remarkable feature of the post cross age is the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Christ is not only for us. Jesus is ‘is us.’ As Jesus is one substance with God, so we are one substance with Him and hence with God. We are reminded of this at the Lord’s Table and Jesus’ words. ‘Those who eat me will live because of me’ and more forcefully in the words, ‘Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.’ No life in the Spirit that is.
What do you think eating Jesus is? It’s not living the Christian life. It’s living in His incarnation of you.
The at-one-ment of the cross is much more than our being declared ‘not guilty’ in the righteousness of Jesus. This is all that Jesus has in His relationship with His Father that is now our relationship with Father. Here we are talking new covenant and the truth that we and our Father are one. We are one in the Christ of God and His Gospel of the Kingdom. Not one in ‘any christ’ or ‘any gospel’ that might be constructed by human beings. We are one with God in ‘this gospel of the Kingdom.’
This oneness with God might seem strange to those raised in the ‘contractual’ transaction of legalism, whether in its ‘Christian values’ sense or its overtly legalistic sense. The incarnation means God is in you and God effects your sonship. Not a few find such radical grace offensive because it sets at nought the sense of entitlement they have worked up as ‘a Christian.’ Christ as you and as us is the Kingdom of God. Christ as ‘Christianity’ may not be much of godliness at all.
In ‘this Christ and this gospel’ we are interwoven into God which means being interwoven into the fellowship of the trinity. Thus in this oneness in God we are nurtured as sons/daughters we take on that spirit of togetherness – the One Spirit – that is trinitarian and the essence of real communion.
Here we are in a union of ‘being’ not just a labelling in ‘the letter’. The letter does not deliver because the letter is not life.
‘Proclaiming freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’Isa 61.1 NIV. The law is extraneous to a life in God and irrelevant to the union with God that is now ours – save as the path that humanity must follow until it come to the Reality that is Christ. Not to come to this reality and be immersed in it is to remain separated from God in our minds and imprisoned in the first part of life. We are reborn when we enter the second part that Paul called Christ our life and which Jesus urged us to enter with the words, ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20.
The law has been obliterated in the person of Jesus who is our life and our union with Himself and with God. We are the manifestation of Him by agreeing that He is our life. This and not law-keeping is obedience.
Thomas Torrance emphasises this union of being – the real union that is ours in the new covenant where the alienation of the tree has been undone by the cross (what an irony) and replaced with the living Christ whose oneness with God is our oneness.
Atonement – ‘at-one-ment’, means oneness with God. The result is a healed you and a healed world.
In writing of the Body of Christ Bonhoeffer assures us that “Only in Jesus Christ are we one, only through him are we bound together. To eternity he remains the one Mediator. When God’s Son took on flesh, he truly and bodily took on, out of pure grace, our being, our nature, ourselves. This was the eternal counsel of the triune God. Now we are in him. Where he is, there we are too, in the incarnation, on the Cross, and in his resurrection. We belong to him because we are in him.” (1)
YOU BELONG – IF YOU CHOOSE
We are in Christ and in God as sons. Never in God due to law observance or religious behaviors. Law separates. Adam’s old separation has gone. Christ’s new union in His physical and spiritual body has come. Gregory Boyd emphasises the ontological nature of the Body of Christ over the purely notional and fundamentalist type assertion.
YOU CAN LIVE IN THE LAW OR LIVE IN REALITY
“We have shown that we are loved by the Father with the same love he has for the Son. Yet we are not just recipients of the love of the Trinity - we are participants. When the Father incorporates us into the triune fellowship by placing us in Christ through the power of the Spirit, this doesn't just change how God views us and relates to us. It changes who we really are. We really are in Christ, and, through the Spirit, Christ really is in us!” (2)
The new covenant changes what ‘truth’ is by bringing it back to what it was before the fall. A statement is not true because it is words on paper. It is true when it is expressed in God, which is to say in union with God. We have this union in jars of clay. Christ is our life. In Him we and Father are one. An imagined union with the Body in the law is not what is claimed for it. As Paul says this is a union with the body of death that was extinguished at the cross. You now have a union with God that makes you one with the angels and inhabitants of heaven and one with all the saints that have gone before us as well as one with those who are ministers of the new covenant on earth. What is this Body of Life. It is Christ’s life as your life in every possible way.
(1) Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together . Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.
(2) Gregory A. Boyd. Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God (Kindle Locations 344-347). Kindle Edition. The Vicarious Humanity of Christ. Video.