The I AM of God is God in the essence of Himself. Similarly, the I AM of Jesus Christ is who Jesus is in spirit and in truth in the authenticity of His identity as son of man and Son of God. To know God is to know Christ and to know Christ is also to know who you are and who you are becoming in Him.
IDOLS GROSS AND SUBTLE
From the beginning we have been warned not to make images of God. Throughout history, bizarre images have been made of Christ and since the cross curious distortions have been made of the Christ who is our ‘seeing of the Father.’ Jesus warned us about this using the words ‘false christs’ to denote distortions of Himself and ‘tares’ to denote ‘gospels’ that looked like His Gospel on the surface, but which are in fact an emanation of the evil one.
God sent His Son to so that we would know God as God is. To see Jesus is to see the Father, Jesus said. The author of Hebrews is emphatic when he writes, ‘The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being’ Heb 1.3 NIV.
A ‘false christ’ is a distorted Jesus who comes in the package of a distorted gospel. Any gospel that begins with Christ and ends with the law is a perversion of the truth.
THE WHO OF GOD
The essence of God is not an abstraction such as the law. The essence of God is the three persons one God that we call the trinity. The enterprise of this trinity won us a salvation that ended our Adamic separation and gained us Christ’s union with God as the Son of Man and Son of God. In Christ we enjoy His relationship with Father. Christ is our relationship with Father.
Thomas Torrance puts it this way. “It is only through the Son and in the Spirit that we have access to the Father, and thus to knowledge of him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in himself. Now, however, we must also think of the Holy Trinity as necessary for our understanding of the atonement, for through the Son and in the Spirit God has given himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our thought has pivoted upon the all-important ontological connection between the economic Trinity and the immanent Trinity, expressed by the homoousion which applies not only to the relations of the Son and the Spirit to the Father but to inner relations of the Trinity as a whole.
“This formulates the belief that what God is toward us in his revealing and saving acts as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he is antecedently and eternally in himself, but also that what God is antecedently and eternally in himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He is toward us in his revealing and saving acts in Christ and in the Holy Spirit.
“The point that needs emphasis now is that since God has communicated himself to us in this three-fold way as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity belongs to the inner heart of the Christian message of salvation: perfect communion with God means perfect salvation. In other words, unless our salvation derives from the one ultimate being of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit eternally in himself, it is finally empty of divine validity and saving power.”(1) 124 The truth brough to light here is that our salvation and actual relating to God is found in Christ and not in us. So it’s not about ‘keeping close to Jesus.’ It’s about Christ our life.
T.A. Smail puts it precisely when in his review of The Mediation of Christ (2). “I can only welcome this emphasis most heartily as a much needed correction to the Arminian evangelism to which we have become accustomed, and which for many is the only kind of evangelism of which they can conceive, but which in the end throws us back on ourselves and our own decisions and makes us the final arbiters of our own salvation.” (2) This is the ‘keeping close to Jesus’ gospel of earning the union with God that is already your possession.
THE TREASURE IN YOU
Many gospels that graze like sacred cows in the paddocks of Christianity are faint shadows of the real. Christ’s Gospel, the Gospel of John, Paul, the Church Fathers and that of the Reformers and present day apostolic teachers is better than most of us know. But it is this Gospel of oneness with God that is ours in Christ that Jesus lives for us to know because it is His and it is ours.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ. P.124
(2) T. A. Smail (1985). Scottish Journal of Theology, 38, pp 241-244 doi:10.1017/S0036930600041375