Christ did not give us a religion that is distinct from Himself. He gave us Himself to be His life as ours. Thus, to be a son of God is to be in God because we are one with Christ. ‘In God’ means in communion with the triune God. Jesus does not come among us to help us ‘do Christianity’. He is with us and in us in order that we may be the manifestation of Himself. Grace is a person and a life.
Grace is incarnation.
EYES THAT SEE
If we are in any way astute, we will come to the conclusion at some stage of our life that there is no substance in legalisms while there is infinite wholeness and solidity in Christ our life. You will see a different self with Christ as your life rather than making a life from promoting your religion. Christ our life is not Christianity. It is incarnation.
NOT AN ABSTRACTION
“Torrance concludes that ‘the grace of God given to us in Christ is not some kind of gift that can be detached from Christ, for in his grace it is Christ himself who is given to us. Properly understood grace is Christ, so that to be saved by grace alone is to be saved by Christ alone’. This is how Torrance understands the Reformers’ use of sola gratia – grace alone implies Christ alone.” (1)
We are not saved by our success in appropriating Christ’s grace. We participate in His life because He is our grace. Here we come to Baxter Kruger’s assertion that our life in God is not about our efforts in receiving Christ but about our agreeing with Him that we HAVE BEEN RECEIVED INTO HIS LIFE and participate in it, in Him.
When we hear Christians talking about ‘Keeping close to Jesus’ we have encountered the false grace that consists of making your own grace. Much religion has been made out of, ‘earning Christ’ and gaining intimacy with Jesus by self-effort and victories over sin. This is putting the disease before the cure who is Christ Himself in us.
We have been graced into Christ by Christ who is our grace.
We do ourselves a good turn when we think of our status in God as a state of being rather than a citing of positions and ticking of boxes. Because there is no life in ‘the letter’ but there is in the resurrected Christ in us as part of our being. Thus, “According to Torrance, forgiveness is not just a word of pardon, but a word translated into our existence by crucifixion and resurrection, by judgement and re-creation; it means the sinner is now given a right standing before God and is holy – justified. The believer is even now holy in Christ.” (2)
Progress in righteousness is less a serial accomplishment and more a diving deeper into the depths of the River of Life who is the person of Christ with His trinitarian life gifted to us. There is no limit to the depth of spirit and life that is ours in union with the triune God. This is why seeking our salvation with fear and trembling is not some work of the law but a conscious intention to participate in the fullness of life that is already ours in Christ our life.
(1) Habets Myk, Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance. P.115