The law is innately condemning. It separates people into in and out. Because of the cross and the atonement all are in potentially ‘in.’ Yet we are not forced to receive this life in God. Jesus extends the invitation, ‘Come to Me. Come and enjoy the inclusion I have made for you with Myself.’
Our life in Christ is much more than forgiveness of sins. We get more than a judicial acquittal. We get Christ’s life in place of our life. The gift of God is eternal life because the gift of God is Christ’s life as our life.
We can reject radical grace when it is presented. We can side-line the mystery of God incarnated in us. But rejecting such truth is not a sign of our intelligence. I just means that our ego is bigger than our mind.
Our life in God is the life of sons and daughters because Christ is our life. We are sons of God in the Son of God. In Christ we have a new state of being that is much more than a new assortment of behaviors and empowered regulations. We don’t get law at all. We are gifted an entirely new state of being called ‘sons of God’.
The law is a form of the knowledge of good and evil which means we may be in its thrall whether or not we are specifically commandment keepers. We are in the law if we are living from religion and churchianity.
Christ our life is simple and comprehensive. It’s the only genuine whole person approach.
The Bible tells us that the law is a corridor that leads to Christ. It is an inversion of this truth that would have us believe that the law is a hallway that leads to itself. The problem of a law-distorted gospel is that it provides no way of changing our basic nature of alienation, distrust and hostility to God. Why? The law deals with externalities and conformities but cannot change the core of our being. Jesus deals with our being, putting us to death in Himself and raising us to His life in Himself. Unless we go for what is ours – Christ our life, we are left with the shambles that is us our life.
Only Jesus can change us from within, which is why He has to be our life and we must lay down our lives and take up His. Even in this, we are one with Christ in His laying down His life in order than we may become the sons and daughters of God.
Thomas Torrance writes, “
Perhaps the most fundamental truth which we have to learn in the Christian Church, or rather relearn since we have suppressed it, is that the Incarnation was the coming of God to save us in the heart of our fallen and depraved humanity, where humanity is at its wickedest in its enmity and violence against the reconciling love of God.” This is to say that God in Christ effected our salvation at the low point of civilisation – the murder of the Life-Giver.
The Incarnation is to be understood as the coming of God to take upon himself our fallen human nature, our actual human existence laden with sin and guilt, our humanity diseased in mind and soul in its estrangement or alienation from the Creator. This is a doctrine found everywhere in the early Church in the first five centuries, expressed again and again in the terms that the whole man had to be assumed by Christ if the whole man was to be saved.”
Thus, when Leanne Payne talks of the incarnation as the Living Presence in our being, she is giving dimension to the reality that Christ is our life as a state of being that imbues us with His person and joins us to the spirit and life of God. “
St Paul .. taught that in the very act of God's incarnational assumption of our fallen human nature he cleansed and sanctified it in Jesus Christ… In the biblical and early patristic tradition, however .. the Incarnation and the atonement are internally linked, for atoning expiation and propitiation are worked out in the ontological depths of human being and existence into which the Son of God penetrated as the Son of Mary.”
Christ is our life because Christ is more than the forgiveness of sins. He is the living way of our becoming a new being – the growing to maturity of the sons and daughters of God. Our path from glory to glory is a similar glory to the glory of God – the maturation of who we are as persons created and re0created by God to fill Him with the joy of our company.