Paul spoke of the righteousness of God in Christ. He never preached that sin does not matter. Paul preached that the cause of sin had been undone in Christ – separation from God. Atonement means at-one-ment. It is the finished work of God reconciling ourselves to Himself in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote of this post cross oneness with the words,
OUR IN-CHRIST LIFE
‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly’ Gal 2.20.21 It’s a wonderful thing for Christ to ‘live us’. It’s an unfortunate thing to live from a ‘gospel’ that implies Christ died needlessly.
IT’S NOT AMBIGUOUS
Significant numbers of Christians live their lives in a degree of uncertainty. They are certain that they do not measure up and uncertain about their acceptance with God. Some have no joyful expectation of eternal life because their ‘Christian life’ is dependent on their own efforts. Even their relationship with Jesus is a project that they must work at and feel they do poorly at.
Established on a treadmill of becoming worthy of Jesus, they live in austerity when they could be living in the abundance of Christ their life.
INCLUDE IN CHRIST
The fact is, ‘We all belong.’ The truth is that some belong much better than others. Why? Because Christ is their life which is to say they live in what theologians call the vicarious humanity of Christ.
Of course, we do have agency in our relationship with Jesus but not the kind many have onerously adopted. Jesus has taken responsibility for our relationship with Himself, so much so that His relationship with God is our relationship. He is, so to speak, every man and every woman. This is the vicarious humanity of Jesus. We participate in this life by agreeing with Jesus that He is our life and that we belong.
NOT SIN MANAGEMENT
It’s an advantage to know that we are flawed human beings. But it is unbelief to live from this position or make an obsession out of sin-management and overcoming. This is not the crux of our God-Fellowship. Jesus is. It’s Jesus and our inclusion in His person and His fellowship in the trinity. You are included and you belong. Jesus received you into His life as you are. Not as you should be. Jesus is our surety and our representative.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
From Paul’s day to this, people have become uneasy about the radical nature of grace. Grace is never cheap. It is expensive because it cost the life of Jesus so that you CAN POSSESS HIS LIFE. But we don’t possess this treasure if we leave it in the ground because we would sooner believe in self-effort and the law than Christ incarnated in our being.
Unfortunately, thousands of Christians have been brainwashed into a hybrid grace that is partially earned. If it is partially earned it is actually all earned and we have lost our joy and much of our ability to be fully human and fully alive. Pious people are irritating and religions people are never alive with spirit and life.
The Kingdom is not primarily about morality. It’s about Jesus as the Living Way. Public figure Christians who berate sinners for sexual sin do not represent the way of Jesus. Jesus offers Himself as the Solution. He does not berate. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He offers Himself as forgiveness and wholeness of life.
The Kingdom of God is about God’s life manifesting as your life. It is Christ as you that makes you moral – but more than this. He makes us human and even more than this. His life as our life grows us into sons/daughters of God: Incarnation.
FELLOWSHIP OF HEAVEN
The atonement of the cross is not just about forgiveness. It’s about drawing you into the life of God. Not just into a state of spirit-filled gifts either. Although that can be a component.
Jesus has drawn us into genuine fellowship with every member of the trinity. Don’t be side-tracked by ‘oneness’ theology that makes God some kind of an abstraction or blob and captures people in sub-Christian ideas. The three-personed God is ultra-personal which is why God must never be defined as the law. God must be but known in Jesus Christ who is the one we are becoming and the Door into fellowship with fullness in God – THE TRINITY.
Proper ‘oneness’ theology is the truth that you and Father are one in Jesus Christ. In Jesus you have entered the fellowship of the trinity and the trinity has entered you. How good is that!
You can take a train trip from Narromine to Sydney in first class or in the goods van with assorted pigs and turkeys. Similarly you can live from Christ’s Gospel or dilapidated distortions of it.
SPIRIT AND LIFE
Our life in God is infinitely more than sin, law and behavior management. It’s about belonging. And knowing that we belong. Father’s passion is for us to accurately know and experience the nature of the fellowship He has provided and which is already ours: The inheritance of the Free Woman as Paul calls this in Galatians.
This means we must seriously question any assertion that it is ok to have one’s own ‘christ’ or one’s proprietary gospel. There’s only one way and in this case we can rejoice that it is His Way and not some cunningly devised fable.
COMMUNION WITH GOD
Baxster Kruger writes, “Reconciliation is not about Jesus suffering punishment so that the invisible, faceless and nameless god up there somewhere can forgive us. It is about the Father’s forgiveness in action, entering into our estrangement and its hell, and penetrating the fundamental problem of sin.
As James Torrance would say, “The Father does not have to be conditioned into being gracious.” There is no sense in which He needs coercing to forgive. Forgiveness is first, overflowing out of the way the Father, Son and Spirit love one another. With this forgiveness rises passion for it to be known and received.
Reconciliation began when the Father saw that His children could not see His heart, and when the Son realized that we could not receive his Father’s love, and when the Spirit saw the joy of fellowship with the Father vanish from our lives. Reconciliation is about the Father sending His own Son into our darkness.” (1)
You are reconciled and you are one with God. Enjoy.
(1) Kruger, C. Baxter. Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness (Kindle Locations 767-774). Perichoresis, Inc. Kindle Edition.