NEW CREATION HEALING
The religious/fundamentalist version of ‘being saved’ is tied to ‘Has the person done what has been required?’ Here the question, ‘Is Joe Smedley saved?’ is usually based on a limited grace and a belief in a measure of christian entitlement. Because one earned it. But God clearly says. ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 6.23). This means that if we are still into earning our salvation and our union with God we are still in the ‘wages of sin’ and have short-changed ourselves through our religion.
NOT A CONTRACT
There’s a difference between the fundamentalist notion of contract and the apostles doctrine of ‘being and covenant’. The first entails separation and the attempt to undo it through religion. The second is a state of being in which God in Christ has made us one substance with Himself so that we participate in the love-communion of the trinity. The first involves a state of attempted earning and of contract. The second a possession, our inheritance of inclusion and belonging in God.
The new covenant is never something you have bought by right actions. It’s participating in God’s life because He has made Himself one with yours. We need to know that the Lord’s Table is not only about the cross. It’s about the cross of Jesus making us one with God: Atonement, reconciliation and incarnation. The fall is undone. You have a one with God life.
The mystery of mysticism is that it is of the Spirit. But it is not a vapour. It’s Christ come in flesh. The mystics talk of oneness with God. The Church Father’s developed the doctrine of ‘one substance’ regarding God and Jesus Christ. The atonement and the incarnation include us in God, making us one substance with God as daughters and sons. This is the meaning of Christ come in our flesh and the meaning of the Lord’s Table – the celebration of the life we have been given in God’s life. We have been given union and likeness to God as sons and daughters of God (theosis).
Union with God in Christ is not something ‘churchy’ or religious. It’s not just about morals and is much more than ‘sin management.’ It’s the healing of the world. Myk Habets observes, “The whole universe of creaturely existence’ is brought into relationship to the redemption of Christ (the Covenant) and thus is appointed to reflect God’s glory.” (1)
The new creation is universal under the authority of the universal Christ. We have no license to make a thing out of sexual morality and ignore the health of the earth, turning a blind eye to its despoliation due to lack of interest or greed and making absurd statements to the effect that the desire of people to heal and preserve the earth is a cult or a ‘left agenda’.
It’s disturbing that anything that is not mindlessly, exploitative and conservative can be described as ‘Marxism,’ by Christians who bleat about one world government, oblivious to the fact that globalisation (Capitalism) is already a mode of one world government. If we are not to kill each other, then certainly we are not to kill the earth.
DRAWN INTO GOD
The at-one-ment of humanity and God is for individuals and for the world. Habets following Torrance observes, “… the vicarious work of the incarnate Christ doing for us (creation) what we could not do for ourselves, taking what is ours and making it his own in order to give what is his to make our own. We shall see that Torrance uses other words for this in other contexts, such as ‘atoning reconciliation’, and ‘atoning exchange’, but each time the basic idea is the same. Through the incarnation of the Son of God, in his taking to himself of human nature, God himself transfers our creaturely contingent existence into his own experience, so that Jesus Christ secures the origin and end of creation in his own eternal being. For Torrance, such logic is central to theosis – the union of divinity and humanity in the person of the incarnate Word and the participation of men and women in him.” (2)
(1) Habets Myk, Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance, p26.
(2) Ibid p.27