The remarkable thing about our oneness with God is that we are given a oneness similar to that enjoyed by the Holy Trinity who are distinct persons but one God. The difference is, that this is God and we are not. Yet we are daughters and sons and our relationship to God is formed in the perichoretic relationship that the trinity enjoy as themselves. They are part of each other without losing their distinctness as persons. Similarly, we are one with God, part of God as sons, yet fully ourselves by being ‘hidden in Christ’ to grow into our own glory.
Athanasius did much to explain our oneness with God and our enjoyment of a real-time fellowship with God in the Communion that is God.
Oneness with God is what makes us ourselves as sons and daughters in the spirit of adoption. We are enfolded in the trinity not to be suffocated but to be ignited with the presence of God and to become our true selves.
“For Athanasius, the Father begets his divine Son and so he possesses the Holy Spirit in accord with his divine nature as the Father’s Son. The Son, in turn, gives all that he has received to the divine Holy Spirit. This divine interrelationship constitutes the unity of the divine Triad and becomes, within the economy of salvation, the source and goal of the Christian life.
SPIRIT OF INCLUSION
“Jesus, as the incarnate, Spirit-filled Son, bequeaths to Christians his Holy Spirit, who unites them to him; in being united to Jesus, the Son, they are united to his Father as his adopted, Spirit-filled children. Christians are “made sons through him [the Son] by adoption and grace, as partaking of his Spirit.”
MINISTRY OF BELONGING
“The divine Triad, then, for Athanasius, is of primary soteriological* significance, because the whole point of the Father sending his Son into the world and of the Son pouring out his Holy Spirit upon the world is to ensure that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each in their respective manners in accordance with their personal identity, can embrace believers within their very own divine communion of life and love. (1)
Our life in the world can be a life in God – a life that is not so pious that it is no earthly use but a life that is fruitful because in Christ we become truly ourselves, we do what we are meant to do and not what others would have us do. We have entered the spirit of sonship where we grow in our own identity and the church as the Body of Christ becomes who it is because it is incarnated with Christ’s Person.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ EPH 1.10 NLT.
We were made one in Christ at the cross. This is the atonement. The reality of this oneness becomes ours as we live in the incarnation. He is bringing all things together in Himself.
*The branch of theology dealing with the nature and means of salvation.
(1) Thomas G. Weinandy, Daniel A. Keating - Athanasius and His Legacy: Trinitarian-Incarnational Soteriology and Its Reception (Mapping the Tradition) Paperback – November 1, 2017