RECONCILED TO ONENESS
‘God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation’ 2 Cor 5.19 NIV.
Reconciliation is the substance of the Kingdom Jesus began. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Neither is there any separation. The truth of Christ our life is that we have been made one with God because Christ has drawn us into His life. The new creation is the fruit of oneness with God.
We can if we choose to make the Bible say what we want it to say should we have no regard to the literary context and worse have scant regard to the context of who God is and His action on our behalf. It’s not difficult through ‘cherry-picking’ to make stuff up. We often use the word ‘exegesis’ when our topic is establishing the authentic meaning of a passage of scripture. Exegesis happens when a person interprets a text-based on what it actually means - as opposed to reading into it what is not there.
MAKING SENSE OF WISDOM
Thomas Torrance offers a useful perspective by way of interpreting parts in the whole, rather than imposing meanings that are incongruous or tendentious suppositions that support a partisan doctrine. He writes, “I referred to the problem that results from the analytical tradition of thought when dichotomous ways of thinking arise which disrupt and distort the very things we seek to understand and explain in any field of human inquiry.
“We isolate things from the matrix of natural relations to which they belong, abstracting their external pattern from the ground in which it is embedded and tearing their phenomenal surface from the objective frame which holds it together, thereby disintegrating them in the very way we handle them..
“I pointed out the damaging effects of these ways of thinking upon our understanding of Christ and his Gospel. They lead to a detachment of Christ from the context of God's covenant relations with his chosen people, Israel, to a detachment of Christ from God, and then subsequently to a detachment of the Gospel from Christ or a detachment of Christianity from the person and work of Christ.
“Instead of taking that line, I suggested that the proper approach would be one in which we consider things in terms of the actual relations in which they are found, relations which have to do with what they really are. These are being constituting relations or 'onto-relations', as I call them.” If we wanted to give a scriptural meaning to such a method we might call it ‘joining it to the rock from which it is hewn.’
MAKING STUFF UP
We can if we choose, and people have done this, construct a set of doctrines from a serious of texts that have no real relationship with each other. Or we can adopt a master hermeneutic as a frame that is not Christ’s frame but an invention such as Arianism. Or we might adopt a subtle and devious frame that began its life in a school of philosophy or one that has its origin in an imagined divine inspiration. Such schema’s can appear superficially as Christian when in fact the worst of them substitute the real Gospel with ‘another gospel.’
THE CAPTIVES NOT SET FREE
They reverse the achievements of the cross, re-instate Adam’s culture of sin and death and maintain us in the prison of the knowledge of good and evil and it’s distorted godliness and suffocation of sonship.
GOSPEL OF RECONCILIATION
The over-arching schema is that in Jesus Christ, God has made the two one. Separation has been undone and human being have been made one with God via atonement and incarnation. Humans have been joined to God in Christ and the process of drawing all things to Himself began with resurrection.
Leanne Payne observes that, “The greater peril today, however, lies in the Christian’s loss of his own superior truth system, both intellectual and symbolic. With this truth he is to evaluate the systems and therapies of the day. If he is to move in God’s power and authority, the servant of the Lord must know that even the best wisdom of the day is insufficient. It cannot fully grasp the mystery of the human spirit, soul, and body. Looking to God and listening to Him is essential.” (1)
Any teaching that posits separation and division as the basic reality is grossly misguided for ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace’ Ephesians 2:14-15.
(1) Payne, Leanne. The Healing Presence (p. 45). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.