Blake Wright pens the lines, “The story of the Bible is not the story of the covenant of grace; nor is it the story of Israel. The Bible is the story of God’s work in history to sum up all things in Christ. New Covenant Theology strives to keep this one plan of God—centered in Jesus Christ—primary.”
You have direct access to God in Jesus Christ who is in you and with you.
The plan is that Christ becomes you and that Christ becomes us. The plan is that the logos – the Christ of God becomes the fabric of the new creation.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.
KINGDOM OF GOD
Most of the Kingdom of God is outside of church. The new creation is the Christ incarnated and manifest as society and the earth. The result of this plan is that you become an agent of the new creation. The climax of this plan is the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Some of us have a mechanical view of the self because we have made ourselves in the image of the political - economic system. Other’s mechanical self is caused by being raised in the law. We begin becoming our true self when we are born again – when we begin a life in Christ as Christ our life.
MISTAKING THE PARTS FOR THE WHOLE
Should we have been raised in fundamentalism it is likely that we will have a very mechanical view of ourselves, of God and of righteousness. Take for instance, ‘Sin is the transgression of the law’ and ‘the ten commandments are a description of God’s character.’
The first has enclosed us in definitions. ‘The letter’ with its prescriptions and compartmentalised attitudes leads to contradictions and absurdities. For example in some circles it has led to the notion that one can engage in sex without penetration and still be a virgin.
The second has led to a pedantic view of God almost denuded of human (and God) qualities. Not to mention the obsession with personal and usually sexual sin and a convenient blindness to civic and ecological morality.
HEALING AND RESTORATION
Sin is caused by separation from God. The only description of God’s character is Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus that we are united with God and interwoven with God’s being. We are intermingled with the trinity in Jesus. Here we are woven into relationship, mystery and ultra-life that is personal and communal. This is what it means to ‘know God.’
The astute person will see that such knowing is similar to knowing your wife or husband. Not only do we live together but we are united in being. It is this union that both makes ourselves and begets the sons and daughters of God.
Richard Rohr writes, “Really, it’s only God in us that understands the things of God. We must take this very seriously and know how it operates in us, with us, for us, and as us.” Notice the ‘as us part.’ This is the mind of Christ which is the result of the incarnation and the ministry of Holy Spirit. (1)
We can remain captive and stultified all our lives in our pre-conceived ideas. Like a solidified Lot’s Wife we become stranded in arrested development because we have sacralised our past and are unwilling to get into the adventure of our Omega. Rohr observes, “Most things that we call experience are actually just additions or passing stimulation. To make matters worse, we imprison them inside of the experiences we already have; that’s why most people don’t grow very much.” (2).
A major difference between Christians is the new covenant/old covenant divide. We are born again when we claim the new covenant as our own – Christ our life.
Phlegmatism and inertia can become a way of life. David Watson wrote of ‘Clubs of Conformity’ in describing some kinds of Christian institutionalism. Have we grown in the last twenty years or did we just lock onto something and go round and round in circles since we discovered something new like the Holy Spirit?
Holy Spirit and the gifts will fade into dry creeks if we do not root ourselves the oneness with God that is the source of the gifts and all life.
We can make a growth spurt and then become stagnant because the life we think we have in a ‘received identity’ is worth more to us than the life that beckons in following Jesus wherever He leads. But it’s not. It’s killing us. This is why Jesus reminds us that Kingdom life is laying down our life and taking up His. That being born-again means participating with Jesus as the First-born from the dead.
Herbert Marcuse spoke of the one-dimensional man made in the image of his machines. Legalism promotes this mentality as does the subtly embedded legalism of living from religion. The one way of transcending such concepts of nature and being is for Christ to be our life – really our life - as in eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the son of Man. This is Christ come in our flesh in spirit and in truth.
It’s not uncommon for Christian doctors to make good legalists as a result of their mechanical understanding of our being. They give encouragement to those who insist on making religion out of rules, times and places. Certainly our body is mechanical but it is more than the sum of these parts.
We have a tripartite nature that mirrors the trinity which enables us to be interwoven with God in reality, not just in concept or in poetry. It is because we mirror the nature of God that we easily become the habitation of God come in the flesh. The fellowship of the trinity is with us and within us.
Richard Rohr writes, “Tragically, our cultural default setting is for our inner life to mirror our biology, stopping most growth after age seventeen or eighteen, although I am told there is one more brain surge in the early twenties. Thus, anything in the realm of mystery—which happens to be, of course, all mature religion, including the idea of the Trinity—remains static in the form of dogma or doctrine, highly abstract, densely metaphysical, and largely irrelevant.” (3)
But when it’s not a figment of the letter it is not irrelevant. It’s Christ in you expressed as you. Unless we choose to live in this union and this wholeness we and our efforts will become irrelevant and we will fade into torpor rather than expand into rivers of life.
( 1,2,3) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 2327-2338). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 2334-2338). SPCK. Kindle Edition.