Athanasius would have none of us living in gospel aberrations just because they happened to be ‘our perspective’. He refused to accept the common orthodoxy that ‘there was a time when the Son was not.’ He lived from the Theology of Jesus and the Apostle’s Doctrine, which held that the Christ always was and is and has always been fully God – as the writer of Hebrews affirms: ‘In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.’
Athanasius knew that genuine revelation is the exposure of that which has always been true, while there is another kind of ‘revelation’ that come to the Body of Christ as a disease. This is in the tradition of the father of lies.
INFUSED WITH LIGHT
Someone has written, “Athanasius remains one of my favourite theologians to this day, partly because of his passion, partly because of his simplicity, but mostly because of the way his words are filled with the unmistakable living Word.’’ He was a passionate expositor of the incarnation.
So here we have the ‘living word,’ not notionally but in spirit and in truth. This is the spirit and life Jesus spoke with. Some writers and speakers are like this. They radiate the living word. Others not so much. Not because their words are misinformed. But because their being is situated in separation from God, on account of their containment in the law and old covenant.
PURE IN HEART
Seeing and knowing God in spirit and in truth, comprehending the meaning of His life and His gospel depends not only on a keen mind with high comprehensions skills. It depends on purity of heart. Such purity is not about morality. Rather it’s about loyalty and an undiluted and un-rationalized (1) commitment to follow Jesus.
NO SUBTLE IDOL
Jesus saw God. He knew His Father as He was and revealed Him to us in spirit and in truth. Jesus was pure in heart because His passion and commitment was to His Father alone. There was no dual loyalties with Him. No ‘other husband.’ No institutional network to which he gave obeisance. He and Father were one. By living in Jesus and inviting Jesus to be our life we participate in this purity of heart and this loyalty that opens a door to perceive the truth of God unpolluted and un-disfigured. It covers us in spirit and life and empowers us to be imparters of this spirit and life to others as apostolic teachers.
An absolute commitment to Jesus makes us participants not only in the thoughts of God. It gives us an encounter with universal truth. If we are among those whose commitment to Jesus as our one husband is absolute, we will fellowship in this truth. If we have other husbands we will not. A fog of confusion will dull our ministry. Spirit and life flow from union with God. Never from the separation of the law.
J Baxter Kruger writes, “In Athanasius, one is aware of a presence, a weighty presence that has its own inherent rationality and beauty. For Athanasius, there is thus an unstated rule for true theological thinking, a rule which demands respect and indeed complete obedience. We are certainly free to ignore it. We are free to invent our own theology, free to utilize whatever logic we may think is important. But not if we wish to know the truth.” (2) Could it be that this is why some never see the truth?
IN A BUBBLE
Some do invent their own theology. They are embedded in it. They cannot see the truth even though they encounter it often. Contained in their own illusion, they are free to utilise their own logic and rationalisations to sustain a view and an identity that to them is more important than an identity that is exclusively in Christ. But this identity is not the truth. As a result they are not alive. They are not free. And they certainly cannot see. Children of the slave woman they remain in slavery with their children.
‘The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children’ Gal 4.24-, 25.
(1) Un-rationalized in that one has not adopted the fiction that loyalty to one’s church is loyalty to Jesus.
(2) Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam (Kindle Locations 49-51). Perichoresis Press. Kindle Edition.