“We cannot tell how to know a thing before we know it: we cannot separate form and subject matter; epistemology cannot exist in relation to a particular discipline in an isolated way.” (1) This means that Christ cannot be known through the lens of abstractions like religion or the law because He is first and foremost ‘Being.’
The Whole in which salvation and Godliness is the context is the triune God. Never an abstraction such as the law and certainly not some fragment of the knowledge of good and evil. Life is generated and imparted from persons – never from inert words and propositions.
Jesus is the Representation of God. The triune God is Being - three persons, one God. As such God is the archetype of the nature of the universe and the nature of us in our individuality and community. It takes God to form the new creation and He is doing so in the person of Jesus Christ who is our life.
Thus, to know God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent we must know Him as the Being He is. Never as a dilution into something less and never as represented as anything that is not Himself – which is idolatry. Idolatry warps god in our minds, warps us and warps the life we create for ourselves. Legalism is a form of idolatry.
CHRIST IS THE MIRROR
To know ourselves as we are and as we can be is to grasp that which is ours in Christ. This is an inheritance in which we are included in His life and communion with the Holy Family. John reminds us that to believe in Jesus is to have the Holy Family make their home in us. Some people think we have to work ourselves up into a state of virtue in order to become a habitation of God. The Bible tells us oneness with the Holy Family is our starting point.
Athanasius describes the living way of oneness and re-creation. “What else could He possibly do, being God, but renew His Image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know Him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image Himself, our Saviour Jesus Christ?” This image comes by the Spirit of Christ to live in you and become you. ‘Christ our life’ means we are declared holy in His life and are becoming healed, whole and holy transformed in Him.
LIVE AS SPARE PART OR AS THE WHOLE
We can live a holistic life in the whole person of the Christ of God. Or we can live in the law, bits of religion, pieces of the knowledge of good and evil and a moralism that suits ourselves and condemns others. The latter is to live a life of “Increasing disintegration, in which form (structure) and content (meaning) dissociate and drift apart” (2) leaving us with iconic legalisms, minus an inheritance of oneness with God.
(1) Ritchie, Bruce. T. F. Torrance in Recollection and Reappraisal (p. 50). Pickwick Publications. Kindle Edition.