Just as the Son of God became manifest as the body and persona of Jesus Christ, so the Spirit of Jesus Christ manifests in us collectively as His Body. Just as a human has no being without a body, so Jesus has no being among us unless His Spirit is manifest as the church.
This is the meaning of Christ come in the flesh – the coming which continues Christ on earth and multiplies Christ wherever there are people who believe. This is the essence and core of human life since the cross. It is the cause of our life in the Spirit and there is no Kingdom of God without it. It is essential that we know this so that it becomes our reality. Without this ‘knowing’ there is no experiencing and the notion of the body lacks content and subsists as a ‘body of death.’
‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?’ Rom 7.24 NIV. APOSTOLIC THEOLOGY
I became aware of the incarnation as the core our life before I had read any theology on the topic. The truth of Christ in us bears witness to itself and to its innate validity. The advantage of an encounter with good theological teaching is that the truth of what Holy Spirit has already suggested and seeded into our minds becomes articulated and substantiated by reason and revelation – thanks the Spirit of Truth’s anointing on apostolic theologians and teachers.
Jesus’ healing of physical bodies is undoubtedly what He plans for the whole of society. Simply by agreeing with what Jesus has done we become part of Him.
A brother in Christ came to my house and spent a lot of time in prayer thanking God for the cross. I attended a large Christian Music Day and heard the same kinds of singing – as though the cross was the core. Well it is the foundation. But it’s the door and not the core. The core is the incarnation. We are made one with God and our spirits are joined with God as a result of Christ.
The manifestation of Jesus in us by the Spirit, is the mirror and continuation of the Father’s incarnation Christ. The fullness of the Godhead becomes multiplied in the people of God. This is the genius of Christ our life and the means of the advance of the new creation. But unless we live in this reality, it is not ours. We remain the Body notionally but not in actuality. We need the mind of Christ and the mindset of the trinity and choose to live in this reality. Mindsets are the difference between life and death.
Look at it this way. An heir with a huge fortune lives all his life without ever possessing what is his. Why? He has been persuaded or has persuaded himself that it does not belong to him so he lives from this false assumption. As teachers of God we work to draw people into Jesus’ assumptions so that they can be sons and daughters in spirit and in truth. We do not leave Believers at the mercy of lesser and effete gospels or agree that its ok to be children of a lie.
T. F. TORRENCE
Being the Body of Christ rather than being a ghost of it comes from living out the fullness of the atonement. ‘Scottish theologian T. F. Torrance suggests an approach to atonement beyond the recitation of myriad atonement “theories.”
While it has been common to speak of the atonement as the vicarious death of Christ, Torrance argues that the entirety of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is atoning, lived for our sake and on our behalf.’ (1)
This is undoubtedly so. ‘Substitution’ means that in the Spirit not only the person of Jesus, but the trinity becomes our life. As a result our life as daughters and sons is not an adherence to a list. A son is the manifestation of God. But there is more. Christ in us includes the multiplication of everything Jesus did and is in our persons, families and society. This is how the new creation happens and how our very word, act and project becomes an agent of Kingdom spirit and life.
Once we understand life in the Spirit as the incarnation of God manifesting His life as us – we can also understand how it can be that a moral person may not be a Godly person. It also explains who those in whom God is incarnated are always righteous and moral people.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV. Paul spoke life to his fellow Jews. Many of them ignored his gospel and in doing so they ignored life. Paul later implied that such a choice means remaining in a body of death – in the name of God. Like some today they decided – deep within- to reject any teaching that conflicted with ideas in which they huddled with their identity. They ducked their heads and they plod on, attempting to resurrect the old Adam by rubbing Holy Spirit oil into the old covenant wineskin. But Jesus has already put Adam to death and given us His body that makes us life-giving spirits.
In the King James Version we find, ‘A body thou hast prepared me.’ The mystery of God’s plan revealed is that God aims to do the same with the Body of Christ. We as Believers are His PREPARED BODY. He has re-birthed us as the Containers of God.
‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ Col 2.9 NIV. So it is with we who believe. All who receive Jesus become the recipients and indwelling of the trinity. It is essential that we receive this raw and undiluted fullnessof the Godhead bodily – God in us. Important that we not settle for a Jesus who is the supervisor of religion and an invigorated old covenant re-run of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s not His gospel or the gospel of the kingdom. His life as you and is the Kingdom and all of us are the manifestation of our Father are the sons of God – when we believe.
(1) Kettler, Christian D. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 35). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.