The Pharisees were a sect who specialised in the law – or a sterilised version of it. They were not authorised by God, had no mandate from heaven. They just made themselves up. While grace may embrace us in the Body of Christ today, we are not an expression of Christ’s Kingdom if we have ‘made ourselves up.’ We belong to Christ if we are living in the oneness that He has offered us.
When I was a kid you could go to a side-show and view yourself in a distorted mirror. If we have ‘another gospel’ and a distorted christ that goes with it, we will become a warped version of ourselves because we are gazing into a distorted mirror. The tragedy is we may not know it.
Jesus instructed His disciples that eternal life (life without limit) is found in ‘knowing God’ and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Clearly we are not at liberty to make stuff up or sculpt our own ‘gospel’ which would be ‘no gospel at all’. This would be to distort God, cloud the knowledge of Him and debilitate ourselves as we looked into this kind of a distorted mirror.
The culture of the fall is lying about God.
The truth about God and about us is found in Jesus Christ and made plain to us by Holy Spirit. A summary of the real gospel that has stood the test of time is found in the Nicaean Creed.
The glory of God is who God is and subsequently who we are in Christ. ‘For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ’ 2 Cor 4.6 NIV.
This glory is much more than some effusion of brightness. His glory is who He is in spirit and in truth. The truth of His nature is His life as Himself and His life for us and in us. This truth is stated plainly in John 17.22 ‘The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one’ ESV.
The oneness Jesus has with His Father has become our oneness with Father. This is our glory. It’s the glory that forms you into you. You can be formed by the law and become some kind of a religious clothes horse. Or you can be formed by your oneness with God and be yourself as a son/daughter of God.
The truth about God is found and revealed and known in union with Jesus Christ. But we need to be clear. We do not know God as God is or know God and ourselves just because we have a faith. If you get in the plane going to San Francisco when you meant to go to Los Angeles you will not get to LA just because you believe you will.
Thomas Torrance observes, “St Paul’s teaching.. implies that Jews for their part cannot have access to knowledge of God as he really is in himself except through Christ and the Holy Spirit on the ground of the atoning reconciliation effected in the Cross.” (1) The implication is that none can know God as God is through the law.
UNION WITH GOD
We are talking ‘oneness.’ We will not know God as God actually is, if we are not ‘knowing Him’ in the light of His atonement and incarnation in our being. Jesus asserted that he would be in us and with us for a reason – that we would be baptised into the revelation of WHO HE IS AND WHO WE ARE in union with Him.
ITIMMATION MEETS REALITY IN CHRIST
It is “Only in the light of what has taken place in God’s incarnate self-revelation in Christ in fulfilment of his covenant promises to Israel that distinctive features in the knowledge of God given in the Old Testament itself unfold their full significance. This applies above all to the Word and the Spirit of the living God which are not created intermediaries between God and mankind but are immediate emanations and agencies of his personal presence and power.” (2)
The old testament revelations give context and meaning to the present Christ. More importantly it is our UNSEPARATED UNION WITH THE IMMEDIATE EMANATIONS, AGENCIES OF PERSONAL PRESENCE AND POWER THAT IS THE TRINITY IN US AND WOVEN INTO OUR BEING that is our oneness with God and our Godliness.
REPENT OF PSEUDO GODS AND GOSPELS
The abstraction of the law does not join us to God and it cannot because it is a lifeless entity. Jesus has received us into the circle of God and is the living way of God’s presence in us.
The fullness, efficacy and agency of this perichoresis – this oneness with God immunize us against the seduction of effete idols like the law, religion or churchiolatry.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 69). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.