We are all ‘In Christ’ by creation and redemption. We were dislodged out of Christ by the Fall and brought into Christ and the Holy Family by Christ – saved out of our separation and Adamic alienation into a profound companionship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In our post cross, new covenant state we are sons/daughters in spirit and in truth. ‘Spirit and truth’ means fully and intrinsically sons in name and in essence.
Thomas Torrance observes that “We are concerned with the Christ who is the word, who utters the word and whose word is identical with his saving work.”
It is for this reason that reading the Bible and attempting to apply it may not be the message of the new testament. It’s a variation of legalism. The message is that Jesus is the word that we are reading and that His mission is to be Himself in us. His word is identical with His saving work.
The gospel commission is telling the good news that all are included in the Fellowship of God on Christ’s account as a result of the enterprise and teamwork of the members of the trinity.
The pearl of great price does not jump of itself into our bank vault and the treasure in the field does not dig itself up and put itself into our store room. Neither does the treasure have the power to formulate itself accurately. But we do. Our responsibility is to participate in the Pearl of Great Price and present Christ’s Gospel and not some mongrel revision that turns people who could have been whole into cripples and mendicants.
ONE FOUNDATION/ONE GOSPEL
‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames’ 1 Cor 3.11-15 NIV.
There is a reason why attempts to jolly-up a communal life based on the law with the Spirit and the gifts repeatedly fade out. I fades because such a gospel is not Christ’s Gospel. His Gospel and that of Paul and John is that we have been given oneness with Christ.
AVOID REPEATED LOSS
We have a responsibility to ensure that our pearl is not a piece of gravel and that our treasure is not fool’s gold. There is no ‘range’ of gospels. Just one authentic good news known as the apostles doctrine – cited in company with the Lord’s Table to denote incarnation and the togetherness of the ‘one loaf’. We are the one loaf when Christ is our life.
“En Cristo [in Christ] seems to be Paul’s code word for the gracious, participatory experience of salvation, the path that he so urgently wanted to share with the world. Succinctly put, this identity means humanity has never been separate from God—unless and except by its own negative choice. All of us, without exception, are living inside of a cosmic identity, already in place, that is driving and guiding us forward. We are all en Cristo, willingly or unwillingly, happily or unhappily, consciously or unconsciously.” (1)
Negative choices can be made. They take the form of revisionist gospels – mainly old covenant mindsets claiming to be sound doctrine.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
We are not here to perpetuate the illusion of Satan. We can live with an unrealised inheritance of union with God because we have maintained the separationist mindset of Adam. What we believe determines what we possess. Ministers of the Gospel are mandated to advertise its life-giving merit with accuracy and fullness so that people may believe in the entirety of their inheritance and not get by with a glass half-full or an gospel partly wrong. The degree to which any gospel is not Christ’s gospel is the extent to which it ministers death instead of life.
Thus Paul tells us that life flows from ministering the new covenant and not the old. We are of course free to do this but it is a repetition of Adam’s decision to believe Satan over God. We have the power to be the Body of Christ or this body of death which is the law and its culture.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.