RELIGION IS NOT GODLINESS
If we have been schooled in the law we will be accustomed to think that the life of God is found in scriptures, written statements and doctrinal positions, in other words in our accumulated legalised renditions of Christian Information.
But this is neither life or Godliness.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. This is the day we are born again and it is on this day that we graduate from notional sons of God to sons of God in spirit and in truth.
SOURCE OF LIFE
The life of God is found in union with God. We may not live in the actuality of belonging to the Body of Christ just because we read a scripture about ‘the one loaf.’ Not any more than a person who has never lived with His wife is married to her just because he has a marriage certificate.
DEGREES OF BELONGING
Since the cross all human beings belong in the fellowship of God but not all of us participate in this union. Some ignore it. Others put their toes in the river of life. Others subject themselves to a ‘god-life’ that is scarcely life at all.
Yet all belong. But some have more belonging than others. Others have less. Why? Because the wise choose to live in the fullness of the undiluted gospel of the kingdom.
INCLUDED BY LOVE
God is love. There is a union and communion within the trinitarian life of God that has reached out to us through the cross and the atonement to draw us into the joy of living that God has in Godself. Union, communion, belonging and unique agency is the nature of the trinitarian life that is God. It is this life that has reached out to us and graced us into oneness. Christ’s harvest is making all things one in His at-one-ment and person.
TRUTH IS NOT WORDS
We are in a state of being with God. This is the life into which we have been drawn by the enterprise of the trinity. Thus we need to root ourselves in the truth declared by J Baxster Kruger when he writes, ‘It’s less about us receiving Christ and more about us living in the life into which He has already received us.’
NOT LAW BUT LOVE
Thomas Torrance observes that, “The concepts of sonship and fatherhood are brought together to express the unique inseparable relation between Jesus Christ and God the Father. It is upon that inner relation of Love in God that the people of God in their new covenant manifestation as the Body of Christ are grounded and in it that they are granted to share through the Communion of the Spirit of the Father and of the Son.” (1)
WHERE ONENESS ORIGINATES
We are not one with God because we have kept some law. We are one with God because in Christ we have been made alive, which is to say, alive in God’s fellowship and the interwoveness of ourselves with His Being.
It does not take too much imagination to see that perichoresis – the relationship that exists between the members of the trinity - a relationship where we are part of another, yet fully ourselves is the archetype of marriage, family, church and society.
THE NEW NORMAL
The fact that in Christ this living relationship indwells us to become us encourages us to rest in this living way rather than beating ourselves up attempting to live in the externalities of moralism, idealism and the law.
Watchman Nee’s ‘normal Christian life’ is not the living out of Christianity. ‘Normal’ is Christ as you and Christ as us.
To be a minister of the new covenant is to minister this truth, to explain it, extol it and present it as the new and living way in in which we are made one with the being and fellowship of God. With the non-believer our mandate is to welcome her in to the union with God that is already hers. With the Believer stagnating in run of the mill christianity the aim is deliver them from the captivity of trying to undo their imagined separation by self-effort and draw them into the union with God that is already their inheritance.
‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me. To preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour.’ Isa 61.1,2 NIV.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 56). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.