We can notionally belong to the Body of Christ even though the actuality of our belonging has little content. This is because our ‘belonging’ is more like a marriage certificate without a flesh and blood marriage. There’s more than words in Jesus statement, ‘This is my body given for you.’ The meaning of the Lord’s Table is that we become one substance with Jesus.
There are similarities between the marriage union and oneness with Christ. This is why we cite a state of being and not a proof-text or a legality.
Legalism and fundamentalism can give us a marriage certificate but not a much of marriage – at least not one in which husband and wife are interwoven with each other as two people in one being – a marriage in which they are both one flesh and one in soul and spirit.
DEGREES OF UNION
In my mum’s first marriage she and her husband were soul-mates. She married again following her husband’s death, but they were not soul mates. She had a marriage but not a marriage like the first one. There are degrees of oneness. With Christ our version of the gospel has much to do with the degree of oneness we enjoy with Him and the flow of spirit and life that flows between us.
We are fortunate in that whether we experience it or not, Christ’s oneness with God is our oneness. But this is not ours unless we have possessed it. It’s hard to possess it if you don’t know about it or if you are looking for oneness through the law – which is an oxymoron.
A MARY LIFE
A law-mindset detracts from intimacy with God. It’s more Martha than Mary and more a separation than a one flesh marriage. That is to say fits the definition of belonging to the Body but not the fullness of it.
MORE THAN FORGIVEN
George Ziegler writes, “Christian living or “life in Christ” finds its source and telos in a sanctifying union and not simply a justifying redemption. This union is not simply declaratory or judicial, but onto-relational. Salvation is not a “thing” that we are “given” called “grace” with “benefits.” Rather, we are adopted into the Father-Son relationship of Christ through union with him. “Men and women are savingly reconciled to God by being taken up in and through [union with] Christ to share in the inner relations of God’s own life and love.”
The Spirit unites human beings with Christ’s humanity in such a way that we are adapted for knowledge and communion with God and for fellowship with one another in what is a “humanizing” or “personalizing” activity. (1)
(1) George Ziegler, The Princeton Theological Journal, Volume XIV, No. 2, Fall 2008. Issue 39.