Ideas don’t hang disembodied in a culture. They enter by way of persons and they leave the same way. Our Gospel can be the Gospel of Jesus the Father and the Spirit or an aberration. Our gospel can be a gospel that is the apostles teaching or a version of the knowledge of good and evil that delivers something and nothing.
Then again our gospel as with the Gospel of Jesus, Paul and John can be a message of life unto life because it is sourced in the hub of life – the trinity and makes its way into the lips of the sons and daughters of God. We can make careers as workers. But we make an apostolic declaration as son and daughters of God. Why? Because we are not in Adam we are in Jesus and as a result in God.
NEVER AN ABSTRACTION
God is Relationship as is seen in the trinity. So are we, as seen in marriage and the family. Just as God is three, humanity is male and female, as the word says, made in the image of God. The hub of the universe is firstly persons and simultaneously persons in relationship - the quality of relationship that springs from togetherness and individuality is love. Genuine love comes from persons and never from the law. If we really love people we will not direct them to the law. We will direct them to Christ.
TRINITY IN YOU
Relationship and love are multiplied in the trinity which is the model and the empowerment for human individuality and community.
Thomas Torrance wrote,
“Our knowing of God engages in a deep circular movement from Unity to Trinity and from Trinity to Unity, since we are unable to speak of the whole Trinity without already speaking of the three particular Persons of the Trinity or to speak of any of the three Persons, without presuming knowledge of the whole Triunity - for God is God only as he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. he cannot be conceived by us truly otherwise (Torrance 1996, 173).” Through using this kind of circular hermeneutic Torrance is able to avoid the heretical extremes of modalism and tri-theism.
We are not humanly able to copy this communion in diversity or simply assume it. It is ours through incarnation. Because God comes into our flesh by the Spirit all that blesses the trinity in being the trinity becomes ours as part of our new covenant living. In the new covenant we do not have a dualistic existence. Christ is our life.
Jesus did not endorse or perpetuate God and this other entity called the law. Jesus is the minister of His life as your life; our life as a manifestation of the trinity.
Paul talks of ‘Christ our life’ and why John stresses the importance of ‘Christ come in our flesh.’ Firstly the Christ of God is incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth. Following the cross He and the trinity are incarnated in you and in all who receive Him. It should be obvious why law-centered gospels are a nonsense and why the law being an externality is a denial of Christ come in our flesh.
We can attempt to live in the flesh and hijack Jesus to help us do so. Should we choose, we can do things like see the word ‘community’ and attempt to conjure community up. But it will not coalesce and grow. Not unless we are living in the reality that we and our Father are one – so that all that is the trinity is all that is becoming us.
The new covenant is not a point of view. It is the difference between our living in our inheritance from Jesus and leaving this inheritance in the ground.
Again we can seize on a fruit of the Spirit and attempt to live it – which is a contradiction to the nature of a fruit. A fruit like ‘patience’ is the result of the Spirit of Christ living as us. It is not another and more subtle kind of new testament law. Sadly if we live in a law culture we will capture both Jesus and ourselves in the legalists cage.
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
As we see God, is personal and relational. The human face of God is Jesus Christ. By the Spirit God is a real presence in the world and is incarnated in you – bound into your being in your interwoveness with the trinity. Christ has come both in the flesh and in the Spirit since you are real bearers of His presence. God is not rattling around inside you but interwoven into your being. Thus Jesus urges us to enter the reality created by the enterprise of the trinity: ‘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 NIV. Those who have been living this are already transfigured with God’s presence. The live in a degree of wholeness and joy that cannot be understood by the inmates of religion. This is why for many Believers, ‘That Day’ needs to be today.
CLOUDS WITHOUT RAIN
We can live in a literary Christianity of words, positions and beliefs. If conditioned by a culture of the law we will instinctively reduce most life in the Spirit to abstractions and figments of the letter that kills. The letter kills because the letter robs life of life. It causes us to make claims to be the body of Christ while denying us the substance. As Paul said ‘clouds without rain’ and people tied to the body of death. In the new covenant we are one substance with God. In the mindset of the law and old covenant we are not.