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‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ COL 3.3,4 NIV.


This scripture is not some tangential, ‘one more thing’ remark by Paul. It declares the core of our post-cross relationship with God, our sense of self and our ability to enjoy genuine community with others. It corroborates what Jesus has already prayed for, ‘I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’

John 17.2-23 NIV.


One of the illusions promoted by the paradigm of the knowledge of good and evil – of which the law and legalism is a part – is the interpretation of salvation in the letter rather than the Spirit and an impulse to tick boxes rather than participate in Christ as a state of being. In this mode one can lay claim to belong to the Body of Christ in the letter while living in scant union in the Body as a state of being. The letter kills because it is lifeless and Christ is our life because He is the Agent of the trinity in our being. Christ is ‘belonging.’


The truth is, we do not belong to the Body of Christ because we belong to the Christian Church. We belong to the Body of Christ because we agree with Jesus that ‘I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20.


Much of Christianity believes that one earns a relationship with Christ by ‘Keeping close to Jesus.’ It does not take too much thought to see that this implies ‘earning Jesus’ before we can avail ourselves of His grace.


The excellence of His grace is however, that Jesus is our relationship with Himself and with God. There is no oneness with Christ by way of the law. Only separation. This is the lie and the curse of ‘other gospels.’ There is complete oneness with Christ by way of the atonement and incarnation personified in Christ. Christ is our life. If He is not we are not alive.


Thomas Torrance explains that, “Jesus Christ is our human response to God. Thus, we appear before God and are accepted by him as those who are inseparably united to Jesus Christ our great High Priest in his eternal self-presentation to the Father…” Jesus represents us and stands in for us in His person who is incarnated and woven into our being and we into His. Jesus is continuously your oneness with God.

Oneness with God is mediated to us neither by the law, by well-doing or any kind of religion. Christ and His union with God is mediated to us directly by Christ.

COL 3.3,4 NIV.


Torrance writes “If representation and substitution are combined and allowed to interpenetrate each other within the incarnational union of the Son of God with us - in which he has actually taken our sin and guilt upon his own being - then we may have a The Mediation of Christ in our Human Response profounder and truer grasp of the vicarious humanity in the mediatorship of Christ, as one in which he acts in our place, in our stead, on our behalf but out of the ontological depths of our actual human being.” (1)


The above is not as complex as it sounds and is in fact what Paul means simply as ‘Christ our life’ and what John means with the words, ‘Christ come in the flesh.’ The incarnation has two aspects. The Son of God comes among us as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus the Son of God lives in us and with us by the Spirit in the incarnated presence of Christ in His people.

*Any Gospel that posits the law as the key issue of a life in God did not come from God and is badly mistaken. The issue that effects all of mankind is that in Christ humanity belongs in the communion that is God.

(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, p 80,81.