FREEDOM AND JOY
It’s not uncommon for us to have a contradictory view of God. We talk of grace and then say ‘but.’ Then we go on about the things we think we must do to be Christian. What we mean is that we think these are the things we should do to earn points with God; to work up some worthiness whereby we may hopefully deserve His grace and love. But we already have it. We are already accepted and received.
At other times we shun the grossness of legalism, yet embrace a performance mentality or we might define ourselves as non-legalistic yet live from a matrix of our personal version of good and evil. Then again we may involve ourselves in service in a bid to pay Jesus back for what He has done and so attempt to earn our salvation in reverse. All of this places us back where we were before there was a Jesus, before there was a cross, a Pentecost and an incarnation. But our life is Christ. He is our grace and our Spirit of life and our righteousness.
God has secured us with Himself, our freedom with grace and our glory with the impartation of His Son. Now we live in the Spirit of Sonship that includes all of the aforementioned. The freedom we have been given is the freedom to be ourselves, without artifice or contrivance. I am free to be me in good conscience and authority because Christ Himself is my life. All authority is given to me in Christ who is lives in me and expresses Himself through me and all who receive Him.
As myself I rest at ease. But not in self-sufficiency. I rest in He who is my life and all that I am not, as far as conformity to any ideal is concerned. A simply am. I am myself in the greater I AM. Here I am as a son/daughter of God, doing I what I was designed to do, born and re-created anew to do. Each day I just be. In ‘being’ I am myself and a representation of the diversity of Jesus in the world of doing.
The beauty of grace is that it is not an abstraction. It is a person. Grace is the person of Jesus and the fullness of God – an expression of the trinity in its one for all and all for one excellence. Grace is Jesus manifest for me and in me. Thus as the church Jesus builds we are able to be ourselves, not ciphers or constructs of significant others or clones of bossy types but truly ourselves as apostolic representatives of our Father. We are unique and creative daughters and sons advancing the Kingdom simply by being ourselves. Thus we are delivered from the misery of religion and melee of ‘service.’ Thank God for that!
Thomas F Torrance speaking on the vicarious humanity of Jesus writes,
“To preach the gospel of the unconditional grace of God in that unconditional way is to set before people the astonishingly good news of what God has freely provided for us in the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
To repent and believe in Jesus Christ and commit myself to him
on that basis, means that I do not need to look over my shoulder all the time to see whether I have really given myself personally to him, whether I really believe and trust him, whether my faith is at all adequate.
For in faith, it is not upon my faith, my believing, or my personal commitment that I rely, but solely upon what Jesus Christ has done for me, in my place and on my behalf, and what he is and always will be as he stands in for me before the face of the Father.
That means that I am completely liberated from all ulterior motives in believing or following Jesus Christ, for on the ground of his vicarious human response for me, I am free for spontaneous joyful response and worship and service as I could not otherwise be.” (Quoted in Trinitarian Conversations.)