The Atonement and Christian Identity in the World
Required Reading: John 1, 14,15,16; 2Corinthians 5:11-21; Romans 8; James 4; Galatians 5:11; 6:12-15
The doctrine of reconcilation teaches us that the world is at enmity with God and so Christ came to reconcile the world to God. He did that through His atoning sacrifice by the Eternal Spirit. Now, He appoints His servants as ambassadors in the hostile world and has given them the ministry of reconciliation. It is a ministry of reconciliation on God's terms; not a ministry at the mercy of the world in the world's terms. We are not called to make peace with the world at the expense of the Cross; we are here to declare the Goodnews that peace has been made by Christ on the Cross. The Cross will be a stumbling block to many, because they would like that the offence of the Cross didn't exist, so that peace would be natural. But, that is the same as being worldly and thus in enmity with God. The Cross is where the world is crucified to the Christian and the Christian to the world. You cannot be worldly and Christian at the same time. The world essentially loves its own and hates Christ and the Father; so, reconciliation consists in leaving the rebellion and submitting to the Lordship of Christ.
There are some who disagree that salvation is through the acceptance of the Lordship of Christ. However, the very idea of redemption is about buying a slave from a slave market. The one who bought us is our Lord and Master. The sense of "belongedness" is intense.
The Cross is where the world is crucified to the Christian and the Christian to the world. You cannot be worldly and Christian at the same time.
The world, essentially, belongs to Christ; because all things were made through Him and for Him. But, the world has rejected His authority through its decision to be like God, and thus itself becoming the criteria of good and evil. When man ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he had determined to shift the center of morality from Christ to self - the essence of humanism. So, when Christ came to His own, His own rejected Him; i.e. declared through word and action that neither they belonged to Him nor He to them. Yet, the one to whom we all belonged had chosen to belong to us, by becoming flesh and blood and make His habitation with us.
"The reason why the Son of God came to the world was because the world was made through Him – it ultimately belonged to Him. It was lost; yet, it was His. He was willing to leave alone the 99 in order to seek this one that was lost. But the world did not recognize Him, His own didn’t receive Him. There are sharp, acute, and yet distinct pictures here. The pictures are sharper in prose than any poetry can portray.
The world is not the world as a whole and yet it is the world as a whole. Not everybody failed to recognize Him, and not everybody rejected Him; and, yet in the moment of the Sacrifice, that was what happened. The world as a whole was represented by the leaders (both religious and political) who put to death the Son of God. The depth of estrangement and contortion was manifest in the kind of death administered: the death of the Cross. It was the world that failed to recognize Him – the world that belonged to Him. Yet, the real story is not that the world rejected Him; the real story is that He was willing to let the world reject Him. Divine self-emptying, divine servanthood, and divine crucifixion are powerful themes that shock the philosophy of religion. Nietzsche called the greatest of all sins to be the murder of God (deicide). There was nothing more sinful than that. On the reverse, the greatest of all righteousness fulfilled was in the self-giving of the Son of God. This self-giving brought an end to the history of hostility between man and God. It cancelled all debts. Man had committed the greatest of all crimes, and God had allowed it to be done to Him in the ultimate divine sacrifice. The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was.
The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was.
The one act of righteousness by the Son of God nullified forever the writ of accusation against all humanity. The veil was torn away; the entrance is paved, now the ball is in our court. He has accepted us. Do we receive Him or choose to remain estranged?
Therefore, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
[From Estrangement and Belongedness in the Ultimate Sacrifice of God]
The "world" is that which has always hated Christ, still hates Christ, and will always hate Christ. Therefore, "friendship with the world is enmity with God." (James 4:4). In John 14-16, Jesus gives us a glimpse of the relationship of the Triune God with the world and with the disciple.
1. The Father, Christ, and the World
Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Father is in Christ and works through Him. Christ bears witness of the world that its works are evil. The world hates Christ and hates the Father. The world doesn't know the Father.
2. The Triune God, the Disciple, and the World
The disciple is in Christ and Christ in Him. The Triune God makes His home with the disciple. Christ is unseen by the world but seen by the disciple. The Spirit cannot be received by the world but is received by the disciple. The world hates the disciple because it hates Christ. Christ has overcome the world and the disciple is an overcomer in Christ.
Distinctions of a discipleSanctity
The disciple is sanctified and purified by the word of Christ.
Words of Christ
Christ's words abide in the disciple.
Christ physically departs from the world and so cannot be seen by them. However, He is seen by the disciple. The Spirit cannot be received by the world but is received by the disciple. The disciple's relationship with God is spiritual.
The disciple does the works that Christ does because Christ works through him. He, in fact, does greater works.
The disciple believes in Christ and knows Him.
Indwelling Presence of God
The disciple is indwelt by the Triune God.
Peace of Christ
The disciple has peace of Christ, such as the world cannot give. The disciple has peace in Christ. Christ spoke these words that in Him we may have peace.
Fruit of the Vine
The disciple bears fruit. He doesn't bear wild grapes, but fruit of the Vine.
Answers to Prayers
The disciple prays and his prayers are answered
The disciple loves the Lord and they have love among themselves.
The disciple loves the Lord and obeys His commandments
The disciple has tribulations in the world, is hated by the world, and is physically afflicted by the world. The disciple is friend of Christ and enemy of the world. The world hates and persecutes him because it hates and persecutes Christ.
The disciple has victory in Christ. He has the peace of Christ and has peace in Christ and has overcome the world because Christ has overcome the world.