Atonement, that’s where I left off, on the previous post, really there has only been one perfect atonement, one perfect surrender and humiliation; that which was undergone by Christ. Perfect because He was God, and humiliation because He was a man. Christians believe that if they somehow share in the surrender and humiliation of Christ then we will also share in His conquest of death and find a new life after we have died, and in it become perfect and perfectly happy. So when will this next step in to something beyond man happen? When is the next step in the evolution of mankind? Christians believe it has already occurred, in Christ a new kind of man appeared, and a new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into each of us. But how?
Just as you came into this world with the natural birth, so we Christians are born again in Christ. Not in the natural sense, but by baptism, repentance and actions. But do not confuse those three things as something that can replace the Christians individual attempts to copy Christ, because that is what we strive to achieve.
However, just as your natural life is derived from your parents, that does not mean it will stay there if you do nothing. You can lose your natural life by neglect or suicide. You have to feed your natural life, and take care of it, but remember you are only keeping it, your parents made it. In much the same way a Christian can lose the Christ life which has been put into him, if he does not make efforts to keep it. Just as a live body in not one that does not get hurt, but in fact is one that can to some extend repair itself. Likewise a Christian is not someone who will never go wrong, but is instead a person who repents and begins over again after each fall. It is the voluntary death to self, the willingness to surrender and accept humiliation (a kind of death) which Christ enables him to do, that propels the Christian forward.
It is this idea, of Christ being in him, which is the driving force when a Christian admits that any good he does, comes from the Christ life inside him. A Christian does not think that God will love us if we are good; but rather that because He loves us, He will make us good. I think I need to be clear on this point that when a Christian speaks of being “in Christ” it is not something merely mental or moral. They mean Christ is actually in them and operating through them, that they are simply part of a much larger organism, the body of Christ. That they are the fingers, legs and arms of Christ. Which explains why this new life can not be simply baptism, or baptism and repentance, but it also includes bodily acts as well. It is not just the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution upwards.
I have heard on numerous occasions (frequently from those questioning Christianity), how could this new life be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the simple truth is that God has not told us what His arrangement is for the other people. We do know that no one can be saved except through Christ; but we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.
My advice to those who worry about that; is that if you are worried about the people on the outside, the most illogical and unreasonable thing to do is to remain on the outside themselves. If you want to help those on the outside, it is best done from the inside.
The other “question” I hear is if this is enemy occupied world, why did God land in disguise. Why didn’t He just land in force? Why this sort of underground society to undermine the devil? Christians believe He is going to land in force, He has said He will, we just do not know when. But I can guess at why He is delaying … He wants to give us the chance to join His side freely. It is not a matter of if, but when will God invade.
However, I wonder weather people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world today, really realize what it will be like when He does. When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. When that happens, it is the end of the world. What good will it be to say you are on His side, only after He has invaded? When you see the whole natural universe melting away and something else, something none of us can even begin to imagine comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some and so terrifying to others, then none of us will have a choice left. God will not come in disguise, and His coming will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature on earth. It will be too late to choose your side; no one can in all honestly claim that they are choosing to lay down when it has become impossible for them to stand up.
No, that day will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, weather we realized it before or not (and I fear a great many of us are in for a horrible surprise). No one is promised tomorrow; today, this hour, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us the chance to choose His way; but He will no delay forever. We must take it or leave it.