IV. Perfection: the Goal, not the Reality, for Disciples

I’ve only lost a position as a minister of a congregation once where I was asked to leave. And that was because I wanted to study the question of the humanity vs. the divinity of Christ–I hadn’t even made up my mind on the question. But because I would not say that I was certain that Jesus was pre-existent God, I had to give up a successful college ministry because my church elders and co-workers in ministry saw me as a heretic. It was deemed insufficient to say what Scripture said—I believe Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:21). I had to say something the Scripture did not say: “Jesus is God the Son.” And because I would not say that, I was given the opportunity to resign my position quietly at first. And even after that, it was decided that I would be hung out to dry in a public assembly of the church where this heresy alone was said to be sufficient (despite any other deficiencies I may have had in my ministry). All of that is fine, I suppose. God will judge on such matters in the end.

Even recently, I am said to be unnaturally fixated on this subject–that this “Trinity thing” has now become “a religious hobby.” If there is one thing I do intend to be fixated on is the grace that comes through the life of Jesus the Messiah being applied in all its provision to my life. I have already admitted that Disciples for One God is unapologetically non-Trinitarian in its focus. But that is not true for its own sake. Nor is a consideration of such a thing a matter of weird fixation. There are implications about Jesus’ humanity that impact my Christian walk, and I see sense in exploring that idea with others. Jesus’ could, as a human, be tempted to do wrong. God cannot (James 1:13). That fact alone provides knowledge that empowers me, in reflection, to live life of faith like Jesus, the pioneer of my faith (Hebrews 12:2),  boldly resisting Satan, not weakly wandering through life claiming an inability to resist sin.

It is, then, the focus of Disciples for One God to understand that perfection is our ultimate goal, and it is our ultimate reality. Paul tells us that when we do sin it is because of the present life of the Son of God that I can have victory: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10). This forum is not fixated on anything but those things that will empower us to be successful disciples living for God from day to day.

Yes, that involves the encouragement that comes from knowing the correct identity of the Son of God—Jesus the now-glorified man. It also comes in knowing that Jesus argues on our defense daily as he is in the presence at the right hand of his God and Father. John says he writes to believers to encourage them not to sin at all. But he goes on to say that “if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).

I think that something upon which to be fixated! IF I sin and IF you sin, we have an advocate with the Father—the one who understands our weakness, but was just and righteous and marked the way for us in his sinless life and in his sacrificial death on a Roman cross. In the words of the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews, our continual confidence is this: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25). In essence, God disregards our sins because of the continual appeal of Jesus on our behalf—a reality that ought to make us even more grateful and desirous of living for God as he did.

V. Gospel: Salvation is a Message for Believers