I am, for the most part, a categorical thinker. Objects of which I think must fit categories set in my mind so that I can better understand them. The ancient categories of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How (dating back to at least the first century B.C.) are extremely important to me in the process of understanding because they help to sift through mountains of evidence (and other “stuff” not concluded as evidence) to determine the facts of the matter, logically speaking. One object I have sought to understand, concerning the church, is “Why do ‘Christians’ return to the Mosaic Law after becoming a part of Christ (by definition)?”
Recently, as I’ve continued to work through the “5 W’s and an H” formula on my mission to figure out “Why” the church insists on returning to Law, it suddenly occurred to me that the church doesn’t appear to know (or understand) the “5 W’s and an H” of God’s worldview. The church understands the “Who” – Jesus. It understands the “What” – the Cross of Christ. It determines the “When” to be historical – approx. 2,000 years ago. Thus, the “Where” is historical Palestine. The “Why” is reconciliation with God, and the “How” is declared to be, ironically, the return to the Mosaic Law (beginning the process again because it is inconclusive).
I agree, the “Who” and “What” – Jesus and the Cross of Christ – are the focal points of God’s worldview. However, the “When” spans all space and time, and is not simply an historical point in time. Likewise, “Where” is everywhere; at all times, at the same time. If the church is correct in “Why” – reconciliation – then “How” we are reconciled has nothing to do with Law of Moses, and everything to do with the grace of God. The death of Christ has made us right with God, but we still can’t be in communion with Him because he is something OTHER (by definition) than us! Recognizing the still present separation, we return to the Law hoping it will bring us into God’s presence (though it never did in Israel). When we leave the Resurrection of Christ in the misty recesses of time, we leave the Resurrection Life of Christ there, too. We annually recall the event, but we do not daily live it. We acknowledge the Spirit of God, but deny His power.
The Apostle Paul explains to the Romans the “How” as a mystical, organic union between humanity and the dead Christ (the three days in the grave), which leads to the resurrection of Christ and the Resurrection Life of Christ in humanity. He says, “If we WERE united in death, then we ARE united in resurrection” [emphasis mine].The word “united” here is sumphutos – a growing together; an organic union where we mystically (spiritually) become one grouping of matter (Rom. 6:8-11; see also Phil. 3:10-11; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). When Christ died, in the misty recesses of time, believing humanity of all time died with Him, and we were buried with Him. The Greek speaks of the idea that we underwent the chemical breakdown of death and, at the resurrection event (three days later) our individual particles of matter were all drawn together into one collective/corporate whole – the Body of Christ. When Paul speaks of “the Body of Christ,” he means it not as a rhetorical figure of speech, but as a (mystical/spiritual) reality.
The “Why” of my inquiry is answered by the confusion over “When, “Where” and “How”? God’s worldview cannot be that Jesus has returned us to the Law, continuing the cycle throughout time; for the Law leads back to the “Who” – Jesus. We are the church precisely because the Resurrection Life of Christ empowers and equips us to live in and out of God’s worldview. We were reconciled to God through the death of Christ. We were incorporated into His death, mystically and organically becoming an actual (metaphysical) part of Him at His resurrection. As His resurrected Body we are restored into right relations with God, returning us (as it were) to the Garden, and walking with God in the cool of the day.