“Theosis” is a word you don’t hear very often and it’s one that I am basically unfamiliar with. However, it is the topic of my son in-law’s doctoral dissertation in England.
I’ll not pretend to know the significance of the word other than to know that it means “union with God” or, from a Pauline perspective, “union with or in Christ.” Part of the premise is what or how this “in Christ” is related to justification by faith. Now you know what I know about the topic. However, it is intriguing to think about what it means to be “in Christ.” That is the believers state or relationship to God through Christ.
Romans chapter 8 is the quintessential chapter on this topic and is rich with the phrase “in Christ.” In my rudimentary understanding both of theosis and Paul’s theology, it seems that the axis on which this topic turns might be found is 8:2:
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Our new life in Christ is bound up in the law of the Spirit of life, that is the new life in Christ. And it is through this Spirit of life that we are released from and, in some respects, immune to the law of sin and it’s ultimate consequence, death – separation from God.
What I am struggling with is that notion of living in Christ and being freed from the strangle-hold of sin. For it is “in Christ” that I have the power and the necessary means to defeat sin. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. For I cannot and could never do it on my own. It is only in that “union with God” through Christ, that I can claim any modicum of victory.
I desire so much for victory over sin in particular areas of my life. To some degree, longing for those initial days as a new believer where my heart was light and my steps wrapped with enthusiasm. But for whatever reason, victory is fleeting; sometimes totally elusive.
Is it me? Is it my unwillingness to yield my life to the Holy Spirit in Christ? Is it my desire to hang on to sins of pleasure and try and balance that with my life in Christ – thinking that in the long run it is no big deal? Or is it something else – something so heinous I dare not admit it? Can I not relax and live under the “law of the Spirit of life?” Do I prefer to stay in bondage to the “law of sin and death” and if so, how can that be?
Why this is important is because I want my life to count. I want it to count for Christ. I do not want to be a coaster – I want to be a life-changer as evidenced by my life changing. Not just way back then, but now. Daily! That, for me, is what “in Christ” is all about.