Christogenesis refers to our participation in the life of God through the person of Christ Jesus. According to Paul’s soteriology, the structure of our salvation is spoken of in transformative terms. To be saved is not simply a static or forensic entry into heaven. In fact, the concept of a post-mortem destination resolution is foreign to the New Testament. None of the Apostles ever preached stating what would happen after one died. This concept is not found in any of the Acts of the Apostles sermons, neither in any of the epistles. Jesus Christ did not merely come to give us life after life. The benefits of salvation are not postponed until after death.
The gospel mystery of Christ revealed in you dispels every myth of distance, delay or deficit. Religion thrives upon these three things. They would say that God is separate from you (distance); that you will have it one day in the sweet by and by (delay); that you do not have everything that God has (deficit).
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:29
What motivated God in bringing forth this complex creation? We were foreknown by God. The term, foreknown, is from the Greek term proginosko. It can also be translated as forethought. We were the forethought of God, not His afterthought. It is not as if God had a first creation that failed Him and we came in as His afterthought. In Him making us His forethought, we were approved in love; He set His heart on us beforehand and He marked us out as His own – this is the meaning of the term predestined. Before the horizons of time, God had set His affection on us in a personal and intimate way. Your life is pre-planned. God is not making it up as He goes along.
We were predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son. The phrase “to be” is italicized in the King James version, which means it was added by the translators. Therefore, taking it out, the verse would read, “He also did predestinated conformed to the image of the Son”. This is called setting the telos. The Greek term “telos” refers to the goal of all things; the purpose of your design. It refers to that specific objective that once attained indicates that your creation has completed its purpose and until it has been attained, it is yet incomplete. When we understand the telos – the why of creation – we will realize that there is a living, ever-unfolding plan throughout time, which becomes more and more precise and clearer, more and more vivid in each dispensation, each generation, pointing towards its ultimate fulfilment.
When we understand the telos, we would not perceive time as linear, becoming lesser and lesser with its passage, according to the Greek concept of time called chronos. Rather, we will perceive time in the form of an accumulation; we will experience time as Kairos. We will see that all of the events that occur throughout time are not unrelated, as they seem, but are intersected and are leading humanity as a converging power for one goal, one fulfilment, because the end is not a place but a person. Jesus Christ is the telos of humanity. Everything happening on our planet serves as a converging power to push each human being to the conclusion of this creation, which is that we are called to be jointly formed, molded in the image of the Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.
Man is a creature whose purpose is to transcend himself. The faith of the Son of God within you is for you to participate in the nature of God. Adam fell by the simple reason that he was focused on himself. Just as the glove is made in the image of the hand that is to wear it, man in the image of God indicates that Another than man makes man man. Our salvation is thus to be authentically human. The real ontological change took place in you at your conversion. You were converted from the non-participation of man in God. Living from the illusion of separation is the sin that corrupts our minds and every aspect of our nature.
This article is an extract from the Message “Our Christogenesis” by Dr. Shawn Smith.