Athanasius saw Jesus as the one who ministers the things of God to humankind and the things of humankind to God. Jesus ministers the things of God to us, not as a mere agent of God acting for God, but as God himself in human flesh. All that God does for us is accomplished in the one who is himself God as human. Jesus ministers the things of humankind to God because he is the true human bringing to God what is required of us. Everything God requires of us is given by God and to God in Christ who is God as human. Jesus offers the Father his own human life of trustful obedience flowing from love to his Father. And so, in our place, he lives the human life that gladdens the Fathers’ heart.
In Jesus there is a new relationship in which Jesus is, therefore, the reconciling action from both God’s side and ours. As H.R. Mackintosh says, “God in him for us, and we in him for God”. This two-way movement of love in action establishes our union with God. That means we are already one with God. We do not progress into union by our own efforts. Rather, as the Spirit of Christ joins us to Christ in faith we discover our own humanity caught up in Christ’s humanity and therefore already lifted up into union with God. Consequently, there are no stages to pass through or steps to take so that we become more deeply one with God than we already are in Christ. We simply live in Christ as he lives in us by his Spirit.