It's about God's grace - not transactionalism

In this post I quote from Capon's book, The Mystery of Christ...And Why We Don't Get It, where Capon says his reason for writing is... protest against...a [theological] model I choose to call transactionalism, and to witness to a better model based on the Mystery of Christ" p. 23).
For Capon, this "mystery" is the real presence of God in his reconciling grace throughout every particle of the cosmos (including every human life) made evident now in Jesus Christ. This Jesus - the fullness of Grace and Truth - is the Eternal Son of God: the Word, Creator, Sustainer, Judge and Savior of all the cosmos - now manifested to us and for us through his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension and parousia.

It is this mystery - the real and redeeming presence of God, in Christ in all the cosmos - that forms the basis for Capon's view of the Gospel (and thus his theology) as being not about transactions that are causitive of God's grace, but about God's grace already present in the cosmos in and through Jesus that is received (experienced) by us through faith (trust). Following are relevant quotes from Capon's book (page numbers noted).

-Ted Johnston
If you are wise [you will hold to]...a theological model not one based on transactions like earning, working, deserving, or any other tit-for-tat operation. Rather it will be based on the imagery of a free gift already given, without condition, to everybody - a gift hidden in every particle of creation, a gift that goes by the name of the Mystery of Christ... a reconciling gift hidden throughout creation... not a transaction poked into the universe that previously didn't have the benefit of it.... It is a cosmic dispensation that has been present at all times and in all places but 'kept secret for ages and generations' (Rom. 16:25). It is a dispensation, in fact, that has been hidden 'from the foundation of the world' (Matt. 13:35), or even 'before the foundation of the world' (Eph. 1:4) until it could finally be revealed in Jesus.

In other words, the mysterious, reconciling grace that was revealed in Jesus is not something that got its act in gear for the first time in Jesus; rather, it is a feature of the very constitution of the universe - a feature that was there all along, for everybody and everything. And it was there, Christians believe, because the Person who manifests himself finally and fully in Jesus' humanity is none other than the Word of God, the Second Person of the Three Persons in One God who is intimately and immediately present to every scrap of creation from start to finish (p. 25-26).

We are accepted in the Beloved, because of Jesus only, not because of anything we do (p. 6).

[Our] promises to God...are not capable of getting us either accepted by God or damned by God. Acceptance, according to the Gospel, is a free gift bestowed on a world full of four flushers. And it's given to them despite their four flushing, right in the midst of their four flushing. It is not a reward for hotshot behavior in the promise-keeping department. And damnation is not a punishment for breaking promises to God - or even for breaking the commandments of God himself; it's a consequence of stupidly throwing away the free gift of acceptance (p. 4).

Luther said, 'No man can know or feel he is saved; he can only believe it.' And believing - trusting - is simply something you decide to do. It's not something you can con yourself into with arguments; it's a blind 'yes' to somebody who offers you a fabulous deal for reasons you can't know anything about (p. 7).

Jesus didn't say he came to judge sinners, or even to turn them into non-sinners; he said he came to save them. And the rest of the New Testament makes it quite clear that his salvation works by grace through faith, not by frightening people into getting their act together (p. 18).

...If the Gospel is about anything, it is about a God who meets us where we are, not where we ought to be - "while we were still sinners," as Paul said...(p. 21).

The true Good News is that God works in bad news (p. 21).

...The concept of God as an angry, unforgiving parent - and his church as a domineering grown-up issuing threats to willful kids - is bad news, not Gospel. Such concepts inculcate only fear: fear of God, and then fear of our own freedom. They lead not to liberty of the children of God, to the freedom with which Christ has set us free, but to a servile mentality that kills courage and breeds resentment (p. 22).

How does the death and resurrection of Jesus (an event that, on the face of the biblical narrative, happened some two thousand years ago) make itself operative in your life here and now...? (p. 23)....You may have assumed, for example, that because the gift of grace in Jesus' death and resurrection is something you receive by faith, this gift is something you do not have until you make the act of faith. In other words, you may have assumed that the gift starts out by being in one person (namely Jesus) and not in anybody else, and that it enters the lives of other persons only after the completion of some suitable transaction on their part. And this assumption, if you continue to hold it, will lead you down the garden path to a theology that is clean contrary to some of the most fundamental points in the New Testament. Because despite the fact that both the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle to the Galatians make it quite clear that the gift of grace operates by faith alone and not by works, you have for all practical purposes converted faith into a species of work. You have turned it into something that needs to be done before the gift can in fact be bestowed...You have said, in short, that it must be earned...

In building this [erroneous] theological have opened yourself to the idea that the church is the fellowship of those who have the gift and that the rest of the world is just a crowd of outcasts who don't have it. Even though you may go on saying in church that the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world, you are actually holding that he has taken away only the sins of the church (p. 24-25).

Your in no way the cause of the gift; the only thing it can possibly have any causal connection with is your enjoyment of the gift (p. 26).