Living in Union with Christ in Todays World
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The principal reason underlying all the other magnificent reasons that God the Son united himself to our humanity is this: that by the Holy Spirit we may be united to Christ and so enjoy his fellowship with the Father forever. This is eternal life John Nor is it a way of speaking about something else—whether justification, sanctification, or any other benefit of Christ even if it includes all of these and more! Our union with the living Christ is the essential truth of our new and eternal existence. In a way that gloriously transcends our finite understanding, we are really and truly joined— spiritually and bodily —to the crucified, resurrected, incarnate person of Christ.
There is no better news than this.
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi
Unsurprisingly, given the ubiquity of the theme in the Scriptures, there is a massive chorus of churchly voices who have emphasized the significance of being united to Christ. We are not united to Christ because we have been justified. It is quite the other way around: we are justified because we have been united to Christ, who is himself our justification 1 Cor. What a marvelous way of speaking! Christ is our justification, and he is no less our sanctification 1 Cor. Thus, united to him, we are not only forgiven and accounted righteous, we are also transformed into his holy image.
In giving us himself, Christ will no more leave us condemned and guilty unjustified than he will leave us corrupted and depraved unsanctified. When we are joined to Christ, we receive all of who he is for us. He binds us so completely to himself that we come to share in all that he is as Savior. The gift of sharing in his sonship adoption is perhaps the most extravagant gift of them all. When we are joined to Christ by the Spirit, we come to share in the love between the Father and the Son—the very same love the Father has for his beloved Son John As such, God the Father loves us no less than he does his own eternal Son.
This love is the love of all loves: it is indissoluble, it brooks no opposition, and is endlessly and everlastingly life giving and joyful. In Christ, we really and truly are the sons and daughters of God forever. In this accessible introduction, Johnson argues that this neglected doctrine is the lens through which all other facets of salvation should be understood. The reality of salvation and the reality of the church are in fact one and the same reality. To be united to Christ is what it means to be saved. At the same time, to be united to Christ is what it means to be the church: the church, after all, is the body and bride of Christ.
A distinction, therefore, between a doctrine of salvation and a doctrine of the church can only be but artificial. There is no salvation outside the church, historic evangelicals have always asserted, just exactly because there is no salvation outside of Christ.
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John Murray says: Union with Christ has its source in the election of God the Father before the foundation of the world and has its fruition in the glorification of the sons of God. We will look at each of these four in turn: 1. We are in Christ. Christ is in us. We are like Christ. We are with Christ 3 A. The richness of our present life in Christ can be viewed from four slightly different perspectives: 1.
We have died and been raised with Christ. We have new life in Christ. All our actions can be done in Christ. All Christians together are one body in Christ. Even though the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have perfect and eternal unity, yet they remain distinct persons. This is probably because it is through suffering and difficulty that God makes us more Christ-like and causes us to grow to maturity in Christ James —4; Heb. We Are With Christ 1.
How does this idea change the way you think of yourself and your own life? How does it affect the way you think of difficulties that you may be experiencing at this time?
Making Christ Attractive in a Pagan World
In what ways can the ideas of having died with Christ and having been raised with him be an encouragement in your present efforts to overcome sin that remains in your life? What about carrying on conversations with friends or family members? Or eating, or even sleeping? How can the idea of union with Christ increase your love and fellowship for other Christians, both those in your church and those in other churches?
Do you have any awareness in your day-to-day life of Christ living in you Gal.
What would change in your life if you had a stronger awareness of Christ living in you throughout the day? For one or two days, try reading some section of the gospels and asking how you might better imitate Christ in your own life. Can you name some times in your life when you have sensed an especially close personal fellowship with Christ? What have those times been like? Can you think of anything that brought about that close fellowship with Christ? What can we do to increase the intensity of our daily fellowship with Christ?
Can you describe those differences, if there are any? Sections in Evangelical Systematic Theologies 1. Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts, Thou fount of life, thou light of men, From the best bliss that earth imparts We turn unfilled to thee again. Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood; Thou savest those that on thee call; To them that seek thee thou art good, To them that find thee all in all. We taste thee, O thou living bread, And long to feast upon thee still; We drink of thee, the fountain-head, And thirst our souls from thee to fill.
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