In his work, The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung says that, “Union with Christ may be the most important doctrine you’ve never heard of.”
I think he is right. Union with Christ deserves to stand next to the most vital of the Christian doctrines in terms of significance yet many of the people in our churches have never heard about it. This must change.
One of the reasons Union with Christ isn’t taught in many churches is that it can be a difficult doctrine to wrap our heads around. Where there are 10 scholars you will have 11 nuances as to what the doctrine actually is. In short though, Union with Christ is the reality that by grace through faith the Spirit makes a believer “one” with Christ, and therefore confers upon the believer many of the rights and rewards that Jesus has earned.
What this is getting at is this reality: The believer is found in Christ. This has incredible implications. Maybe none greater than the fact that when you are in Christ, the Father looks at you and doesn’t see your wickedness, rather he sees the beauty of His Son, Jesus.
That means for every time that you lie, the Father sees Jesus telling the truth. When you lust, the Father sees Jesus being pure. When you cheat, the Father sees Jesus being honest. When you are wicked and ruined and found in low places like you and I both find ourselves in more than we would like to admit, The father sees His perfect and righteous Son.
The Beauty of the Union
It is difficult to get at the beauty of Union with Christ in any amount of words, let alone a short blog post. Yet, think with me for a moment about some of the more beautiful realities of Christ’s ministry.
His perfect obedience, Christ came and lived a life full of temptation like you and I yet without sin. He was completely obedient to the Father in every way.
His atoning death, Christ was obedient to the Father even to the point of death. Though we deserved to die a cursed death, Christ becomes a curse on our behalf on His glorious and gruesome cross.
His death-killing resurrection, Christ utterly brings death to death in his resurrection. What’s more is we are promised to share in this outcome when He comes back for His bride.
These 3 realities alone are enough to cause the Christian to be in awe of God for the rest of their days. Here is where the importance of Union with Christ comes in. None of these things matter for the believer if they are not United to Christ. Union with Christ is the place where the beautiful realities and rewards of the gospel are given to the believer.
The reality that Union with Christ is the place where gospel realities are given to the believer isn’t too difficult to see in the scriptures. All one has to do is pay attention to the God breathed, God inspired prepositions. Let’s take the preposition, “in” for example. We can see that the believer has redemption in Christ (Eph. 1:7) Lost all condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1) Sanctified in Christ (1 Cor. 2:1) Chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4) and even raised in Christ (Col. 3:1) These are but a fraction of the glorious rewards the Christian has “in” their Christ.
If you want to have your breath taken away by grace, wonder the New Testament in search for what happens to wicked men and women who are “in, with, through, and by” Christ.
Christian, when you are in Christ you are abiding in a Savior that brings rest and liberty to all those who are found in Him. No longer can you depend on your hard work mentality or your 5-step lists to get you through the Christian faith. On the contrary, you rest in the reality that when you are in Christ you have everything you need to be completely redeemed.
Praise God that our salvation is not found in our strength, or in our ability to follow along and keep rules or promises. Praise God that our salvation is found, “In Him.”