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Union with Christ gives us hope - a reflection from Tyler Land

This past Lord’s day Charles preached a message of great comfort and joy to us. In this sermon he said something remarkable: “Part of what makes the gospel good news is that we don't have to choose between forgiveness of sins, freedom from bondage, eternal beauty, and eternal peace. All of these gifts are amazing and all of these gifts are ours because they flow out of us being united with Christ.” Every single aspect of our redemption is wrapped up in our indestructible union with Christ. Now THAT is great cause for comfort and joy and ought to move our hearts to worship! He has planned our union from eternity-past, he guarantees our union in eternity-future...Glory to God alone, we are united to Christ even in this life!

United To Christ In This Life

“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
Ephesians 2:22

All the great themes of our salvation can all be summed up in those two beautiful words: “In him”. We have been predestined, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified “in him” (Rom 8:30). We have been crucified to our sin, have died, and have been raised to newness of life “in him” (Rom 6:4). We have eternal joy, abundant life, and are seated in the heavenly places “in him” (Eph 2:4-7). And nothing in all creation can ever separate our union with him (Rom 8:38-39). We are in him, and he is in us (Jn 17:20-26).

To me, this is a big shift in perspective. It seemed natural for me to think about faith as the thing all these themes revolved around and depended upon. I had my redemptive solar system mixed up. Our salvation does not draw its orbit around our faith, but around our union to Christ that God creates in us by the Spirit. Here is an analogy by Herman Bavinck that has been helpful to me: Imagine an ancient king that possessed a magical stone within a ring that heals anyone it touches. We might refer to it as a magical ring, but, actually it is the stone that is magical, not the ring itself. The same is true about our faith and our union with Christ. Our union with Christ is the thing that is actually “magical” and our faith is merely the ring it rests in.

Sometimes, though, it is difficult to feel the magic of it. I am writing this while quarantined in my 600sqft apartment. My wife and I have lost our jobs, and know many others who have as well. We are also keenly aware of my heightened risk as a congenital cardiac patient during this pandemic. We fight loneliness and depression as we’re forced to be away from all of our friends and family. I relate deeply to the Psalms of lament in this season... Even so, Union with Christ is a truth I cling to with all of my might! “Why?” You may ask. “In him you (me...we) also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Eph 2:22. Our only hope in this pilgrimage of a life is that God is with us. Praise God! He is much more than with us, he is in us! We can be sorrowful (and we will be) and yet always rejoice because, by God’s grace, “in him” we are being made into a dwelling place for God by his Spirit. Northside, the union we have with Christ in this life guarantees our union with Him in the next! Our union with Christ elicits great comfort and joy since through it and because of it, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Ps 23:6).

Recommended sermon for further reflection:
https://www.mljtrust.org/sermons-online/ephesians-2-4-7/in-christ-jesus/



My name is Tyler Land. I've been attending Northside since December 2019 along with my lovely wife, Taylor. We hope to become members soon. We both have been impressed by the hospitality and friendship that occurred so quickly and we're excited to love and invest in the church!

Comments

  1. "Our union with Christ is the thing that is actually “magical” and our faith is merely the ring it rests in."
    That is probably the best way that I have ever heard that described. Thank you for that!

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