In this insightful interview at the RTS Washington site, my colleague and friend Howard Griffith talks about the believer’s union with Christ and the central role that this doctrine plays in the Christian life.
Union with Christ is vitally important for the church to understand, because it is the heart of the gospel, the heart of the Christian life, and the heart of our life together. The phrase “in Christ” (and slight variants) occurs more than 150 times in the New Testament. We (believers) were chosen in him, redeemed by him, and made one with him by Spirit-worked faith.
This doctrine provides the contours of our salvation, not only in the forgiveness of our sins but in our personal Christian growth.
As God’s Son and our High Priest in heaven, Christ continues to pray for us and to forgive our sins, in order to bring all the sons to glory. He is not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:10-11). Christ lives in us by his Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17), and we live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). The Father is pleased with our good works as “a sweet smelling sacrifice” because we are in him (Ephesians 5:1-2). In the present time, until Christ returns, we suffer, not alone, but together with Christ. This suffering is the power of his resurrection now, and it will lead to being glorified together with him (Romans 8:17). We persevere in him, and die through him (1 Thessalonians 4:14). No event, no opposition (even our own), absolutely nothing and no-one, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39). On the last day, our bodies will be raised from the dead in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). We will inherit the earth with him (Matthew 5:5).