THE BELIEVER AND CHRIST AND THE CHURCH TOGETHER

WE SHALL LIVE “WITH HIM”
UNION WITH CHRIST

Does This Mean Personal and Mutually Together As One Body In Christ?

Romans 6:8

Charles e Whisnant  May 15, 2011  45.73

NOW IF

  • Since or in view of the fact that (we have died with Christ)

WE BE DEAD (599) WITH (4862) CHRIST

  • We have died, there has been a separation, departure from the former association of SIN
  • With Christ: speaks of an intimate, irreversible union with.

WE BELIEVE:4100 

THAT WE SHALL ALSO LIVE (4800) SUZAO WITH HIM

  • Live with (4800) (  suzao from sun/syn)         together or with + záo = live) means to live with. The preposition “sun” means with in the sense of “in union with” and thus is used to denote a more intimate relationship of Jesus Christ with us then the corresponding preposition “meta” which also means with. To illustrate, the criminals punished with Jesus were both crucified with (meta) Him or in His company. One of these thieves was not crucified together with (sún) Him, bound up and in union with Him, while the other thief was in fact crucified in union with Him. (Luke 23:43-44)

I want to go back and address this matter here in verse 8  “WITH CHRIST”.

UNION WITH CHRIST and THE CHURCH

The believer’s union with Christ is one of the richest and most precious doctrines. It is a doctrine that can be misunderstood without the proper nuances, (awareness of shades of meaning) but the proper nuances still do not make the doctrine simple or easy to comprehend. It is incomprehensible–Christ is in us, and we are in Him. We strive to better appreciate this marvelous truth, which is what the Valley of Vision calls our “felt union” with Christ.

Puritan Thomas Goodwin said that union with Christ was the ocean into which all other doctrines run.

John Murray writes that “union with Christ is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.”

The theme of union with Christ permeates John Calvin’s commentaries and his Institutes.

And the description we read of union with Christ in The Marrow of Modern Divinity is comprehensive, breathtaking, [i]

Recently I’ve begun thinking about the ways our individual “with Him” (union) with Christ influences how we view our corporate life together. This was originally provoked while reading the works of Thomas Manton where he writes [Works, 10:323]:

  • Mystical union is the union of believers with Christ the head, and with one another; with Christ the head by faith, and with one another by love. … This union of believers in the same body is often compared with the mystery of the Trinity; and it is elsewhere expressed by one body.

That is both a huge claim and a broad definition of union.

In the context Manton makes very careful and important distinctions between Trinitarian unity and the nature of our union with Christ. Nevertheless, these themes seem to be inseparable (see John 14:20–23; 17:11, 20–23).

Manton then further explains the connection between union with Christ and union with one another.

  • [The church] is a place full to this purpose, where all believers, in regard of their union with the head, and with one another, are set forth as one body, governed under one head, by one spirit, by which they increase and grow up, till they come to such a kind of unity as is among the divine persons. Philippians 4

But in what ways is the connection between our union with Christ and our corporate life together in the church expressed in the New Testament, if at all? If it is connected, what are the main ramifications?

With those questions, I began my search.

I cannot deal here with every ramification, and the ones I have here identified I cannot address at length.

I’ll begin with a few foundational points before moving into specific applications:


[i] I tell you from Christ, and under the hand of the Spirit,
that your person is accepted, your sins are done away,
and you shall be saved; and if an angel from heaven should tell you otherwise,
let him be accursed.

Therefore, you may (without doubt) conclude that you are a happy man;
for by means of this your matching with Christ, you are become one with him,
and one in him, you ‘dwell in him, and he in you’ (1 John 4:13).

He is ‘your well beloved, and you are his’ (S. of S. 2:16).

So that the marriage union betwixt Christ and you is more than a bare notion or apprehension of your mind; for it is a special, spiritual, and real union:
it is an union betwixt the nature of Christ,
God and man, and you; it is a knitting and closing,
not only of your apprehension with a Saviour,  but also of your soul with a Saviour.

Whence it must needs follow that you cannot be condemned,
except Christ be condemned with you; neither can Christ be saved,
except you be saved with him.

And as by means of corporeal marriage all things become common betwixt man and wife;
even so, by means of this spiritual marriage, all things become common betwixt Christ and you;
for when Christ hath married his spouse unto himself, he passeth over all his estate unto her;
so that whatsoever Christ is or hath, you may boldly challenge as your own.

‘He is made unto you, of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30).

And surely, by virtue of this near union it is, that as Christ is called ‘the Lord our righteousness’          (Jer. 23:6),   even so is the church called, ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (33:16).

I tell you, you may, by virtue of this union, boldly take upon yourself, as your own,
Christ’s watching, abstinence, travails, prayers, persecutions, and slanders;
yea, his tears, his sweat, his blood, and all that ever he did and suffered in the space of three and thirty years, with his passion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension;
for they are all yours.

And as Christ passes over all his estate unto his spouse,
so does he require that she should pass over all unto him.
Wherefore, you being now married unto Christ, you must give all that you have of your own unto him;and truly you have nothing of your own but sin, and, therefore, you must give him that.

I beseech you, then, say unto Christ with bold confidence,
I give unto thee, my dear husband,
my unbelief, my mistrust, my pride, my arrogancy, my ambition, my wrath, and anger,
my envy, my covetousness, my evil thoughts, affections, and desires;
I make one bundle of these and all my other offences, and give them unto thee.

And thus was Christ made ‘sin for us, that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Cor. 5:21).

‘Now then,’ says Luther, ‘let us compare these things together, and we shall find inestimable treasure.

Christ is full of grace, life, and saving health; and the soul is freight-full of all sin, death, and damnation;
but let faith come betwixt these two, and it shall come to pass, that Christ shall be laden with sin, death, and hell; and unto the soul shall be imputed grace, life, and salvation.

Who then is able to value the royalty of this marriage accordingly?

Who is able to comprehend the glorious riches of his grace, where this rich and righteous husband, Christ,  doth take unto wife this poor and wicked harlot,  redeeming her from all devils, and garnishing her with all his own jewels?

So that you, through the assuredness of your faith in Christ, your husband,
are delivered from all sins, made safe from death, guarded from hell, and endowed with the everlasting righteousness, life, and saving health of this your husband Christ.’”

—Edward Fisher
, The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Christian Focus, 2009), pp. 166–167.

John 14:20-23 

20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.  21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 17:11, 20-23

11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are 20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

1 Corinthians 10:17

17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Colossians 3:3, 11-15

3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.  12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful

ROMANS 12:3-5

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

MATTHEW 16:26-27

26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

JOHN 6:47-56 

47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.  48I am that bread of life.

49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

FIRST CORINTHIANS 10:16-17

16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

GALATIANS 3:25-28

25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

 I CORINTHIANS 12:12-13

12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

EPHESIANS 4:11-16

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 COLOSSIANS 3:12-17

12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 CORINTHIANS 12:14-31

14For the body is not one member, but many.  15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  19And if they were all one member, where were the body?  20But now are they many members, yet but one body.  21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.  25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-20

12All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.  14And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.  16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.  17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.  19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

 1 CORINTHIANS 5:1-5

1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,  4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

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About Charles e Whisnant

Youth Pastor since 1964.Pastor/Teacher 1971-74, 1980-2001, 2008-2015. Seminary, College, On line training, 50 years of study. A student of of the Bible. Expositional in my teaching. Married for 45 years. Four children and three granddaughter. Currently pastor - teacher in Minford, Ohio. No published books. No TV program. Favorite preachers Spurgeon, Calvin, MacArthur, Lloyd-Jones, Packer, Edwards, Baxter, Puritans.
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