My discussion board response today in Theology about what it means to be in union with Christ.
When we look at union, we need to start by breaking that word down. Union is going to be the state of having unity, so what is unity? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “Unity: 1. The state or quality of being one; singleness. 2. The state or quality of being in accord; harmony. 3a. The combination or arrangement of parts into a whole; unification. b. A combination or union thus formed. 4. Singleness or constancy of purpose or action; continuity.” When I think of being in union with Christ, that definition hits the nail right on the head! Singleness, harmony, unification and continuity; that is part of the sum of being in union with Christ. To be molded together to form one entity, with one purpose.
Others have touched on the fact of being in union with Christ through the relationship when we accept Him as our Lord, but is that where it stops? In John chapter 17, we have the three prayers of Jesus and it is the prayer for those who believe the message they hear that we can see another key to being in union with Christ. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.” (John 17:20-23a NIV) The first thing that we note is the unity of Christ and the Father. “To be one…as you are in me and I am in you”. Then Jesus talks about the unity of the believers, “that they be one as we are one”. Christ prays that the believers would have the same unity amongst themselves as He has with the Father. Then comes the decisive factor, “I in them and you in me”. It is here that we find the ultimate in what it means to be in union with Christ. When we are in union with the Body of Christ, we will be in union with Christ and if we are in union with Christ, we will also be in union with the Father and this will be accomplished through God’s Spirit within us. What is the purpose of all of this? We find it in second part of verse 23, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” The purpose of this unity is to show the world that God loves them and sent His Son because of that love.
Let me close with this as the Apostle Paul urges us to; “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:3-6 NIV) There is no union with Christ alone, it must be with the body, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.