Union with Christ

Posted: February 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

Wayne Grudem defines union with Christ as follows: “Union with Christ is a phrase used to summarize several different relationships between believers and Christ, through which Christians receive every benefit of salvation.  These relationships include the fact that we are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ.”

As you can probably infer from reading Grudem’s definition, the phrase “in Christ” is one that is vitally important to comprehend but there is a problem in that the various authors of Scripture use the the term differently depending on context.  Let’s take a look at how the Waynester breaks it down:

1) “Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ ‘before the foundation of the world.’ It was ‘in Christ’ that we were ‘destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory’ (vv.1:11-12). ” (i.e., chosen for God’s mission of redemption).

2) “Throughout Christ’s entire life on earth, from the time of his birth to the time of his ascension into heaven, God thought of us as being “in Christ.” That is, whatever Christ did as our representative, God counted it as being something we did, too.” See 2 Cor. 5:21 cf. Rom. 5:19; 1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9, etc. (i.e., imputed righteousness).

3) We are “in Christ” now.  We have died to our old lives of open rebellion against God and raised to a new life of loyalty to Jesus (Col. 2:12).  We have been blessed by the Holy Spirit thanks to what Christ earned on our behalf i.e., salvation (1 Cor. 7:22), regeneration (Eph. 1:3; 2:10) and justified (Rom. 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21, etc.)

4) Our actions committed now are done “in Christ” or are part of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, which is a foretaste of what is to come in the next age (e.g., John 15:5).

5) We who are “in Christ” are family (e.g., 1 Cor. 12:26).  We take care of one another.

6) Christ is also in us. We have a real relationship with the King of the universe.  In fact, no one can be a Christian without Jesus dwelling within us (Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; and Rev. 3:20).

7) Being “in Christ” also means we are to imitate Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1).

8) “In Christ” also means that we have personal fellowship with Christ (Matt. 18:20; 28:20, etc.)  This is most vividly felt when we open ourselves up to worship.

9) Finally, to be “in Christ” is to have fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 17:21 and Rom. 8:9).



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