Question: WSC 30, Part 2: How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
Answer: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.
More on Union with Christ
Scripture Memory: ESV Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
An Explanation:* “Uniting us to Christ…” Union with Christ is the fount from which all blessings of eternity and time flow forth by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14). Christ is the Reservoir of all blessing from the Father through the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9). Believers have union and communion with Christ in grace and glory (WLC, 65-66). What are the practical implications of our union?
- The church has union with Christ in the Father’s eternal election. This is a union that precedes our birth and conversion, back into the eternal electing mercies of God. Union with Christ includes union in eternity, in history in the fullness of the times, and the Spirit’s union in the application of our salvation. This covenant theology recognizes that union with Christ is not merely a present experience, but an eternal reality in the plan of God. A covenant of grace was made with Christ as the Second Adam, and all the elect in Him as His seed (Heb. 13:20-21).
- The church has union with Christ in the Son’s incarnation. No higher honor was given to humanity than when God the Son took our nature into permanent union with God. The purpose of Christ’s incarnation is particularly His priestly office and work to make propitiation for His people, and intercede for them (Heb. 1:1-2; 2:17; 7:25). The incarnation forms a necessary link with Christ, so that we might have His righteousness to us. Christ joins with us in our nature and this incarnational union makes possible all of the righteousness that He earned and will give to us as we receive it by faith. Only those who are sanctified in Christ can all ourselves “brethren” of God’s Son (Heb. 2:11). This is important as part of God’s promise of being “with us”; the incarnational union impresses upon us that He is not merely God for us, but God with us.
- The church has union with Christ in His death, resurrection, and ascension. This is particularly Paul’s theme in his writings (Rom. 6-8). We died with Christ on the cross, were buried with Him, rose from the dead with Him, seated with Him in Heavenly Places, etc (Col. 3:1-4; Gal. 2:20). All of the believer’s experiences of saving faith flow from his union with Christ in these great, redemptive-historical events. Whatever Christ did and received, belong to us as God’s children. As believers, we should count all of these blessings as our own possessions. This union with Christ is an abiding reality that believers must live out of by faith. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “One died for all, then all died, therefore we should live not for ourselves, but for Him who died and has risen from the dead.” Christians died with Christ 2000 years ago with Christ on the cross, but we experientially live this out being transformed in time by God’s Spirit.
- The church has union with Christ in the Spirit’s works of personal salvation. The Spirit establishes a vital union with Christ through effectual calling and regeneration. We are in space and time united to Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:30, Paul wrote: Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Freedom from condemnation belongs to those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8). The Spirit of Life liberates us from sin to live for Christ.
- Communion with God in love flows out of union. Spirit, faith, and love are the three “chains of union” (William Ames). The Spirit from God to unites us; faith from us to unite us; love to give ourselves wholly to Christ as His Beloved. All that Christ has or has done is ours by faith in Christ Jesus. The Christian is a fruitful branch, an eating and drinking guest at the banquet, a beloved bride, clothed in His righteousness and glory. All these will be realized at the Consummation of all things, and we will live blessedly (Rev. 19:7ff; 21:1ff)! We shall have total, unhindered, intimacy with Christ in heaven for all eternity! We shall realize fully the Lord’s love for His bride!
* Compiled from Dr. J. R. Beeke’s lectures on soteriology.
A Prayer: Thank you, dear Jesus, that you loved me and gave yourself for me. I am grateful to confess: “I am crucified with Christ…and the life I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).
In Christ’s Love,