By James Barron
Our union with Christ is an amazing reality, and the way in which God made it happen is also amazing. Paul writes that it was a secret not revealed to the sons of men how God would bring man into union with Himself until Christ came. Jesus said He would open His mouth and reveal things hidden since the foundation of the world. Paul called this secret “the mystery of Christ” in his letters to the saints. This is what we now know thanks to the revelation that was given to the apostles by Jesus and by the Spirit: God gathered all things into Christ so that He could destroy all things through the death of Christ on the cross and begin everything new again through the resurrection of Christ! That is why Paul tells us that we were crucified with Christ, buried with Him and raised from the dead, a new creation, in Him! Every person who ever lived or who ever will live was placed in Christ in the mind of God. In a great mystery, the origin of all men, Christ Himself, the Word, died for all men. As Paul writes, if One died for all then all are dead. The Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world so that all the world could be included in that death. On that dark day men saw with natural eyes a man on a cross, but God saw the judgment of the world! Jesus said as He approached the day of His death on the tree, “Now is the judgment of the world! Now is the prince of this world cast out!”
So our union with Christ predates our union with Christ? Sort of. God saw us as one with Christ before we believed in Christ so that He could judge us for all our sins, past, present and future, when Jesus died. He predestined all people to be adopted by Him, not because of their own goodness, but by being placed in the Son! All have been predestined through the Son to be the sons and daughters of God. Everyone! God is not willing that a single person perish, but that all should come to see and believe on the Son. The necessary requirement is that they only believe. We are not made righteous by a law of works, but by a law of faith, Paul writes! There is a law to obey, but it is the law of faith! Paul was sent to call the nations to the “obedience of faith” as he proclaimed the mystery of Christ to all people.
We are saved by pure grace, through faith! (Can’t wait for Clark’s book, “Pure Grace,” to be out there!) Jesus became sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. What a mystery! God saw me on the cross being judged for everything! Now when a person hears the good news of God’s complete forgiveness and believes on Jesus, the Spirit is then given to that person so that the believer is actually made one with Christ by a new creation. The new creation is awesome! New heart! New everything! In Christ, behold all things are now new! We wait only for the redemption of our body as our mind is being renewed every day to what now is in Christ.
What happens if someone does not believe? Then Christ died for that person in vain, the scripture teaches. The unbeliever will die in his sins and face the final judgment for all their sins because they did not pass through judgment for their sins on the cross in Christ and therefore could not be adopted by God. Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “I would have gathered you like a mother hen gathers her little chicks and protects them, but you would not.” He would, but they would not. God is love and true love is willing to be vulnerable. True love must allow another to choose to receive that love or not. He came to His own and many of His own did not receive Him. But to those who receive Him, to those are given the right to be called the sons and daughters of God!
Great is the mystery of our godliness! God gathered everything inside of Christ that He might destroy everything in judgment through the death of Christ on the cross so that He could begin a new creation that is without sin by the resurrection of Christ! For Daniel writes that when Messiah comes He will “make an end of sin, finish the transgression, reconcile all iniquity and bring in an everlasting righteousness!” Actual union with the Messiah is now the reality for the believer! As Paul joyously wrote, “It is of God that you are in Christ Jesus!” One!