Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Love for Union with Christ

As important as justification is, it is not the only fundamental doctrine of our salvation. And if there is any doctrine I love as much as justification, it must be the magnificent doctrine of union with Christ.

For me this doctrine was one of the marvelous discoveries of my seminary education. I had at least some familiarity with the several doctrines of soteriology—the so-called ordo salutis, or order of salvation. I had certainly heard of election and regeneration, of justification and sanctification, and perhaps of adoption and glorification. I had also read—or at least skimmed over—those two little words that appear so frequently together in the New Testament: in Christ. Yet no one had ever articulated for me the doctrine of union with Christ, the spiritual and theological reality that holds together the various benefits of salvation.

Many theologians view this doctrine as one of the keys to understanding the message of salvation. John Murray called union with Christ “the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.”...

To summarize, the great doctrinal realities of justification and union with Christ are closely inter-connected. Justification is one of the leading benefits of being united to Christ. The faith that justifies does so only and precisely because it also joins us to Christ. The very people who are united to Christ are the ones who are also declared righteous. This is part of what prevents justification by faith alone from being merely a legal fiction, as it is so frequently and so inaccurately alleged. Union with Christ is logically prior to justification by imputation. The declaration of our righteousness has a proper juridical basis in our true and covenantal connection to Jesus Christ. Indeed, union with Christ is the matrix in which imputation occurs. It is on the basis of our spiritual and covenantal union with Christ that our sins are imputed to him and his righteousness is imputed to us.

This is taken from Justification and Union with Christ by Phillip Ryken.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Before posting please read our Comment Policy here.

Think hard about this: the world is watching!