Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology describes union with Christ as a phrase that summarizes several different relationships between believers and Christ. Through these relationships with Christ, 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. The key union with Christ Scriptures are Colossians 2:8-10; 3:8-11 and Ephesians 4:20-24.
Mike Barrett, in his work, Complete in Him, details five aspects of our union with Christ. 1) We are united with Christ our representative. In other words, we have a legal standing before God because we are in Christ (Rom 5:12-19). 2) We are united with Christ mystically; we are really attached to Christ based upon His death, burial, and resurrection for us (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4). 3) We are united with Christ vitally; we have real, genuine life from Christ (Gal 2:20). 4) We are united with Christ intimately; we are married to Christ (Jn 17:23). 5) We are united with Christ eternally; we are in Christ forever (Eph 1:4; Rev 22:4).
These wonderful declarations of scripture regarding union with Christ are not devoid of real life tensions. One of the tensions we experience in the Christian life is learning how to reconcile being complete in Christ with the everyday storms of life. To be more specific, sometimes it is hard to apply our status in Christ with the ongoing difficulties of life.
I am complete in Christ, but I have cancer.
I am complete in Christ, but I am living through a divorce.
I am complete in Christ, but my son just moved in with his girlfriend.
I am complete in Christ, but I can’t pay this month’s mortgage.
I am complete in Christ, but ….
So what do we do? It would be easy to pull back, to give up, or to look for some other source of comfort or another object of trust. But if you are shopping for another object of trust to navigate the difficulties of life, what are your options? According to the Psalmist (146) it is either dying men or the living God.
You see, when you are complete in Christ, Christ is your object of trust; He is your anchor for every storm of life. You see, when I am complete in Christ, I am satisfied with Christ in the midst of life’s storms.
Why? He is the maker of heaven and earth who redeemed me; He is the one who remains faithful to me in every storm of life; He is the one who protects me; He is the one who provides for me when I am hungry and the hurting; He is the one who delivers and leads me through the situation; He is the one who gives me wisdom to understand my storm in light of His Word; He is the one who lifts me up when I humbly trust Him; He is the one who loves the righteous; He is the one who sustains me when I am all-alone; He is the one frustrates the plans and intentions of the wicked; He is my King who reigns forever.
Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.
Jesus, draw me ever nearer.