Our union with Christ is at the very heart of our faith. We’re connected to Jesus, and through him receive all of God’s blessings. We share in a spiritual union with Jesus. We participate in his death, resurrection, and ascension. We’re transferred into his kingdom. And we’re members of his body together.
Our union with Christ shapes our identity. It enables us to escape the tyranny of Sin and Death. It shapes our new life in the kingdom of Christ.And it enriches our lives with meaningful community. There is really no aspect of the Christian life that union with Christ does not affect in some way. To be a Christian is, in fact, to be in union with Christ.
But like many truths of the Christian faith, union with Christ requires some reflection before it really sinks in. Our churches are not always good at teaching this theme. And in our own personal Bible reading we may skip over phrases like “in Christ,” “with Christ,” and so forth, without giving them much thought. My hope is that this booklet will inspire you to reflect on the riches of union with Christ.
First, reflect on your identity. Who are you? How has Jesus shaped your sense of yourself? How much has God’s blessings changed who you are?
Second, reflect on Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension. Don’t let these events just sit there, 2,000 years ago—like distant, ancient history. Realize that you’re connected to them, and that Jesus has taken you with him as he went through death, as he was raised again to life, and as he ascended to be with his Father in heaven.
Third, reflect on your new address in Jesus’s kingdom, under his leadership. How often do you remember that your spiritual home is not this world, with its values, priorities, and commitments? How does your spiritual home with Jesus affect your daily life?
Fourth, reflect on your membership in the body of Christ. How important are other believers to you? Do you feel connected to those who are also in Christ? What are some ways that your membership in the body of Christ can be expressed in your life?
Fifth, reflect on union with Christ language in the Bible. When you encounter “in Christ,” “with Christ,” “through Christ,” and other similar phrases, don’t just skip over them. Reflect on what they mean in their context. Why are they there? What do they mean? How do they contribute to the passage you’re reading?
Finally, and perhaps most important, reflect on Jesus. Who is he to you? Does he feel distant? Is he important but “out there” somewhere? Is he just the guy who died for your sins and now you listen to his teaching? How does your view of Jesus change when you think about him “in” you, and you “in” him?