Friday, June 28, 2013

The Definition of Union with Christ from Con Campbell

I thought this was a helpful section from Constantine Campbell's book, "Paul and Union With Christ." Understanding union with Christ is basic to being a Christian and living as a Christian. If you are a Christian, you should read this because it is essential to your life, and if you don't understand it, you should seek understanding. Here is the section:

"In no particular order, the following observations must inform our definition of union with Christ.

First, union with Christ involves our location within the realm of Christ. Believers are situated under his rule, and our lives are conducted within the spiritual sphere of his dominion. This reality informs the nature of the Christian life as the lordship of Christ defines appropriate behavior within his realm and characterizes our being, especially in contradistinction to existence within the realm of sin and death.

[Second] related to location, union with Christ involves the identification of believers with Christ. Situated within the realm of his rule, believers' identity is shaped by their belonging to Christ, the Second Adam. We are marked off as his rather than belonging to Adam, and this is to shape believers' sense of who they are and to whom they owe allegiance.

Third, union with Christ involves the participation of believers in the events of Christ's narrative, including his death and burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification. Believers are described as having died with Christ, having been raised with him, and so forth, such that the significance of these events pertain to us as it pertains to him.

Fourth, union with Christ also involves incorporation of believers into his body, temple, church, and building. Believers are grafted into a community that is founded, shaped, and directed by Christ. Their belonging to this Christ-community affects how they are to live in a way that honors the body. Thus, belonging to Christ means that we belong to one another....

Fifth, union with Christ involves the way in which he [Christ] effects the will of God toward us. Christ is the instrument of God's agency for the benefit of humanity, and this role is largely mediatorial. Thus one aspect of our union with Christ is that it enables us to partake in the blessings of God. Apart from Christ, we are without God and without his acts toward us.

Sixth, union with Christ involves the inner life of the Trinity. It refers to the Father's relationship to the Son, and their union in the Spirit; it does not merely pertain to the relationship of believers to Christ. The Father's will is enacted through the Son, by the Spirit, for the glory of Christ and the benefit of humanity. This represents the other side of the mediatorial function of union with Christ; God the Father acts towards humanity through the Son and by virtue of his union with him.

Seventh, union with Christ involves an actual spiritual union with him. Believers are described as being 'in' Christ and he being in them such that there is a mutual indwelling by the Spirit. Likened to a nuptial union, this mutual indwelling appears to be derivative of the nature of relationships within the inner life of the Godhead, in which the Father, Son, and Spirit co-inhere one another. As the Father indwells the Son, so the Son indwells his people. Consequently, there is some sense in which believers participate in the 'divine-nature-of-relating', while not themselves becoming divine. Such union with Christ does not compromise the personhood of Christ or the believer, since 'each retains his own personality and they are not fused by one person absorbing the other'.

Eighth, union with Christ has eschatological dimensions. This is implicit through Paul's references to the realm of Christ and participation in Christ's resurrection in particular. The realm of Christ is an eschatological entity in which the future age of righteousness has broken into the present world, set in opposition to the realm of sin and death. Moreover, Christ's resurrection 'in the middle of time', as it were, is an eschatological inbreaking of the future resurrection of the dead. To participate, then, in Christ's resurrection is to partake in an eschatological event. Furthermore, the synthesis between union with Christ and justification involves eschatological overtones, since justification---in connection to resurrection---is the eschatological declaration of righteousness brought into the present time."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Preparing for Judgment

Rewrote this hymn and added a verse. We all will face judgment. Nothing is more important than living a life prepared for that judgment, and only repentance and faith that flow from union with Christ in his dying and rising will make us ready.

Christ the Lord is Coming, John Proclaimed, Announced

To the tune: WEM IN LEIDENSTAGEN ( click on Glory Be to Jesus 158). Based on Luke 3:1-14. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Christ the Lord is coming,
John proclaimed, announced:
soon the King is coming,
sin must be renounced.

v. 2
Sin must be forsaken,
lives must bear their fruit.
Hypocrites who bear not,
cut off at the root.

v. 3
Find your life in Jesus,
in the Righteous Vine.
Let your soul lean on Him,
near His heart recline.

v. 4
Let the stingy share with
those who do not have.
Live in Christ the Righteous,
not as wicked chaff.

v. 5
Let the greedy give up,
vain and worthless things.
Find in Christ contentment,
worship Christ your King.

v. 6
Let the false, dishonest,
turn away from gain.
Seek the Lamb who suffered,
who in heaven reigns.

v. 7
Praise to You, O Jesus,
whom the Father sent.
By Your Spirit grant us,
hearts that will repent.

v. 8
Judgment soon is coming,
Jesus will return.
In repentance daily,
may his path we learn.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Connection Between Lust and Pride and the Need to Die with Christ

From Tim Challies:

"The one who looks with lust has placed himself at the very center of the universe and functionally believes that others exist for his pleasure. In pride he elevates himself to the place of God. People do not exist to bring glory to God, but to bring pleasure to him. Another person’s worth can be determined by her potential to bring him pleasure. Her value is not in bearing God’s image, but in her ability to please the looker.

"As he looks he evaluates, and if she meets his criteria he deems her valuable; this may be where a full-out sexual fantasy begins, for his heart screams that it will be satisfied only by having her, by conquest, by making her worship him with her body. If she fails to meet his criteria, she has no great value and can be judged as lacking, unfit, unsuitable, unworthy. She fails to meet the standards of this deity and is passed over. Do you see the overwhelmingly ugly pride of it?

The way to stop the look is not simply to modify behavior—to train yourself to bounce your eyes, as some authors suggest—but to realign your heart. The look will stop when the evaluation stops. The evaluation will stop only as you dethrone yourself, when you learn to see every person as significant in and of himself or herself, when you see others through the eyes of God. And this is where you see again the power of preaching the gospel to yourself, of knowing, living and breathing the gospel. The gospel reminds you of who you are (a sinner!) and what you have received (grace!) and must therefore generate humility. It lays you on your face before the One who sits upon that throne, reminding you that he is the center of history, the center of the universe, while you are not. As the gospel enthrones the Savior, it dethrones the sinner."

The whole article is here:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Repentance/Dying is Painful

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)

Arthur Just writes:

"If the sword is Jesus' preaching, which pierces Israel---represented here by one Israelite woman, Mary---then the statement makes perfect sense. Throughout the Gospel, the thoughts of many continue to be revealed because of their reactions to Jesus and his proclamation. Mary the woman, as part of Israel and as the mother of Jesus, will feel the pain of Jesus' words and his crucifixion. She herself will be pierced by Jesus' teaching, especially when he speaks about blood relationships giving way to the new family of the church. All believers (including Mary) will belong to this family, consisting of "those who hear the Word of God and do it" (8:19-21). And the mother of Jesus will be pierced at the cross as she watches her son die the humiliating death of crucifixion. Like every other participant in Jesus' life, Mary, Israelite and mother, will experience sharp pain because of Jesus' teaching and death."

So much for your best life now!  Repentance/dying is painful!

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