What does it mean when I say that I am a Christian? How is Christ a part of my life and how does He change my life? I am reading a wonderful book entitled One With Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson. He brings out some wonderful insights as to what it means for us as Christians to be united to Christ and I would like to share some of his thoughts with you:
“To say that our union with Christ occurs by the power of the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is Himself the bond which unites us to the living Christ. Christ sent the Spirit not so that we might have a roughly suitable replacement in His absence, but that we might enjoy the actual presence of Christ (through the Spirit). The Spirit is the personal manner or mode of Christ dwelling in us. Thus, in the scriptures we see that the presence of the Spirit is closely associated with the presence of Christ, and the Spirit is even called the “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9-11). Christ sending of the Spirit means that, through the indwelling of the Spirit, Christ is in us and we are in Him (John 14:16-20). Notice His words in this passage: ‘I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you’. Jesus did not send an alternative but His very presence through the Spirit. The Spirit did not come to mediate His own presence, to glorify His own name, to teach us about Himself, or to form the body of the Spirit. The Spirit was not incarnated, crucified, or resurrected for our salvation. The Spirit came to make Christ known, to glorify Christ’s name, to teach us about Christ, and to form us together as the body of Christ (John 15:26).
The heart of the Spirit’s ministry is to join us to the incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended, and living Lord Jesus Christ. J. I. Packer writes that ‘the distinctive, constant, basic ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant is…to mediate Christ’s presence to believers’”.
I hope you can see from this article that our relationship with Jesus Christ is personal and intimate. In Ephesians 5: 29-32 Paul said: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The profound mystery is that Christ and His bride the church have become one flesh. This intimacy is illustrated with the personal intimacy shared by husband and wife, the most intimate of all unions. We are supposed to understand our union with Christ in a way that approximates, but exceeds this closeness.
Not only should we appreciate this in our daily walk with Christ but how much more should we understand intimacy with Christ when we come to the table where Christ has given His entire self to us and asks us to give our entire self to Him in return.
As was quoted in the above article, in John 14:18, Jesus said: “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you”. This means that in an impersonal world we have not been abandoned and cared for by no one. Jesus Christ is here telling us that no matter what our condition in life, whether we have much or little, any friends or none, He is the only one who sticks to us closer than a brother. May we always cherish this union with Christ, not only more and more in our daily living but also in our worship.