Why unions matter

Jesus said some odd things in his life. Some things he said were sad, some were happy and some were awesome. In his humanity, terrified of the prospect the Father’s wrath being unleashed upon him, Jesus prayed. Against every normal human impulse, he prayed not for himself alone; but for those who would come after him. Jesus petitioned on behalf of future saints, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22). Sounds deep, but what does it mean that we receive glory and become one with God and Jesus?

One answer to that question is found in the book of Ephesians, and I think you will really like this answer. To lay the groundwork briefly, Paul explains that we are blessed in Christ (1:3, 6), chosen in Christ (1:4), given redemption from sins in Christ (1:7), that all things in heaven and earth are united in Christ (1:10), that in Christ we have an inheritance (1:11), that we hope in Christ (1:12),that in him we received the gospel (1:13) and in him we believed and were sealed with Spirit (1:13). I think Ephesians is trying to tell us something about our relationship with Christ, and its this: As Adam was the head of our old self, so now Christ is the head of our new self (cf. Rom 5:12ff; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 5:14ff; Col 2:11-12; 20; Col 3:1, 4, etc.), created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10).

We are Christ’s body, the fulness of him who fills all in all (cf. Eph. 1:23), and Christ rules everything for the church – viz. all of creation is for the benefit of the church, the congregation of believers in Christ; those who have Christ as their head and are moving from one level of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18). 

Now here is the amazing thing. Christ lived, died, rose again and was seated at the right hand of God in power. And so, since we are in Christ, this same power – with which God raised Jesus from the dead – works in us (Eph. 1:19-20). Now, we are made alive together with Jesus, have risen to the heights of heaven with him and have sat at the right hand of God with him (Eph. 2:5-6; cf. 1:3). What Christ experienced on earth, even his resurrection to power and authority with God in heaven, is granted to us! And so Peter can say “we have become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

From the prayer of the God-man Jesus before his passion comes an answer that has cosmic proportions – all things in heaven and earth are united in Christ as one (Eph. 1:10). For us, this means we presently possess every spiritual blessing, a divine nature that is free from sin, death and Satan. Free from the course of the world and free from slavery to passions (cf. Eph. 2:1-3). Yet also, in the future we will stand actually in the place wherein we stand positionally now. And there, God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

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