Friday, May 4, 2018

Young Men and Women, Consider the Union with Jesus

Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?"
(1 Corinthians 6:15, NLT)

One of the most important doctrines (teachings) relating to the inner spiritual life of the believer is that of his union with Jesus Christ – we are “parts of Christ.” Indeed it could be claimed that it is our only hope of victory over sin and of triumph in the testing circumstances of life, and of abundant and prosperity of life! Yet many Christians do not know that they have been united with Christ and that Christ is in them and them in Christ. If we realize that we “are actually parts of Christ” – union with Him – everything He accomplished by His life, death and resurrection become ours.

Several figures are used in Scripture to illustrate this wonderful and mysterious union. There is the figure of marriage: “Now you are united (or married) with the one who was raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4). This is the highest and most intimate union known to man and is a picture of Christ and His Church. Marriage “is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (read Ephesians 5:31-33).

There is the figure of the body and the head. “…growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” (Ephesians 4:15). This picture here is of mutual dependence through sharing the same life. The smallest member of the body shares the life of the head.

Jesus also used the figure of the vine and the branches. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5). The vine and the branches are one. Neither can exist independently of the other but it is the vine that supplies the nutrients and sap to the branches for fruit-bearing. The sole responsibility of the branch is to receive from the root and stem the vital, nourishing fluid. Then fruit-bearing is automatic and inevitable!

To Hudson Taylor, the great missionary, at a time when he was heavily burdened, the fact of the union of the believer with Christ as illustrated by the vine and the branches brought a transformation of experience to him. Here are his own words: “Here I feel is the secret. Not asking how I am to get the sap out of the vine into myself, but remember that Jesus is the Vine – root, stem, branches, leaves, twigs, flowers, fruit. Let us not want to get anything out of Him, but rejoice in ourselves being in Him. I have not got to make myself a branch. The Lord tells me I am a branch. I am part of Him and have just to believe and act on it.

We are parts of Christ.
Believe and act on it!

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