GBC Email Update March 16, 2023
In this week’s update, we’re going to continue our periodic series of exploring together the question:
How Does God Change Us?
So far, we’ve considered that God changes us by deepening. Into the real Christ, the One who is tender. Into our lack and despair. Through repentance and faith. That takes and turns us deeper into the grace of God.
This week, we’ll consider together: how do we turn deeper into the grace of God? In other words, how do we access him?
The answer is our union with Christ. The real reality of what it means to be a Christian . . . . our union with Christ which is what fosters growth.
Romans 6:1-5 focus on the real reality of our union with Christ and its life-giving implications. Romans 6:5 says:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
What does it mean to be “in” Christ? To be united to him?
As a Christian, you are united to Christ in basically two ways.
First, you are united to Christ in a macro, big picture kind of way. To be united in Christ means our destiny is bound up with his rather than Adam’s (1 Corinthians 15:22). You are either in Christ or you are in Adam. One or the other. If you are in Christ, you “shall be made alive.” If you are in Adam, “all die.” This is the big real reality of union with Christ.
Second, you’re united to Christ in the micro too. This is the daily, intimate real reality of our union with Christ. The Bible gives us so many pictures and images to express this amazing reality. Images like a vine and its branches or a head and other body parts.
Our salvation as Christians is to be united to the living Christ himself! And, in being united to him, you become who you are created to be. Our union with Christ has tremendous implications and power for our day-to-day lives. For our desires to experience change.
About our union with Christ, author Dane Ortlund wrote:
“In that most intimate of unions, we are given back our true selves. You become the you that you were meant to be. You recover your original destiny. You realize that your existence out of Christ was a shadow of what you were made to be. In other words, it is only in union with Christ that you can grow into who God made you to be.”
How does our union with Christ cultivate growth and change?
To answer a question with a question . . . . how could it not?!!?
Our growth, our change, as Christians takes place in the glorious reality, even inevitability and invincibility, of being in Christ.
Christian, you are truly, powerfully, and securely united to Christ. You can never be disunited from him! Because it’s his power and his life that united you to him.
At the very core of who you are as a Chrisitan, is that you are united to Christ. As Ortlund writes:
“This is the most irreducible reality about you. Peel everything else away, and the solid, immovable truth about you is your union with a resurrected Christ.”
This means nothing can touch you that does not touch Christ! Because you really are in Christ.
When the change you long for feels impossible, when you feel stuck, deepen into your union with Christ. When your sins seem insurmountable, Christ and your union with him loom larger still. As far as the sin in your life reaches, Christ and your union with him reach further. “As deep as your failure goes, Christ and your union with him go deeper still.”
Because you are united in Christ, you have been strengthened with the power to fight and overcome sin. Because the power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you! A living and active power . . . . because he resides in you. And, you in him (Romans 8:1).
When you sin, when you feel stuck, don’t give up but deepen. Your union with Christ is your core identity and being in Christ defines your existence. Because you really are in Christ, and he really is in you. We have his word on it (John 14:20).
How does God change us? By deepening. Because we are in Christ.
I pray your union with Christ will strengthen you this week. May it breathe fresh life into your places of unbelief and exhaustion, into the shadows of your life, into those places you long for change. Press into the deep reality and fullness and glory and joy of your union with Christ. He in you. And, you in him.
Your Brother in Christ,