United with Christ

The following is one of the sweetest descriptions of the believers union with Christ I have read. The text originates from a fictional dialogue between a pastor, a legalist, an antinomian, and a young Christian, as written by Edward Fisher in his 1650 book The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Christian Focus, 2009). The Marrow Controversy is an important event that raised significant questions about how we should best explain the grace of God, the Christian life, and even the gospel! I think every Christian should be aware of the debate and I hope to write more about what this event in Church history can teach us.

But today I am simply pleased to announce a reissued and re-typeset version of Fisher’s classic by our friends at Christian Focus in Scotland. [Thank you!]

The following excerpt explains the reality of the Christian’s union with Christ and the far-reaching consequences of living consciously aware of this union. The language is beautiful.

The quote I’ve selected is taken from the fictional dialogue. You are about to read the words of a pastor as he speaks directly to a young Christian to help him grasp the significance of his union with Christ. I’ve divided the text to help in the process of reading and reflection. Hopefully you are not distracted. Sweet words!—

––––––––––––––––––

I tell you from Christ,
and under the hand of the Spirit,
that your person is accepted,
your sins are done away,
and you shall be saved;
and if an angel from heaven should tell you otherwise,
let him be accursed.

Therefore, you may (without doubt) conclude
that you are a happy man;
for by means of this your matching with Christ,
you are become one with him,
and one in him,
you ‘dwell in him, and he in you’ (1 John 4:13).

He is ‘your well beloved, and you are his’ (S. of S. 2:16).

So that the marriage union betwixt Christ and you
is more than a bare notion or apprehension of your mind;
for it is a
special,
spiritual, and
real union:
it is an union betwixt the nature of Christ,
God and man,
and you;
it is a knitting and closing,
not only of your apprehension with a Saviour,
but also of your soul with a Saviour.

Whence it must needs follow that you cannot be condemned,
except Christ be condemned with you;
neither can Christ be saved,
except you be saved with him.

And as by means of corporeal marriage all things become common betwixt man and wife;
even so, by means of this spiritual marriage,
all things become common betwixt Christ and you;
for when Christ hath married his spouse unto himself,
he passeth over all his estate unto her;
so that whatsoever Christ is or hath,
you may boldly challenge as your own.

‘He is made unto you, of God,
wisdom,
righteousness,
sanctification,
and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30).

And surely,
by virtue of this near union it is,
that as Christ is called ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (Jer. 23:6),
even so is the church called, ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (33:16).

I tell you,
you may,
by virtue of this union,
boldly take upon yourself,
as your own,
Christ’s watching,
abstinence,
travails,
prayers,
persecutions,
and slanders;
yea,
his tears,
his sweat,
his blood,
and all that ever he did
and suffered
in the space of three and thirty years,
with his
passion,
death,
burial,
resurrection,
and ascension;
for they are all yours.

And as Christ passes over all his estate unto his spouse,
so does he require that she should pass over all unto him.
Wherefore,
you being now married unto Christ,
you must give all that you have of your own unto him;
and truly you have nothing of your own
but sin,
and, therefore, you must give him that.

I beseech you, then,
say unto Christ with bold confidence,
I give unto thee, my dear husband,
my unbelief,
my mistrust,
my pride,
my arrogancy,
my ambition,
my wrath,
and anger,
my envy,
my covetousness,
my evil thoughts,
affections,
and desires;
I make one bundle of these and all my other offences,
and give them unto thee.

And thus was Christ made ‘sin for us, that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Cor. 5:21).

‘Now then,’
says Luther,
‘let us compare these things together,
and we shall find inestimable treasure.

Christ is full of
grace,
life,
and saving health;
and the soul is freight-full of all
sin,
death,
and damnation;
but let faith come betwixt these two,
and it shall come to pass,
that Christ shall be laden with
sin,
death,
and hell;
and unto the soul shall be imputed
grace,
life,
and salvation.

Who then is able to value the royalty of this marriage accordingly?

Who is able to comprehend the glorious riches of his grace,
where this rich and righteous husband,
Christ,
doth take unto wife this poor and wicked harlot,
redeeming her from all devils,
and garnishing her with all his own jewels?

So that you,
through the assuredness of your faith in Christ, your husband,
are delivered from all sins,
made safe from death,
guarded from hell,
and endowed with the
everlasting righteousness,
life,
and saving health
of this your husband Christ.’”

—Edward Fisher
, The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Christian Focus, 2009), pp. 166–167.

Posted on October 29, 2009, in BR > Christian Focus, Union with Christ. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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