Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Union with Christ, part 7

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that often we are guilty of thinking of and talking about the doctrine of election in a vacuum, detached from anything corporate and detached from the Elect One, Christ himself. The same can be true when

    Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners…

    we think about the doctrine of justification. Luther, for example, said that the doctrine of justification was the doctrine upon which the church stood or fell. Taken by itself, this statement could suggest that justification is something that stands or falls by itself; that it is not tied to or related to anything else. As we will see, this is not the case. In fact, what we learn is that just like with election, justification is an aspect of our union with Christ.
    The Westminster Larger Catechism defines … Read More »

  • Union with Christ, part 6

    Last week we looked at the relationship between our union with Christ and election and next week we will consider the relationship between our justification and our union with him. This week, however, we speed ahead to the end because the passage before us speaks so clearly to it. Here we see how our union with Christ relates to our eternal victory and reign in glory.

    The letter written to the church which resided in Thyatira ends the way all of the other letters do, with an exhortation to perseverance and a promise for those who do it. Jesus speaks of this perseverance using warlike language. The one who perseveres is the one who conquers. The promise is articulated by Jesus in Revelation 2:26-27,

    Now not only will He crush his enemies but we, through him, will too.

    The one who … Read More »

  • Union with Christ, part 5

    If you were like me, it was the doctrine of election and predestination that were like a gateway drug leading to the unthinkable, the baptizing of little babies—which is to say, a full-blown embrace of Reformed theology. That said, I was guilty of thinking about election and predestination in a way that, while true, was nonetheless incomplete. My shortcoming was that I thought about election and predestination in a fiercely individualistic way. I thought about it and talked about it as if it hovered about all by itself, detached from everything else that has been revealed to us in God’s word. I thought about and talked about this doctrine in the abstract, as if it could stand or fall by itself. Interestingly enough, this was the critique of Jacobus Arminius about Calvinists. Speaking about Arminus, the sixteenth century reformed theologian … Read More »

  • Union with Christ, part 4

    I got goose bumps when I read these words by Robert Letham,

    Since we are united to Christ, God regards us in the identical way he does Christ. The Father treats us exactly the same way as he does his one eternal and beloved Son. (p. 53)

    Have you ever read something so remarkable? This is who we are in Christ and this is how we stand before God because we have been justified by Christ. In a word, this is who we are because we have been united to Christ.

    God regards us just as he regards Christ.

    But how is it that we become united to our Savior? Of course, the answer includes grace and faith. But even here we have to be careful. We must always remember that faith is effective not in itself but because it unites us … Read More »