The Many Benefits of Union

In Christ Jesus_header

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. (Eph 1:3, GNB)

You may know that you are blessed in your new life, but you may not know that 100 percent of your blessings come as the result of being one with Christ. Let us consider some of these blessings, starting with salvation.

1. Salvation

What exactly is the basis for your salvation? It is your union with Christ. You are not saved because you said the magic words of a sinner’s prayer. You are saved because you are one with the Lord and his saving life is your life. Paul said he endured all things so others may “obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10).

We mislead people when we sell salvation as a ticket to heaven. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just woefully incomplete. Salvation is not about being put into a lifeboat but being put into Jesus (Ephesians 1:13). Besides, those in lifeboats aren’t really saved. They still need to be rescued. This is why Christians with a lifeboat mentality are anxious and fearful. Bobbing around in the ocean of their insecurity, they have no assurance that they are actually saved. Perversely, they fear Judgment Day more than the average sinner. Not us. We are as secure as the Savior himself. We fear no condemnation because there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

2. Holiness

How is it that we dare to call ourselves a holy people? It is because Jesus is holy and we are in him. Paul said of the most misbehaving bunch of Christians in the Bible that they were “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:2). So were you. When did this happen? It didn’t happen when you attended that holiness retreat. It happened when you were dipped into the Holy One by the Holy Spirit. Some Christians act holier-than-thou, as if there were levels to holiness, but there’s only one level and it’s his level. Jesus is your holiness. You don’t have to sweat your way to sainthood for you are already numbered among the saints in Christ Jesus.

3. Righteousness

Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21, GNB)

How can we presume to call ourselves righteous? Because the vine is righteous and he shares his righteousness with his branches. How could he not? Since we are inextricably joined together it is meaningless to speak of one kind of righteousness for the vine and another for the branches. We are just as righteous as he is.

These New Testament revelations exceed the wildest dreams of the Old Testament prophets. Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of the righteous One and foresaw a righteous Branch (Is 24:16 and Jer 23:5, 33:15). They could not imagine that the Branch would become a vine reproducing itself in millions upon millions of little righteous branches. They saw the coming Christ but not the coming Christians who now carry his life and nature and who have been made the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

The blessings of our union are many and I could keep going. Indeed, I will. Like Paul, my prayer is that you will have “a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ” (Phm 1:6, GNB).

4. Freedom

How is it that we can live free from the demands of the law? The Gentile believers who walked in this revelation scandalized the Jews of the first century. “Who are these Johnny-come-latelies who dare to claim all the blessings of the law while ignoring all of its curses?” We are the happy branches of a vine who fulfilled the law on our behalf. It’s really not that complicated. Since the vine is blessed, his branches must be blessed too. How could it be otherwise?

5. Authority

What about our authority? On what grounds can we call ourselves the head and not the tail? What right do we have to speak to storms, cast out demons, and heal the sick? All together now—it is because we are wedded to the One who holds all authority in heaven and earth. Our bodies may be here, but we are seated together with God in heaven in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

We read that Jesus sits waiting for his enemies to be placed under his feet (1 Cor 15:25). We also read that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet (Rom 16:20). So under whose feet is the enemy going? His. Ours. All of the above. Since we are in union with the One who has defeated the enemy, we are already victorious in Christ Jesus. Our part is to stomp.

6. And many more…

The list of benefits goes on and on. We have forgiveness in him. We are perfect in him. We are reconciled through him. Peace, joy, provision, and everything besides, comes to us through our union with Jesus Christ.

For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things … (1 Corinthians 1:5, GNB)

Do you see it yet? You are mightily blessed because of your union with the Lord. Your needs are not met through prayer, fasting, and Bible study. Neither are they met by sowing into this ministry or signing up for that class. Whatever your need, your abundant supply is found in Christ Jesus.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

The purpose of union

The blessings of our union with Christ are many and wonderful, but they pale in comparison to the ultimate purpose of union, which is to share in his life. Why did God make us? It was so we could participate in the abundant and overflowing life found within the Godhead. We were created to love and be loved and to enjoy fellowship with the One who made us.

For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name … (Isaiah 54:5)

In a word, it’s all about Jesus. Jesus is both the means for our union and union’s true object. Life without Jesus doesn’t satisfy and doesn’t last. Only in him do we live and move and have our being.

Jesus came to give us abundant life, and that life is found in him. Again, we can miss it when we seek the gifts independently of the Giver. Eternal life, for instance, is not more of the same old, broken-down life we inherited from Adam. It is a wholly new life that comes from knowing God and walking in the new way of the Spirit.

GITW_sideWhen Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), he was rejoicing in his co-baptism and resurrection with Jesus. Paul understood there is no real life outside of Christ and those who seek to live independently on the basis of their own wits and resources ultimately lose their true selves. But when you abandon yourself totally to him, then you discover who you really are. Then you really live.

Extracted from chapter 4 “Union,” The Gospel in Ten Words.

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50 Comments on The Many Benefits of Union

  1. Eencourager // January 4, 2018 at 7:31 am // Reply

    AWESOME, PAUL!

  2. Salvation – not just for going to heaven, I wholeheartedly agree.

    You say Holiness, but don’t really tell us what it’s for. Why is holiness important, what does that give us?

    Righteousness/Freedom – Freedom frame shame lightens our hearts so that we can follow His leading and make a difference. Daring to believe.

    You list Authority and gave the verse from Ephesians – but how many Christians walk around casting out devils and healing the sick. In my denomination you say you’re casting out a devil and you’re going to get looked at like you’re crazy.

    What I’ve found is that words are nice, but we’ve spent so long telling people of all these internal “benefits” of salvation, but they need more. They need God in their lives making a difference. They need to understand that salvation means that God wants to come and walk with me like He did with Adam in the garden. Not the “relationship” we often preach that sounds like reading tea leaves to find God’s will, but the relationship that is available of hearing His voice in your heart, of seeing the will of God as Jesus did ( I only do what I see the Father doing ). There’s a walk with God where He can become our best friend, and not our pen-pal. That’s what I think people need to hear.

    • 1. Please search the Archives > Subject Index for articles on the meaning of holiness. It’s a very important subject. (I may add a link to the article.)

      2. I agree that not every Christian is in the habit of healing the sick and casting out demons. This is a shame because it is better to be healthy than sick and free than oppressed. I don’t think Jesus would’ve cared much if people looked at him like he was crazy for healing the sick.

      3. I would go even further. God is more than our best friend, he’s our Father who cares for us and desires to be active in our lives. The benefits of union are thoroughly practical and real if we take God at his word (see pt 2 above). God does indeed make a difference, as you say.

      • Indeed, he makes more of a difference when we awaken to the benefits than he ever can by our efforts to be different than we were! My heart sings while I read this article. It’s the topic of the year for me!

  3. This is so good and so important. I started in grace for a while before I got a hold of this truth. I knew I was on the right path, but I still never experienced the life I was expecting until I understood abiding in the Vine. It’s not at all complicated, it’s just hard to grasp and accept after spending a lifetime in religion. The one most important thing I want to pass on to my kids is abiding in Jesus. Of course there are other important truths that are closely related like knowing His true nature and knowing the value and beauty He sees in us, which can be seen by the points that were made in this post.

  4. Ronald Giesbrecht // January 4, 2018 at 7:53 am // Reply

    Obviously Peter understood this concept so he could so boldly tell the believers he wrote to in 2 Peter 1:4….Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus our Lord,as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,through the knowledge of Him who has called us by glory and virtue.

  5. Fantastic Paul, here is an invitation to leave fear-based, legalistic religion behind and enter the abundant life that Jesus promised us. Beautifully written!

  6. Ken A Butdorf // January 4, 2018 at 3:07 pm // Reply

    One of your best yet Paul. Thx.

  7. Such an encouraging true post, thank you Paul. Feeling very blessed to be in union with Jesus and be a righteous branch of the Life giving Vine.

  8. BRUCE L LEANE // January 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm // Reply

    Spot on mate I love it and all your writings .We are right with you thrilled to be a part of what God is doing

  9. Great article. Blessed to share on my page as well!. Grace to you Paul

  10. Dear Paul, you are such an annointed son of God whom God has raised up to encourage and edify His church. May our Father in Heaven continue to shower you and your family with such blessings that you continuously overflow with wonderful revelations of our Lord Jesus Christ and His perfectly perfect and completely complete work at the cross. Shalom, Melvyn Ong.

  11. I am a Believer in Christ Jesus. This write up of yours has really uplifted me. But i have one question. I still tell lies and do some wrong things like anger and so on. Then the question that plaques me is this, Am i still a child of God? If Jesus comes back today will I be raptured with Him? So, I like to know what it means by living a holy life please. Does it mean children of God no longer sin? Your reply is highly appreciated.

    Florence

    PS: I would like to quickly add that i dont enjoy sinning though. I kicked myself any time i told a lie or did something wrong, but I just cant help myself and this gets me fraustrated. What should I do?

    • You are always and eternally a child of God. The fact that you don’t enjoy sinning testifies to the fact that sinning runs contrary to your new nature. Making mistakes is pretty normal and learning how to walk after the new way of the Spirit takes some time. You can find articles on how to do this in the Archives. Be blessed.

    • Florence, you are loved beyond imagination. God’s grace is aimed at you like a laser cannon. Learning to walk in (absorbing and being transformed by) these truths is not automatic. It requires “growth”. We should all rejoice in the level of understanding and faith that we currently have, and know that more will be added as we grow in Christ. Here’s something that really helped me: don’t think of yourself as being a person that is a soul and body, that has a spirit. Rather, you ARE A SPIRIT, that happens to have a soul and body. The real you is spirit. And your spirit (real you) is perfectly clean and untouched by this fallen, dark world or the sins your flesh gets wrapped up in. The real you is holy, sinless and actually seated with Christ right now. That’s the union Paul is writing about. That’s the union we need to learn to live from. Our flesh (avatar in this world, if you will) is so easily pulled in every sinful direction by appetites and attractions that the world has programed to trigger at its controller’s will. It’s an ugly, evil scenario. But Christ has rescued us. Our flesh was never meant to have victory over this world’s pull. Our triumph over the struggle you described, Florence, is found, not in your willpower, but in your submission power. We must stop taking our cues from this world and be calm and listen to our Spirit union with Christ. Jesus is our supply. When you feel “full” and desire to give to this world rather than consume from it, you are on the right track. God bless you, Florence. Keep reading Paul’s site.

  12. Keith Pinke // January 5, 2018 at 3:37 am // Reply

    This is the door of life in a nutshell. You have to grab a hold of this understanding to have the peace, joy, and victory in Jesus that scripture screams at us to enjoy. The Word is full of promises and Christ does not lie. We just need to let go of self and grab on to the Savior. Thanks Paul.

  13. Willy Torresin // January 5, 2018 at 7:07 am // Reply

    I’d like to have permission to translate this post into Portuguese.

  14. Florence sin consciousness is a curse, it will keep you looking at your failures and not at our being ‘In Christ’. None of us will ever be perfect in our actions, thoughts etc, only Jesus could perfectly fulfill those requirements. And thank God, Jesus has given us His perfect report card! Our old mentality of ‘wanting to do something to get something’ = self righteousness…. is the only thing that needs kicking. Florence, how many people do you think will be raptured if it is on the basis of having to live a perfect sinless life?

    The devil would love to have us mindful of our failures, and condemnation is his way of destroying us…and destroy us it will. God wants us mindful of how perfect He has made us, we are in Jesus the Perfect One.

    Many people have been gloriously set free from condemnation and things that have held them captive, by saying…in the midst of their failings…that they are the righteousness of God…which is the truth, for we are In Christ! We are changed by looking at Jesus, not by looking at ourselves. We are a New Creation, the old living by the Law has passed away. Many weary children of God are realizing this truth and God is healing our hearts. God bless you Florence.

  15. William MacDonald // January 5, 2018 at 9:41 am // Reply

    ‘THE GOSPEL IN TEN WORDS’ is an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as did my wife. Well worth a read!

  16. Clayton "Scott" // January 5, 2018 at 11:56 am // Reply

    I love your posts Paul, a real blessing. Just to let you know, i bought a dozen of your book “Stuff Jesus Never Said” and distributed them freely. Got the best results at the hospital where I understand it was shared (and considered a blessing ) by many many people. God bless you and your family.

  17. Stella Emmanuel // January 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm // Reply

    Thanks well written.

  18. I feel I’ve already lost my true self. But right on time comes the encouragement of the Father to lift me up when I am completely lost.

  19. Thank you for your excellent article.
    I believe God calls this mystery (union) hidden for ages and generations, loaded with riches and glory, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:26-27).
    May there be more preaching and unveiling of the riches of the glory of Christ in us to strengthen the Church. So that people everywhere will come to our light and to the brightness of our rising (Isaiah 60:3).

  20. Davina Chike-Okoro // January 13, 2018 at 8:21 am // Reply

    Thank you so much for this! God bless you

  21. Good stuff Brother as usual. Being told you already holy is a shock to many Christians. If they’d get off the religious treadmill of performance, and effort and achievements they’d better hear and see and understand the Gospel of Grace and New Covenant!

  22. Chimnonso Aniebo // January 15, 2018 at 9:54 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul.

  23. Thank you so much for your teaching which is really helping me on my journey of grace-knowing who I am in Christ

  24. Stella Emmanuel // January 23, 2018 at 10:28 am // Reply

    Well explained,thnks

  25. Tom Ludemann // January 25, 2018 at 4:51 am // Reply

    Hi What a Life changing word from the Lord. He lives as us! Astounding truth. This message is the key reason my wife and I became Patreons. We continue to buy many copies of “Stuff Jesus never said” and give them away freely. Thanks Paul

  26. This is the GoodNews
    The Jesus..
    Thank paul!

    • Paul have you heard of the book “ the rest of the gospel” by Dan stone? It’s an excellent book on our union with Christ.

      • No, I haven’t. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Funny, I’m reading that book right now. Read it a few years ago and I’m going back for a second round. Excellent book, indeed. It’s amazing how much difference a few years makes… how much more you can see.

  27. J.T. Hendrix // March 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm // Reply

    Such a great article, Paul. I needed to read and remember! God bless you, hermano!!

  28. Hotzpacho // June 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm // Reply

    If we have life in Jesus and he’s the vine and we are the branches then that means immortality in the physical body is somehow possible because the vine does not die. When we as people die in this world we must have somehow become detached in our mind from the vine.

    • I like your idea because it’s bold and easily testable. All you need is to find someone who’s been around for hundreds of years and you’ll have the proof you need.

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