Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 5 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 22 September 2017

The longing is in our soul, too, because God put it there when He made us in His own image. In our fallen condition, we may not be always aware of this longing. But we can certainly feel its symptoms, which are powerful themselves. We have many legitimate desires: for food and water, for comfort and rest, for pleasure and happiness, for knowledge and growth, for approval and praise, for companionship and love, etc. We can say that God Himself put these desires in us because He made us psycho-somatic beings.

 

 

According to other religions, salvation is presented in individual terms—whether it is enlightenment or perfection. But Christianity presents salvation as communal or covenantal—that is, in our covenantal union with God. Not only that, we are saved as members of the body of Christ, in a community, not as separate individuals. You can see why. Our redemption cannot be complete without meeting this greatest and most fundamental desire of our being. It was for this that God made man in the beginning. God did not create man out of some kind of need or lack in Himself. God is self-existent and self-sufficient. God created man, not out of any need in Him, but out of His overflowing abundance. He created man because He desired other moral beings to experience His happiness and joy in communion with Him! It is through union with Christ that God grants us the full satisfaction of our deepest longing. Our salvation is not in getting every spiritual blessing from Christ; rather, each spiritual blessing is an aspect of enjoying Christ in His multi-faceted and all-sufficient love for us. God is the Fount of every blessing because He is the essence of all that is good. God is the Fount of life and He is the Life. God is the Creator of all and He is all in all. Christ is the Savior and He is the Salvation. Let us learn to be content with Christ. Let us learn to glory in Christ and boast in Him as our greatest Treasure and Friend!

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 4 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 21 September 2017

But there is more to our union with Christ. It is not just in the virtue or authority of Christ that we enjoy every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This is a legal union of sorts. We have many examples of this type of union in life. It is also a mystical union. It is also an organic union. What does all this say about how we receive all the elements of ordo salutis in Christ? We said “in Christ” means “in the authority and virtue of Christ.” We now see that this is not just His divine authority we are speaking of. It is also His authority and virtue that comes from His work and experience. Our Savior went through all the elements of the order of salvation Himself. Let’s see what this means:

Our calling is in Christ because He was called as our covenant Representative and Substitute.
Our regeneration is in Christ because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit as the Second Adam to start a new race of people who are born of the Spirit.
Our conversion is in Christ. Conversion consists of faith and repentance. It’s for sinners to turn away from the path of rebellion toward the path of obedience and righteousness. Jesus obviously didn’t need to be converted. But He submitted Himself to John’s baptism, which was a baptism of repentance! Thus He united Himself with us and identified Himself with our condition. And as our Champion, He turned the direction of our life from the path of rebellion and destruction toward the path of righteousness and life He did this so we can turn around in His “conversion”—obviously, not from His own sinful life, but from our sinful life as our Substitute.
Our justification is in Christ because Jesus was justified by His life of perfect righteousness and imputes (or, gives the credit of) His righteousness to us.
Our adoption is in Christ because Jesus was “adopted” as God’s Redeemer-Son by His resurrection in addition to being God’s Creator-Son.
Our sanctification is in Christ because Jesus canceled the debt of sin by His death and gives (or imparts) the power of His righteousness to us so we can overcome sin and conform to His image more and more.
Our glorification is in Christ because He is our Head and we are glorified as His body.

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 3 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 20 September 2017

The spiritual blessings we have in Christ consist of, but are not limited to, all the elements of ordo salutis. So then, what does it mean that we have received every spiritual blessing in Christ?

First, it means that we have received all spiritual blessings in the power or virtue of Jesus Christ, on His credit. How could God choose us before the foundation of the world (v. 4)? This election was obviously for our redemption and redemption is for sinners. It was possible, then, only because God chose His Son to be the Savior of His elect people. How about predestining us for adoption as sons (v. 5)? Can fallen sinners ever hope to be adopted as God’s children? Of course not! This is possible only because God’s chosen Redeemer is God’s only Son. And if God could bless us with grace (v. 6), it’s only because His beloved Son fulfilled the covenant of works as our Champion and Representative. 

 

It is obvious how we could have redemption (v. 7): it is because Jesus purchased us with His blood from the bondage of sin and death. And how can we ever expect God to reveal the mystery of His will to us (v. 9)? This is the kind of thing a person does with his closest friend or confidant. It is only because Christ as the Son knows His Father’s will and He as our Savior reconciled us to God. If God could plan to unite all things (v. 10)—not just Jews and Gentiles but also man and the whole universe and man and God—it is because Jesus is the eternal Son of God, sovereign Lord of all, and Redeemer of His people.

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 2 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 19 September 2017

We can see why this is such an important concept. In our journey through ordo salutis, we have stressed that salvation is from sin in all its aspects—from its punishment, from its power, from its presence, and even from its possibility. But why is sin so bad that we must be saved from it? Ultimately, it is because sin separates us from God: “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). Our salvation from sin, then, is only a means to a greater end: it is for us to be united with God! In other words, Jesus should not be viewed simply as the means through which we receive the elements of ordo salutis. Jesus is also the very goal of our salvation.Why should we consider our union with Christ the goal and the essence and the fullness of our salvation?

 

 

Paul begins this section by blessing God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 1:3). This is a thesis statement of sorts for what he is about to say in this doxology and in this letter as a whole. As such, it contains many important ideas. For the sake of time, I will only mention two that are pertinent to our topic for today: 1) God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places; 2) God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 1 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 19 September 2017

You might have thought that this sermon series on ordo salutis (order of salvation) ended with last week’s message on glorification. Sorry, thismessage will be the last one. It is true that glorification is the final element, the culmination of the order of salvation. But this series on ordo salutis cannot be complete if we don’t address this central biblical idea called “union with Christ.” This idea is derived from the phrase frequently used in the New Testament to describe the believer’s position: “in Christ.” And Paul actually says in Rom. 6:5, “For if we have beenunited with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Why do we need to address this idea in our reflections on ordo salutis?

Certainly, not merely as an element of ordo salutis. As we will see, this idea of “union with Christ” or “being in Christ” is what threads all the elements of ordo salutis together. We can say that each element of ordo salutis highlights a different aspect or benefit of our union with Christ. Through this, we will conclude that salvation is not what we get from Christ but what we find in Christ.

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