The Mystery of Our Union with Christ
In many of my papers I often refer to the grace believer’s literal ‘union’ with Christ as members of the “one body” of Christ. Each of us has been baptized or set into His death’ (not into the water of a water baptism) when we were placed or set into “His body.”
“For by one Spirit [The holy Spirit] are we all baptized [engulfed] into one [His] body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized [dry immersed] into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even [that is] so we also should walk in newness of [His] life. Romans 6:3-4 (KJV)
Note that the ‘baptism’ spoken of above is a ‘dry waterless baptism.’ There are several dry baptisms seen in Scripture; e.g., In the O.T. Israel was “baptized in the cloud” (1Cor. 10:2), John the Baptist mention two dry baptisms; “with the Spirit” and “with fire,” (Matt. 3:11), etc.
The great truth of our UNION with Christ coincides with Paul's teaching to believers that is focused upon the great “mystery” that was first revealed to Paul as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” – Paul says that information was for us ‘Gentiles.’
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me [Paul] to you-ward [Gentiles]: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me [Paul] ‘the mystery’; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:1-4 (KJV)
To the church in Colossae he wrote of:
“... the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ In You, The Hope of Glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27)
The word “Glory” here above could better be transliterated as “expression.” Thus, the resurrected “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” indwelling our “spirit of man” is the basis for our … confident expectation for experiencing and expressing the very life of the Godhead that is in Christ.
Elsewhere, Paul expressed the same “mystery” in another way saying: “But he [the believer] that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)
We believers, as ‘spiritual beings,’ are joined to the Lord, and thus endued with the very life, nature, and mind of Christ, and this even while we as saved souls yet live in these ‘flesh bodies of sin.’ We are “one spirit” with Him who gives us the victory over the “the flesh.”
Thus, there are two spirits involved ... but they also are ‘one Spirit.’ You and He are “one spirit.” We are one spirit with the Godhead that is … in Christ … as the One resurrected Spirit of Life.
We function as one. We are not absorbed into the Lord. We are His vessels (living containers) in which He dwells. So, there is yet an “I” and there is a “He,” we are joined to Him and we function as one.
“I [as to my “Old Soul Man of Rom. 6:6”] am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I [as a soul-self] live; yet not I [as an independent soul],
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I [as a regenerated believer] now live in the flesh [body] I live by the faith [faithfulness] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
In this union there is a requirement of for our dependence and cooperation with Him; between He and we, if He is to be expressed through our lives. It is like a union of two gears that must mesh together. In gear set design there is always what an engineer would call a ‘master gear’ and the ‘driven gear.’
So, our union with Christ does not mean that we as a unique soul are swallowed up in God in that we lose our unique identities. But neither is there a separation… we mesh together; His as the life-giving spirit and … our dependent soul. The two are to function as one for the purposes of the Greater One, God. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” This is a now revealed mystery that we learn from Paul.
So, here one plus one equals one. The divine and the human are one. How can that be?
Until we know and live out of our union with Christ, we will never fully manifest the Christ-life of God within us. Some of it will inevitably shine through now and then, despite us. But for the most part we will manifest our own merely human life. Until we know union, we are constantly confronted by the illusion of separation as though … “God is up there; I am down here. So, how do I draw close to God? Give me a plan. Give me a program.”
Plenty of people are ready with the answers. "Read your Bible. Pray. Study. Witness. Tithe. Take communion. Here are the plans. Here are the programs." But once you know your union with God, there's nothing left for you to do. Oh, you may still do some of the outer things. But you aren't doing them to get closer to God. You and God are one. There is no more separation.
When you begin living out of your union with Jesus Christ, you move beyond Christ plus anything, no matter how good it might be. We live and move and have our being in God, who is our ‘one life.’ We are saved by His life. He is our life. Christ lives out His life in us, in funny old you and funny old me. We have all kinds of different shapes, forms, and fashions, all kinds of interests, all kinds of diversity, all kinds of uniqueness.
We are not called to imitate Jesus. We as a dependent soul are to abide in union with Him in our spirit. Still being unique souls, we do NOT have to look like, act like, talk like, or be like anybody else ever again. We are free to be our new self in union with Christ… for He has completed our creation. Thus, Paul wrote;
“And ye are complete in [union with] him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Colossians 2:10 (KJV)