The doctrine of Union with Christ teaches the Christian how to understand the relationship he has with Jesus. Union with Christ is the joining of Jesus to the Christian and the Christian to Jesus. (Galatians 3:27) When a man and woman are joined together in marriage the two become one. They are made one in the eyes of God and enter into a “one-flesh” relationship. Those who are joined with Jesus are now one with Him.
In Colossians 1:27 Paul calls union with Christ a mystery that had been hidden from previous generations, but was revealed through the apostles to the church. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This doctrine is a glorious treasury of truth. It is the Christian’s hope of eternal glory.
The picture of a body is probably the clearest Biblical illustration of union with Christ. Christian’s are members of the body of Christ. At the moment of salvation every believer is baptized into His body. The relationship of the person to the body of Christ forms the basis of his relationship with the church. The relationship of the Christian to other believers is the product of their union with Christ. The church exists because each individual believer is first joined with Christ. The church is a physical representation of the spiritual reality that all who are saved are now members of Christ’s body.
Jesus is the “Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” (Colossians 2:19) Those joined with Jesus have forgiveness of sin, reconciliation to God, adoption into the family of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit and the assurance of eternal life. Union with Christ is the source of all strength and ability in ministry. Union with Christ is the living supply for every aspect of the Christian life.
The believer is joined with Christ- in Him. Jesus is joined with the believer- in us. Jesus dwells in us by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s presence is the very real presence of Jesus in you. This is understood in John 14 and John 16 when Jesus told the disciples He would not leave them comfortless. Romans 8:9-10 equates the indwelling Spirit with Christ in you. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” The presence of the Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus. If you have the Spirit you have been joined with Jesus. Jesus has taken up residence in you.
Union with Jesus is the basis of communion with Him. Union produces communion. The believer ought to live in enjoyment of the fellowship with Him that comes from union with Him. The fellowship with Christ enjoyed by those in Christ is an indescribable fellowship that must be enjoyed to be understood. S. Lewis Johnson said, “The concept of union with Christ, made real in personal experience, takes lifeless theory out of refrigeration and sets it in the full blaze of the warmth of intimate fellowship with the Son of God.” Meditate on the glorious treasure of your union with Christ so you may better rejoice in the delights of communion with Him.