Read Lead Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Ponderings here!
United with Christby Duane Mabee on August 1, 2019
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself for me, (Gal. 2:20 NIV).
One of the greatest mysteries and blessings of salvation is that we have been united with Christ. The New Testament frequently refers to us as “in Christ” or “in Him” and then describes all the blessings we have as a result. We have been united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, not our own.
According to James Montgomery Boice, being united with Christ means that all the experiences of Christ become the experiences of the believer. His death for sin was the believer’s death; His resurrection was (in one sense) the believer’s resurrection; His ascension was the believer’s ascension, so the believer has been, in a sense, seated with Christ on His throne.
When you received Christ as your Lord and Savior, God united you with Christ in His crucifixion. God nailed your old sinful nature to the cross along with Jesus, and you were freed from the penalty of sin. It no longer has power over you any more than a jail sentence has power over a dead criminal. That action, being united with Christ in His crucifixion, is a past event. It happened at a specific time – the moment you received Christ – but, it still impacts your life today. You continue to be in a state of having been crucified with Christ. You continue to be free from sins’ penalty. Your old nature is dead.
It doesn’t always feel like your old nature is dead, though, does it? That’s where the life part comes in. You have also been united with Christ in His resurrection. He now lives in you. His power is at work in you. Salvation did not just return you to a neutral state where your sins are taken care of, but you’re on your own from that point forward. At salvation, you were infused with the life and Spirit of Jesus Christ Himself. The immeasurable greatness of His power – the power that God worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead – is at work in you. Therefore, sin and your old sinful nature no longer have mastery over you.
You are not left to live this life, struggling through on your own. You are not left alone. You have been and still are united with Christ in His resurrection life. The One Who loved you and gave Himself up for you, now lives in you. His power within you is bringing you to maturity in Christ. He is with you through every trial and temptation you face. You are in Him and He is in you.