Chapter 27: Of The Communion Of Saints
What does it mean that we are in union with Christ? What are the benefits from being united with Christ? What are our obligations toward fellow believers?
§1 Union With Jesus Christ
- All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, 1 their head, by his Spirit, and faith, 2 although they are not made thereby one person with him, 3 have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; 4 and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, 5 and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man. 6
- Eph. 1:4; John 17:2, 6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 6:8; 8:17; 8:2; 1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4
- Eph. 3:16-17; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 3:17-18
- 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:18-19; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; Isa. 42:8; Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:8-9
- 1 John 1:3; John 1:16; 15:1-6; Eph.2:4-6; Rom. 4:25; 6:1-6; Phil. 3:10; Col. 3:3-4
- John 13:34-35; 14:15; Eph. 4:15; 1 Peter 4:10; Rom. 14:7-8; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 12:7, 25-27
- Rom. 1:12; 12:10-13; 1 Thess. 5:11,14; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 3:17-18; Col. 6:10; Gal. 6:10
All saints...are united to Jesus Christ (e.g. Eph. 1:1, 4; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2). They are in Him and identified with Him. To be united to Jesus Christ means that they have fellowship in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 3:3-4; 1John 1:3). They are united with Him in these aspects. For example, the case of His death and resurrection, it is like we died and rose again with Him. We did not literally and physically die with Him, but since we have been united to our Head, whatever He does or did on our behalf is counted as our own. This union with Jesus Christ is by His Spirit, and faith (Eph. 3:16-17; 2Cor. 3:17-18). There is no other way in which we can be united to Jesus Christ and experience the benefits of this union. In all of this, we do not become one person with Him. We still remain us and separate from Him, but we share in Him and are one with Him spiritually and by virtue of His headship.
This union to Jesus Christ goes beyond us and the Lord. In fact, after we have been united to the Lord, we are united one another in love (John 13:34-35; Eph. 4:15). Union with Christ does not only make us one with the Lord, but also it unites us to others who are one with the Lord. In the same way, we share and have communion in each other gifts and graces. We seek to serve each other and bless others with the gifts and graces which God has bestowed upon us. We are, in fact, obliged to the performance of such duties which conduce to our mutual good (Rom. 1:12; 12:10-13). This duty is public and private, and it does not only concern spiritual things (in the inward...man), but also physically providing for those lacking supply and in need of help materially (in the...outward man).
Defining Union with Christ
All the elect are united to Christ. They were united in His death (Gal. 2:20) and share the undeserved blessings coming from his perfect life, death, resurrection, and ascension in glory. This union with Christ does not make us one person with Him or with God, that is blasphemy. Rather, we become one with Him in spirit, love, and communion sharing in all those blessings which the Father has given to Christ. This union with Christ spans from eternity past to eternity future. What is then this union with...