Syllabus for Lec. 51:
1. By what similitudes is the union of Christ with His people set forth in the Scripture?
2. What are the several results to believers, of this union?
3. What is the essential, and what the instrumental bond of this union?
4. Show the resemblances and differences between this union and that of the Father and the Son, between this and that of Christ’s divinity and humanity; between this and that of a leader and his followers?
5. Does this union imply a literal conjunction of the substance of Christ with that of the believer’s soul?
6. How does the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in this union, differ from that by which it is everywhere present?
7. Is this union indissoluble?
See on whole, Dick, Lecture 67. Ridgley, Vol. 3., Qu. 66. Calvin’s Inst., bk. 3., ch. 1. Hill, bk. 5., ch. 5, section 1. Conf. of Faith, ch. 26. Hodge, Theol. Vol. 3., pp. 650 to 661.
1. Union To Christ Effectuates Salvation.
It is through this union to Christ that the whole application of redemption is effectuated on the sinner’s soul. Although all the fullness of the Godhead dwell bodily in Him since His glorification, yet until the union of Christ is effected, the believer partakes of none to its completeness. When made one with His Redeeming Head, then all the communicable graces of that Head begin to transfer themselves to him. Thus we find that each kind of benefit which makes up redemption is, in different parts of the Scripture, deduced from this union as their source; Justification, spiritual strength, life, resurrection of the body, good works, prayer and praise, sanctification, perseverance, etc., etc. Eph. 1:4, 6, 11, 13; Col. 1:24; Rom. 6:3–6, 8; Col. 2:10; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:9; John 15:1–5.
Described By Images.
The nature of this union is to be deduced from a full comparison of all the representations by which the Word illustrates it. In one place it is described by the union of a vine with its branches; and in another, of the stock of an olive tree with its limbs. (John 15:1–5; Rom. 11:16–24) The stock is Christ, diffusing life and fructifying sap through all the branches. Second, our Savior briefly likens this union to that between Himself and His Father. (John 17:20–21). Grace will bring the whole body of the elect into a sweet accord with Christ and each other, and harmony of interest and volition, bearing some small relation to that of the Father and the Son. Third, we find the union compared by Paul to that between the head and the members in the body; the head, Christ, being the seat and source of vitality and volition, as well as of sense and intelligence; the members being united to it by a common set of nerves, and community of feeling, and life, and motion. Eph. 4:15–16. Fourth, we find the union likened to that between husband and wife; where by the indissoluble and sacred tie, they are constituted one legal person; the husband being the ruler, but both united by a tender affection and complete community of interest, and of legal obligations. (Eph. 5:31–32; Ps. 45:9). Fifth, it is illustrated by the union of the stones in a house to their foundation cornerstone, where the latter sustains all the rest, and they are cemented to it and to each other, forming one whole. But stones are inanimate; and therefore the sacred writer indicates that the simile is, in its nature, inadequate to express the whole truth, by describing the cornerstone as a living thing, and the other stones as living things together composing a spiritual temple. See 1 Cor. 3:11–16; 1 Pet. 2:4–6.