Page images

consideration. I shall but briefly hint at a few particulars more.

3. Then there is such a union between Christ and believers, whereby the whole church becomes the body of Christ, and all true believers are mem. bers in particular. “He is given to be the head over all things to his church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” The whole church, whether militant or triumphant, are, by their union to Christ, one church, one family, and one body, whereof Christ himself is the head. The family in heaven, indeed, as adult children, have their inheritance in possession, while the family on earth, as minors in their non-age, have only necessary supplies for their support, comfort, and growth, till they come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. But then the fulness of the glory in the one, and the gradual progress of grace in the other, are both the product of their union to Christ. And as the whole church is the body of Christ, so each particular believer is a member of that body; and hath both his body and soul united unto the person of Christ, by a union that can never be dissolved, by a union that will not only continue with the soul, in its separate and intermediate state, but will also continue with the body, in its state of dissolution, whereby its glorious resurrection and final renovation will be secured, and them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

4. This union is such, that Christ and believers


have one common interest. I have hinted at this before, but it requires some more particular illustration. It should then be observed, that, in the great design of reconciling sinners to God, and preparing a chosen number for eternal glory, Christ and the church were one mystical person; so one, that what he did was imputed to them, as if done by them; and what they deserved was imputed to him, as if he had been personally obnoxious.

Thus the Lord Jesus Christ is called the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUS

And the church, by virtue of this union to Christ, is considered as the same person, and has the same characters ascribed to her. 66 This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness." This identity of person was founded on the eternal covenant of redemption. The Lord Jesus Christ was foreordained to the office and work of a Saviour and Mediator, “ before the foundation of the world.” 66 And we were chosen in him before the foundation of the world; and predestinated unto the adoption of children by him, and thus we become accepted in the Beloved.”

And as he was foreordained to the work and office of a Redeemer, so likewise to all that grace, righteousness, strength, and glory required thereunto; not only to that which was peculiar to himself, but to that also which was needful to be communicated to the church, and to all that should ever believe on him, in their state of probation here or perfection hereafter. And, on the other hand, as believers were chosen in him, so they were chosen to be partakers with him, in that common stock or depositum committed to him, for both their present and eternal interest and happiness.

66 He

Thus the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ becomes our righteousness, his sufferings our atonement; and he is a fountain opened for all supplies of grace, upon our union to him by faith. bore our sins in his own body on the tree;" and “we are complete in him.” Thus, likewise, the believer's sufferings in his cause are the sufferings of Christ-" In all their affilictions he is afflicted.” The believer's graces are the graces of Christ, owned by and derived from him; and “ of his fulness they all receive, and grace for grace." And “the believer's good conversation is in Christ.” In fine, the whole interest of the church is the interest of Christ, and is by him taken care of, and provided for, as his own: and the whole interest of Christ is the interest of the church; and the believer is most nearly affected with the interest of Christ's kingdom, as what most nearly concerns him. Thus is the church united to Christ, and thus has he graven her upon the palms of his hands, and her walls are continually before him.

5. The union between Christ and believers is such, as that they have thereby one common relation. He is their everlasting Father, their head, their husband, their brother, their friend, theirs by all relations of nearest intimacy. His Father is their Father, his brethren are their brethren, and his God is their God.

brethren; and them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, God and


God.” Thus are believers distinguished from the rest of the world, dignified and exalted above all those who are esteemed great and honourable among men, by their near relation

6 Go to my

say unto

and to my

[ocr errors]

to Him who is “higher than the highest, and is the Prince of the kings of the earth.”

6. The union between Christ and believers is such, that they have thereby one common inheritance. They, being children, are heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”

66 And if I go (says the blessed Saviour) and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”. There is nothing can break the bond of union between Christ and believers : the union will not be dissolved, but perfected by death. 66 Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come; nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the hope of their calling; this the inheritance of the saints-that, when they have a little longer struggled with the temptations and imperfections, distresses and calamities of this militant state, they shall arrive safe to the end of their desires and hopes, and be ever with the Lord. They shall dwell in his presence, and partake of the joys at his right hand for evermore.

Thus I have given you a very brief and general view of the believer's union to Christ, according to the representation of it in the Scriptures; and I am now prepared to consider your second question.

You next inquire, “How this union is effected and accomplished ?”

To it is a sufficient answer, that this union is accomplished by the omnipotent agency of the Spirit of God, as the author and efficient; and by faith, as

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

the bond of union. Vain, therefore, are their pretences, and they have but a delusive and destructive hope, who ascribe all the change in conversion to mere moral suasion, or to the exercise of our own natural powers or endeavours only. It is beyond the power of men or means, to persuade a sinner into this strict and intimate union with Christ. It infinitely exceeds the capacity of any such sinful worms as we are, to make ourselves one with the Lord Jesus Christ, “ as the Father and he are one." No! “ We dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” And “ by one Spirit we are baptized into one body.” Vain, likewise, is the pretence of an eternal union to Christ, or of a union to him, from the time of his passion, or of his finishing the work of our redemption. For it is to them, and none but them, who receive him and believe on his name, that he gives power to become the sons of God. And “Christ dwells in our hearts by faith." The blessed Spirit shining with a ray of divine light into the soul of a sinner, thereby discovers to him his own misery and impotence, and shows him the fulness and excellency of Christ, the freeness of the Gospel offer, the faithfulness of the promises, and the readiness of this precious Saviour to accept and save such guilty perishing sinners as he is. This divine light enkindles the sinner's desires after Christ, represents him worthy to be chosen and trusted; by which his will is brought into a hearty compliance with the Gospel offer. Thus this admirable union is accomplished. Thus, by the omnipotent power of divine grace, the sinner is drawn to Christ, and made one with him, in a way most agreeable and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »