Micah Colbert

Union with Christ: A Biblical Overview

Every person is either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” Those “in Adam” are dead in sin and separated from God because of their relationship to Adam and his rebellion. Those “in Christ” are dead to sin and spiritually alive unto God because of their relationship to Christ and His obedience.

A Forgotten Doctrine
When was the last time you heard a sermon about union with Christ?
Union with Christ might be one of the most neglected, overlooked doctrines of the Christian faith. And yet, as we will see in a moment, this glorious truth is the basis for every blessing and joy we experience as God’s chosen people. Michael Reeves notes, “Union with Christ is not some small, particular blessing that might go alongside the key blessings of the gospel. Union with Christ is the Christian life.” Spurgeon states, “There is no joy in this world like union with Christ. The more we can feel it, the happier we are.”
“In Christ”
While the specific phrase union with Christ is not found in Bible, the doctrine is presented in a number of ways. For example, the phrase in Christ is found over ninety times in the New Testament. Phrases like in him and in whom often refer to this blessed doctrine as well. The Bible also uses a number of metaphors to illustrates this union. For example:

Jesus is the Head, and we are His body (Col. 1:18; Eph.1:22)
Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches (Jn. 15:1-11)
Jesus is the Bridegroom, and we are His bride (Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7-9)
Jesus is the Cornerstone, and we are the living stones built upon Him (I Pet. 2:4-7)

What is Union with Christ?
Union with Christ refers to our vital, inseparable oneness with Him. John Piper defines union with Christ as follows: “The reality of all the ways that the Bible pictures our human connectedness to Christ, in which He is indispensable for every good that we enjoy. No saving good, no eternal good, no God-exalting good, no soul-satisfying good comes to us except as we are connected to Christ.” Every gospel blessing that we have, from eternity past to eternity future, comes to us because of our union with Christ (Eph. 1:3-14).
In his helpful book, The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges identifies two aspects of our union with Christ. He notes (p. 39), “We can distinguish two aspects of our union with Christ this way: Our legal union with Christ entitles us to all that Christ did for us as He acted in our place, as our substitute. Our vital union with Christ is the means by which He works in us by His Holy Spirit.”

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Evangelism in a Post-Christian Culture

Good news deserves a thorough explanation. If we indeed believe that the gospel is the best news ever given, then we will gladly sacrifice whatever time is necessary in order to help others know, understand, and respond to the gospel. There are several solid resources that you could use to lead an evangelistic Bible study with an unbeliever. Christianity Explored and The Story of Hope are two that I would recommend. 

Times Have Changed
I doubt that many of us need to be convinced that we are living in a post-Christian culture. When the waves of postmodernism crashed on the shores of our culture in the late 20th century, Biblical concepts that were accepted by society at large began to erode away. Judeo-Christian beliefs have been replaced with expressive individualism, the sexual revolution, and religious skepticism. Christians often find themselves feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending onslaught and dominance of anti-Christian philosophies. How can we reach people for Christ in such a brazenly godless society?
Needless to say, we can’t rely on “hit and run” gospel presentations for effective disciple-making ministry. Times have changed. We need to consider a different approach for engaging unbelievers with the good news of Jesus.
In my previous blog article, we looked at how to address peoples’ life stories with the hope of the gospel. This method of evangelism is an effective introduction to the good news of Christ, but it needs to be supplemented by further gospel conversations and deeper exposure to the truth. In other words, it needs to be followed up with evangelistic Bible studies.
Evangelistic Bible Studies
Definition: An evangelistic Bible study is a sequential, systematic approach to presenting the truths of the gospel through inductive studies of God’s Word.
Evangelistic Bible studies are designed to methodically present the redemptive truths of Scripture to people with little or no Christian background. They typically blend inductive Bible study questions with clear explanations so that readers can see and understand Biblical truth for themselves. Evangelistic studies help unbelievers explore essential redemptive truths about God the Creator, man the sinner, Jesus the Savior, and the need for repentance and faith.
Reasons for Evangelistic Bible Studies
1.  God uses His Word to bring new life to spiritually dead sinners. 
Carefully consider the following Scriptures:
“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” ~ I Peter 1:23
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” ~ Ro.10:17
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” ~ Heb. 4:12
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