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#40162 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:34 PM Union with Christ  
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CovenantInBlood Offline
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An interesting interview with Rev. Mark Garcia on his recent book, Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin's Theology. Total audio is just over an hour long.

What do you think? What thought have you give to the idea of union with Christ and how justification and union are related?

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:39 PM.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#40163 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:27 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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William Offline
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CovenantInBlood said:
What do you think? What thought have you give to the idea of union with Christ and how justification and union are related?



The interview is to complicated for me.

Here is a link to a book review by David Engelsma. [color:"0000FF"]The Federal Vision, ed. Steve Wilkins and Duane Garner. Monroe, Louisiana: Athanasius Press, 2004. Pp. 299. $21.95 (paper). [/color] I copy and pasted some quotes but you must read the article in full as I may have taken some quotes out of context.

Quote
A Review Article by David Engelsma

Resistible Grace

The federal vision teaches that the saving grace of God in Christ is universal within the sphere of the covenant, but that this grace can be resisted and lost. Everyone who is baptized, particularly every child of believing parents who is baptized, is savingly united to Christ, although many later fall away and perish.

<span style="background-color:#FFFF00">Non-elect covenant members are actually brought to Christ, united to Him</span> and the Church in baptism, receive various gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, and may even be said to be loved by God for a time. In some sense, they were really joined to the elect people, really sanctified by Christís blood, and really recipients of new life given by the Holy Spirit. The sacraments they received had objective force and efficacy (Lusk, p. 288).

The threshold <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">Non-elect covenant members are actually brought to Christ, united to Him</span>, new life in the Spirit, and covenant membership in the family of God is actually crossed when the child is baptized (Lusk, p. 109).

God truly brings those people into His covenant, <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">into union with Christ</span>. They are in Him, to use Jesusí words in John 15. They share in His blessings (think of Hebrews 6). They experience His love, but that covenant relationship is conditional. It calls for repentance and faith and new obedience. Godís choice was not conditional, but life in the covenant is (Barach, p. 37; the emphasis is the authorís).


God is not the author of confusion.

Last edited by William; Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:40 PM.
#40164 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:32 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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Kyle,

I just don't have time presently to listen to the audio. Can you give a summary of what is being said.

I don't really think of being in union in Christ. I've been in Reformed Christian circles for over 20 years and until recently I hadn't heard much said about union. It is easier for me to grasp that I am adopted. Are the two saying the same idea or are they different?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#40165 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:07 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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I haven't listened to the interview, but one of my elders is going through Romans on Sunday evenings, and we are now in Romans 5. He made the point that justification is the means to an end: having communion and relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. God forgives our sin and imputes Christ's righteousness so that we may have eternal life, which is knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Those justified now stand in God's grace and exult in the hope of the glory of God. He mentioned that too often we as Reformed people don't ponder our union with Christ and adoption as much as we should. Justification, though vitally important to understand, is but the entry point.

It was a great sermon...

Having True Peace with God- James Williamson


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#40166 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:17 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: William]  
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CovenantInBlood Offline
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William,

I don't think Rev. Garcia is heading that direction. The Federal Vision, taking some cues (in my estimation) from the theologians involved in the so-called "New Perspective on Paul" collapse all of salvation into an external union with Christ through baptism that is maintained through law-keeping. That is clearly unbiblical, and reminds me quite distinctly of the Judaizers condemned in Scripture.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#40167 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:26 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: John_C]  
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John C said:

I just don't have time presently to listen to the audio. Can you give a summary of what is being said.


Basically, Rev. Garcia argues that for Calvin, union with Christ is the overarching context in which justification and sanctification (the duplex gratia or "twofold grace") are related. It is in union with Christ that we receive all of the benefits of Christ's mediatorial work. In this way justification and sanctification both retain their proper distinction from and relation to one another. Both flow from the Person of Christ, both are the necessary result of being joined to Him.

Quote
I don't really think of being in union in Christ. I've been in Reformed Christian circles for over 20 years and until recently I hadn't heard much said about union. It is easier for me to grasp that I am adopted. Are the two saying the same idea or are they different?


They are different. Union with Christ is being joined to the Son as our head and husband, whereas adoption is where the Father places His Name on us and grants us the status of sons of God. See the Larger Catechism:

Quote
Q66: What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A66: The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God's grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

Q74: What is adoption?
A74: Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow heirs with Christ in glory.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#40168 - Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:23 PM Re: Union with Christ [Re: MarieP]  
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MarieP said:
I haven't listened to the interview,


Listen to it. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

Quote
He mentioned that too often we as Reformed people don't ponder our union with Christ and adoption as much as we should. Justification, though vitally important to understand, is but the entry point.


Yes, justification, though vitally important as you say, is not the only part of salvation. It seems few people understand that sanctification is part of our salvation, as well (though NOT part of our justification!!). I think what Rev. Garcia is trying to show, by looking at how union with Christ functions in Calvin's overall theology, is that union is the context in which we can see how all of the benefits of Christ's work are bound up in His Person, and it is only in Him that we have justification, sanctification, adoption, glorification, etc.

Anyway, listen to the interview & see what you think.

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:24 PM.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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