26th April 2014

Our Union With Christ 

“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.”
Ephesians 1:3 (GNB)

God the creator has always known the frailties of humanity. The God-appointed sacrificial system was not some afterthought, but, along with the worship days, ceremonies and Tabernacle, was an integral part of the old covenant from its inauguration. This whole system was the means by which a relationship could be maintained between a sinning people and a sinless God. In broad terms they declared God’s grace to Israel and were linked, in various ways, to God’s dealings with old covenant Israel. For example, the holy days were linked to both the redemptive history of Israel and to the spring and autumn harvests God blessed them with in the land that He gave them. In all cases God specified how, when, where, and what ceremonies, sacrifices etc. were to be conducted so as to impress upon old covenant Israel (and as a spiritual lesson for us today) that God provides the means of cleansing, purification, forgiveness, atonement, and salvation. It was not for the Israelites to add or subtract from the means that God had provided. But, as Paul states in his letter to the Colossians, this whole system was a shadow of things that in some way pointed to Christ, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17 NIV) 

The New Testament reveals the “reality” pictured by these shadows; the “things that were to come,” have come in and through Jesus Christ. The New Covenant, therefore, focuses on Jesus Christ and the events associated with the salvation and redemptive history of the whole world. Hence, there are certain events central to the Christian faith which feature the saving acts of Jesus:  the Incarnation (including his birth, life and crucifixion), the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost. Jesus’ ministry did not end with his death and resurrection, but continued through his ascension in power to the right hand of God where he acts as our High Priest and Advocate, and ever continues the ministry he began on earth but now on a universal scale. Jesus’ continuing presence today is through the Holy Spirit, the other advocate, sent at Pentecost, and who joins the believer to Jesus. Paul reveals the outcome of Christ’s ascension and our union with him, “…it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-6 NIV). 

As the opening scripture states, let us give thanks to God, for in our union with Christ, God has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Salvation comes neither from the keeping of old covenant times and feasts, nor the keeping of the festivals of orthodox Christianity, nor from our own works, but from God. He has provided the means of spiritual cleansing, purification, forgiveness, atonement, and salvation, through Jesus Christ and our union with him. Only in him do we have a relationship with God. 

Father in heaven we thank you that through our union with Christ we share in his eternal inheritance and the relationship he has with the Father and the Spirit.

Study by Eddie Marsh


eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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One Response to “26th April 2014”

  1. Ian Woodley on April 26th, 2014 11:39 am

    Hi Eddie
    Great article! – it certainly has made me consider the Old Covenant in a different light. Your expression: “This whole system was the means by which a relationship could be maintained between a sinning people and a sinless God” has really got me thinking!
    God Bless

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