Thursday, June 19, 2008

In Christ

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me... But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith..."

Christian life is not a matter of doing but of being. Of being in Christ. With him we die, crucified. With him, we rise. In him I gain his status, his future promised inheritance, his relationships within the Trinity. All by his giving of himself for me, for my sin, in love. Union with Christ is the Christian life. A life lived in step with the gospel, in step with the Spirit - growing to become who we already are rather than trying to earn our own way into access to God.

O Father, You have made man for the glory of yourself, and when not an instrument of that glory, he is a thing of nought; No sin is greater than the sin of unbelief, for if union with Christ is the greatest good, unbelief is the greatest sin, as being cross to thy command; I see that whatever my sin is, yet no sin is like disunion from Christ by unbelief.

...The more I love you with a truly gracious love the more I desire to love you, and the more miserable I am at my want of love; The more I hunger and thirst after thee, the more I faint and fail in finding thee, The more my heart is broken for sin, the more I pray it may be far more broken.

My great evil is that I do not remember the sins of my youth, nay, the sins of one day I forget the next. Keep me from all things that turn to unbelief or lack of felt union with Christ.


  1. Union with Christ is surely one of most overlooked many great songs are there on this superb subject. I tried writing one but it wasn't much good. I need to keep reading Ephesians which seems to pound you with this truth over and over again. Awesome.

  2. And sadly "In Christ Alone" doesn't actually quite do that does it...

  3. No. Perhaps it's time for a song writers collective. I saw some time back that Bob Kauflin took a group of musicians/songwriters away for a weekend with a view to doing some collective writing (a bit like the US way of scripting soaps, I guess). Perhaps some of us should do that here....a weekend away with a dozen aspiring writers; a list of neglected topics and ideas; a guitar or two, some good food.....and who knows what might happen. What d'ya think?

  4. I imagine some of it already happens, need a way of getting songwriters relating to one another, sparking off ideas. Collectives would come out of the relationships.

    I gather at our churches worship band practice last night they photocopied out some Valley of Vision stuff and just put sometime into trying to write together.

  5. Beautiful post Dave. Inspiring and uplifting. Thanks for putting the time into it. I think that Schaeffer's writing about the here-and-now of the Holy Spirit, in this moment, is very, very similar.

    From the philosophical point of view, being is a more foundational category than knowing, thinking or living. "If ya don't have being, ya don't have anything."

    I think we express the same basic idea when we say things like, "It isn't about believing in God, it's about knowing God.' Or "It isn't about religion, it's about a relationship."

    But, perhaps it is a mistake to immediately move into application, songwriting, teaching... for this is all activity. I'm not for a moment suggesting that we stay in bed and waggle our little fingers, rather then telling people the gospel, but perhaps some songs get written too soon for the songwriter. You know I can say, "Union with Christ" in a few seconds, if I say it slowly, and then move onto something else. But perhaps it's something that takes a lifetime to say to yourself.

    Let me make a crazy philosophers/apologists suggestion to you guys. Perhaps songwriters who want to write great hymns would benefit more from sitting in the bath, looking at their toes, marvelling at the sheer wonder of existence, for a much, much longer amount of time?

  6. I expect the guys who write great songs do precisely that.

    I was musing on the train yesterday on all this. Seems to be that this 'union with christ' emphasis of christianity takes us beyond not just 'christianity is doing' but also 'christianity is believing' to 'christianity is being' which is by believing 'in christ' but with the emphasis very much on the 'in christ' and not much on the 'believing'.

    Union with Christ needs to be tasted. We need to (as Virgo says) 'let the paint dry (the watercolour painting).

    We need more of words like savour, wonder, enjoy, taste etc.

  7. This is exactly the nuance I get from Buber, Willard, Bonhoffer...

    Have you ever spoken on the topic? Could you do a blog post on the topic of 10 practical ways to do this..?

  8. ..."On Being, Tom's blogpuppet".

    I'll see what I can do over the weekend. I'm speaking on the Galatians bit in September which is where the train of thought came from.

  9. "train" of thought... you're hilarious!

  10. meant to include this:

  11. Utterly accidental.

    Tom, before I write, you might want to get hold of "The Way We Receive the Grace of Christ" in the McNeil/Battles edition of Calvin's Institute. The reformers got this so warmly, and then he applies this to prayer... that's tasty.

  12. Ahh yes... enjoy the Team Days next week...

  13. People are just as wonder–filled as things. In a letter to his fiancée, Frances, GK Chesterton confesses to being stained with ink from that day’s work (a state of appearance at which Frances would probably not be surprised), and then thinks to add, "I like the Cyclostyle ink; it is so inky. I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people. . . . When we call a man ‘manly’ or a woman ‘womanly’ we touch the deepest philosophy."

  14. And what a priviledge for us to be able to enjoy to the uttermost the amazing things God has made, without having to be idolatrous, but simply enjoying life in him and in his creation.

    Life is brilliant. I'm a fan of life in all its lifeiness. That's much more worthy of a facebook fanclub than half the things on there - but hey lets enjoy even the books and the music and the everything else too!

  15. I wrote a whole blurb then about not going beyond 'doing' and 'believing', since that's how we remain in Christ but then I re-read the comments and realised that's pretty much what you said by 'savouring' so all that's left to say is that I can't believe you dissed 'In Christ Alone'!