This month I’m discussing our union with Christ, and I’m also studying this with a group at our church. It’s a concept that’s hard to grasp, at least for me. Today I asked my husband (a pastor), is union with Christ a process? According to him, the answer is yes and no.
In our baptism we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection. That is an accomplished fact. However, union with Christ doesn’t mean we are Christ. We still retain our individual traits and unfortunately, our individual sinful nature. That there is always a conflict — the new person who is “in Christ” and the old nature we inherited from Adam. As the Apostle Paul bemoaned:
“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:22-25
Union with Christ cannot be separated from our sanctification, and that is a process. Some Christian denominations believe it is possible to reach complete sanctification during this earthly life. Most do not. Like Paul, we’ll struggle every day to overcome our sinful nature. However, as people who are “in Christ” the victory is already ours. We have already been released from the penalty of sin, and in time, in our glorified bodies, we’ll be released from the presence of sin. Until then, we rest in His power over sin. Amen. Lord, let it be so.
For more about sanctification see: