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Union with Christ

By John Murray


      The foundation of salvation itself in the eternal election of the Father is "in Christ." Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:3, 4). The Father elected from all eternity, but He elected in Christ. . . there was no election of the Father in eternity apart from Christ. And that means that those who will be saved were not even contemplated by the Father in the ultimate counsel of His predestinating love apart from union with Christ--they were chosen in Christ. As far back as we can go in tracing salvation to its foundation we find "union with Christ"; it is not something tacked on; it is there from the outset.


      It is also because the people of God were in Christ when He gave His life a ransom and redeemed them by His blood that salvation has been secured for them; they are represented as united to Christ in His death, resurrection, and exaltation to heaven (Rom. 6:2-11; Eph.2:4-6; Col. 3:3, 4). . . . Hence we may never think of the work of redemption wrought once for all by Christ apart from the union with His people which was effected in the election of the Father before the foundation of the world.


      It is in Christ that the people of God are created anew. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 2:10). . . . the beginning of salvation in actual possession should be in union with Christ because we have found already that it is in Christ that salvation had its origin in the eternal election of the Father and that it is in Christ salvation was once for all secured by Jesus' ransom blood. We could not think of such union with Christ as suspended when the people of God become the actual partakers of redemption--they are created anew in Christ.


      Finally, it is in Christ that the people of God will be resurrected and glorified. It is in Christ that they will be made alive when the last trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:22) (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pp. 162-64).

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