Our union with Jesus is a great mystery. It includes the personal and global. It is singular and corporate. It is micro and macro. It includes all of humanity and each individual human. It happened 2000 years ago and is realized in each of us in the present when we “believe” what He has done. Still we realize that our union began before the foundations of the Earth were formed. I know it is a great mystery but so powerful in its substance. Our union with Jesus and with God in Jesus and cohabitation with the Holy Spirit as the image of Jesus is…well…a little overwhelming but so beautiful at the same time. I can’t begin to explain it but I believe it. That is the power of faith. I don’t have to understand it but I get to believe it because I trust God. Jesus is the proof that He is telling the truth. Jesus is the demonstration of His truth. Jesus is His truth. I am in union with that truth.
Jesus will reveal to each of us what we need to understand in our union with Him. This is the intoxicating revelation of His acceptance of us. His acceptance is more than a friend invited to a party. We are His blood relatives. We are His brother and His children and His wife. You can’t be more accepted than that…but wait…yes you can. You are joined to Him. You are a part of Him and He is a part of you. When Jesus became a man God joined mankind. Not only that but in this mysterious union our old self died on the cross.
“But how can something 2000 years ago have anything to do with me now?”
That is an interesting question. To me the timing of an eternal God who lives outside of time is beyond my capability to perceive in my current temporal state… but I have a better question: “What part did I play in this mystical union?” The answer? None.
I know that hurts your head and makes some upset that they didn’t to have a vote in God’s masterful plan of Grace but oh well. That is how good He really is. We couldn’t and wouldn’t do what Jesus did for us. We were stuck as mankind and as individuals. We were broken then and are waking up to our new nature now. We have all lived a life outside His reality, outside His truth of Grace but now we get to wake up to His finished work. It is so powerful in it’s undiluted form, it radically changes our way of thinking and what follows is a radical change in our living. We were living dead lives of self effort believing in a dead person that wasn’t real but really dead. I know, I know, it is hard to understand but if you just let it wash over you…wow!
There are some answers to this great mystery that make sense. Question:”why did we have to die to be set free?” Ans: So we would no longer be bound to a curse or in an old covenant relationship or bound to the law or married to a fallen nature. Mankind was joined to those things and derived identity from those things. The seed of mankind had to be incubated in wickedness and self effort to be born a new creation. We needed a trial of self effort to die to self effort. We needed to be joined to frustration to be resurrected in redemption. Every inseparable bond to human effort, cloaked in desperation and certain failure, was broken when we died. We had to die, really die to be free of sin. We had no capacity for success, for being like God, for producing good. We were not designed to be independent. As an independent creation subject to the law of sin and death we reproduced what we carried, sin and death.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (ESV)
So many things are lost in translation. This word “united” is the Greek word “sumphutos” which means: grown together, united with. It comes from two words “sun” and “phuó.” The word “sun” means: with. The word “phuo” means: to bring forth, produce. Here is “phuo” in context:
Luke 8:5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” (ESV)
Jesus restores everything to its original created value and intent. The good news is He didn’t need us to do it or ask us to do it or even expect a response to Him doing it. He just did it. The only way for God to save us and all the cosmos from the law of sin and death was to become us and let us kill him (with us in Him). All the old bonds and contracts and oaths and covenants and promises were made null and void because mankind died to all of those. All the hurts and hang-ups associated with those old agreements and attachments and paradigms were left in the grave. We were raised again in Him still joined to him receiving our new life from Him. We now live with his blood in our veins as a new kind of creature never seen before. God became mankind so he could set everything right again but this time with an original-intent-twist. We were always meant to be joined to Him and now we were.
As a seed in Jesus from before the foundations of the Earth we were being nurtured and cared for in our resting place in Him. Interesting that Adam was formed of the dirt and given life. Then he (mankind) died after eating the wrong fruit. Our original created intent and real identity was still in Jesus. In some way we were like a seed in bad dirt waiting to sprout in good dirt. When God became mankind, He became “perfect dirt.” He became the only kind of dirt that was capable of sustaining life in this seed He planted before the foundations of the Earth. His “dirt” was never corrupted by cursed stuff. He was perfect love. He was perfect goodness. He was tempted by the deceiver and won where we lost. He came out of Egypt, through the wilderness and through the Jordan without murdering and complaining. He rested perfectly in the promised land, the Kingdom of Heaven and always trusted His father. Carrying all our seeds in Himself, He brought us to the cross as only a God-man could. He was our success when we had failed. He was our rest when we had strived. He was our compliance when we were rebellion. Now on the cross he reconciles us all. We are cultivated and germinated in Him, joined to him, getting our nutrients from Him. We are cleaned and incorruptible. We are good dirt again. The old dirt has been replaced with a new kind.
OK, maybe that is a stretch but how do you explain a spirit truth in a flesh language? This is why He is so awesome and so personal. He will give each of us an understanding that makes sense to each of us. We are joined to Him (I think I said that a few times).
The very way we give glory to God is by enjoying Him. We enjoy our union with Him. We are joined to joy Himself. Here is a simple equation. Good God + you = joy.