The following This second segment deals with the idea of salvation and its relation to the church. Dr. Davis deals with one of the seminal topics of theology: that of union with Christ. The section you will be looking at essentially deals with what one is saved from (“lostness”), how one is saved (union with Christ), and the blessings that accompany this salvation. However, I wish to develop the notion of union with Christ
The importance of this doctrine:
This doctrine is, as I said, of seminal importance because it is the key to salvation. One cannot be saved without it. It is by this union with Christ (and only by this union) that we come to share in the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work.
While today this doctrine might not receive much notice, it used to be one of primacy within the church. John Calvin certainly placed great emphasis upon it in his Institutes. In fact, he built his soteriology around it. Calvin's first proposition in book three, which concerns The Way in Which We Receive the Grace of Christ," is: The Holy Spirit as the bond that unites us to Christ." His first paragraph reads:
The doctrine’s importance will be fleshed out more in what follows. However, a summation is as follows: Every human being is united to Adam by virtue of their birth. He is the representative of humanity. It is only by union with Christ that one can enjoy the grace of God and all that Christ accomplished by virtue of his death and resurection.
The confusion surrounding this doctrine: Mysticism & New Age beliefs
When we talk about union with Christ, we are referring to something that is mystical. Sometimes it is called “the mystical union with Christ.” This is not to be confused with mysticism which is found in some sects of Christianity and Eastern religions (New Age, Buddism, etc).
Mysticism involves the practice of trances and entering into “transcendent states.” In these religions one seeks to mentally escape the world in order to experience a heightened state of oneness or contact with the divine. The goal of mysticism is to enter into a higher spiritual state to overcome some sort of physical separation caused by finite humanity.
Examples: Yoga, Eastern meditations, occult, mainline youth group leader
When talking about the mystical union with Christ we are not speaking of such things. We mean a real, but nevertheless spiritual & mysterious, union with Christ. There is no escape from present realities or disdain for physical & distinct humanity as it presently is.
Four Types of Union in Scripture.
In John 17:23 Jesus prays to the Father for the church’s welfare. He says, “I in them, thou in me, that they may be perfect in one.” In this passage there is a threefold union: There is the union that exists within the Godhead, between Christ and the Church, and among the members of the church. None of these can be fully comprehended and yet all of them are real and true.
This helps us to understand what “mystical union” is. The union that exists between the Godhead is a spiritual union that is utterly incomprehensible. Without revelation this relationship would never be known. Therefore, we can say that it is mystical because it has qualities of being immaterial and is utterly mysterious.
The union that exists among believes, while very much different in its substance than the union and communion experienced by the persons of the Godhead, has parallels. It is a real unity that has spiritual elements. Physical unity never is achieved due to the limitations of men. However, it does seek to express this real, spiritual, and mysterious unity that exists between the members of Christ’s body.
We might also point to the unity that exists between a man and woman united in marriage. The Bible declares such to be “one flesh.” The intimacy of the marital bond, most vividly expressed in the sexual union and knitting together of life, is one that cannot be fully grasped. It ought to be obvious that they do not become ontologically one (i.e. they do not fuse together as one person). The nature of the union is beautifully incomprehensible. So much so that Paul draws on the imagery to speak of the union of Christ and the church.
Metaphors for the doctrine
The Scripture uses many images and analogies to depict this union. The following are but a few:
1. Glue: 1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined (glued) to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (definite union)
2. Ingrafting: Rom. 6:5 “we have been united [planted together] in his death” (vital)
3. Vine & Branches: John 15: 1-2, 5. A union that is vital and expresses the dependence of one part upon another as the source of nourishment, strength & power, producing fruitfulness
4. Marriage: Eph. 5:25f (intimate, spiritual oneness)
5. Body: Ephesians 4:15f (all encompassing/ touching each member)
6. Abiding in Christ: The imagery deepens from being externally connected, like a vine on a tree, to that of actual entering into and finding one’s dwelling place in.
7. Partakers of Christ (2 Peter)
Union with Christ is Trinitarian
All divine and spiritual life is originally in the Father, and comes not to us, but by and through the Son, John 5: 26. to him has the Father given to have an "autodzoe", - a quickening enlivening power in himself; but the Son communicates this life which is in him to none but by and through the Spirit, Rom. 8:2. So. "The Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death." – John Flaval
Based on the Scriptural presentation Louis Berkhoff defines union with Christ in this way: that intimate, vital and spiritual union between Christ and his people, in virtue of which He is the source of their life and strength, of their blessedness and salvation.
The Westminster Larger Catechism states the following regarding the doctrine:
What is that union which the elect hve with Christ?
The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God's grace, whereby they are
spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and
husband; which is done in their effectual calling.
The Nature of the Union: What it is not 
1. The union is not merely mental or imaginary. Atheistic teaching poses that such a thing would be fantastical, and not at all scientific. Some may even go so far as to say that such persons believing in this ought to be committed. However, the union is not make believe or an illusion in the least. Christ himself said, “At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
2. It is not a physical or ontological union. Some in the history of the church have posited a divinization of humanity, where the Christian actually takes on deity or is subsumed into God. While there is a real union, each of the members of this union remain physically distinct.
3. It is not merely a union of love or affection. Friends are said to be united because of their deep concern for one another. It is said that Jonathan’s soul was knit to David and that his love was “better than that of a woman’s.” This kind of affection most certainly exists between Christ and the elect. However, this love does not comprise the essence of the union.
The Nature of the Union: What it is
1. It is a spiritual union. This means, primarily that it is a union that is produced by the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. He, who is the Spirit of Christ, establishes a personal bond between the believing soul and Jesus Christ. This bond commences by the Spirit’s filling the soul and coming to reside in him in one’s effectual calling and regeneration.
2. It is a real union. The distance between Christ in heaven and believers on earth presents no obstacle to the reality of a spiritual union. Christ is in heaven and we are upon earth, but the Spirit of Christ being omnipresent is able to be the connecting link between us. 14 Through the Spirit not merely a figurative but a real union is effected, so that there is one living principle in the head and the members. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17). Astounding as it is, the same Spirit lives in our exalted Redeemer and in His people on earth; and hence, although separated from Him and from one another, they are but one.15
3. It is a personal union. The union between Christ and believers is such that their persons are united to His person. This union is not an impersonal and theoretical relatedness, it is a relationship in which there is mutual knowledge, love, communication, and communion in all things. And since Christ cannot be separated from His Father and His Spirit, this union at the same time brings us into communion of the undivided Trinity.16 Indeed, union with Christ marries the church with Christ and realizes God's purpose to establish His everlasting covenant of love and friendship with the people He loves, so that they may say in very truth, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine" (Song. 6:3).
4. It is mysterious, or mystical. The apostle Paul describes the union between Christ and His church as "a great mystery." It belies scrutiny and definition, for it is, in the true sense of the word, a mystery.18 This union, being a work of the Holy Spirit, "is supernatural, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable.…"19
This is a union in which the inmost soul of the redeemed is reserved for Christ's inhabitation by the Spirit, who thus becomes the life of their life, the soul of their soul, in a sense to which any other union makes no approximation.22 23
5. It is a gracious union that begets the benefits of Christ’s work. The union is not one that is deserved or comes into upon one’s effort. It is wrought soley by the favor of God through the Holy Spirit. The communion which the believer experiences with Christ includes all those essential elements pertaining to salvation, such as regeneration, justification, sanctification and glorification, etc.
This is but one of the numerous sections that rely heavily upon Christopher Connors’ work “The Place of the Mystical Union in Reformed Theology.” Many thanks are owed to Mr. Connors and his excellent work, which may be found at http://www.prca.org/prtj/nov2002.htm#MysticalUnion
 Some of this material, as well as other items sprinkled throughout this work, are owing to John Flavel and his piece, “The Method of Grace in the Gospel of Redemption.”
 Reliance upon Flavel again is expressed for the following.
 Again, a debt to Connors is expressed for the following.
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