In many Christian circles there is talk about the relationship with Christ, we hear about that quite often in-fact, and I have mentioned it many times in these studies as well. However it has come to my attention that there is actually some misunderstanding regarding what this phrase means. In some ways we have turned this simple phrase into something mystical, magical or difficult to comprehend, when in-fact it is so simple.
As a result of this confusion, what actually is very simple and straightforward, now seems out of reach to many people. I have spoken with many Christians who are chasing after this unicorn of “relationship with Christ”, when it actually has already been given. And as such, believers are left dazed, confused and wondering when it will be completed, never realizing that the work was completed long ago.
This is what I want to share with you today – the truth about your union with Christ.
Now as we begin, we need to lay the foundation of proper definition. This is actually the area right here at the start where the confusion begins, because when we typically think of the word “relationship” we think of two separate and distinct individuals who are friends, sped time together, talk or even have romantic interactions. And this can get us into all kinds of trouble (and does indeed do so) when we try to apply this common definition of relationship, to ourselves and Jesus Christ.
When people try to do this, is when things can get really confusing misunderstood. When people claim that Jesus hangs out with them, or that God is their lover (in more of a sexual sense) – yes I’ve encountered all of that, and while I’m sure that most of these people mean well, and their intentions are innocent – the problem is that all of this kind of thinking is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the phrase relationship with Christ… and before some people get offended with me and abandon this study, I need to also mention that the truth of a relationship with Christ is actually greater than the misunderstanding!
Yes, you read that right, the truth is greater than the error. You see, the misunderstanding turns God, His Spirit and even Jesus into really nothing more than some kind of imaginary friend. An invisible person to talk to, or keep you company. Again, please resist the urge to become offended and get mad at me here, because we need to see and acknowledge this error before we can receive the truth of how amazingly awesome a true relationship with Christ really is.
Please understand that God is not an imaginary friend, and that kind of a relationship is not the kind that Jesus suffered and died on the cross to give you. He suffered and died to give you so much more and we have instead been settling for much less.
The reason why we settle for less, is because we mainly do not understand (or accept, or believe) what Jesus actually has given to us.
And the reason why what He actually gave is so much greater than what we settle for, is all wrapped-up in the nature of what He has done, and our new identity in Him today. Basically what we study every single week.
In simple terms, I will break this down so it’s easier.
When you accept the standard belief today that God is something like an imaginary friend, an invisible person to talk to, etc. What is does is that it actually creates a separation between God and you. In that kind of a relationship, God is still “out there” somewhere, and you are still talking to Him, hoping that He’s listening, asking Him for things, and there’s this sense of a gap still, a distance that is in-between you and God.
That is a false idea, and as such it creates in you a false identity; an identity not given to you by Christ Jesus, but by man-made ideas and doctrines. This kind of relationship is the kind that many people chase after, and they eventually become so desperate and deceived that they start listening to other voices, even other spirits. And again, this is all based on a simple misunderstanding of the term relationship with Christ. The reality of which is far greater than what we have believed and settled for.
Now, of course, I am not saying that we cannot talk to God… Obviously we can – and I am also not saying that He won’t answer, because you would probably be surprised how often He does (and how He does), but what I am saying is that we need to change our thinking regarding what this relationship means. Because to use an analogy, our thinking is quite often still stuck in the Old Covenant mindset. We still have Old Covenant ideas and Old Covenant ways of doing things – and in this particular case, Old Covenant ideas about how we interact with God.
The Old Covenant had people approaching God with fear and uncertainty – literally their lives were on the line. They would approach Him, oftentimes with problems, and they would approach Him usually begging and pleading for Him to do something to help them out. They would cry out to God, and then wait with more fear and uncertainty to see if help would actually manifest – always with a barrier, a separation between them and God.
Does that sound familiar? That is exactly how millions of believers have their relationship with God right now this very moment. And it is entirely rooted in the Old Covenant way of thinking. This is not the kind of relationship that Jesus suffered and died for us to have.
Now, at this point, you may have noticed the specific title of this study, and you may have noticed that it says Your Union With Christ. And this is one of the main key points. Because Jesus did something much greater than simply give us a relationship – even though that’s the term we typically use (myself included); Jesus has actually unified us with Himself… and that is what the word “relationship” actually means in this context. This is also why I stated that the truth is so much greater than what we have believed and settled for.
Now I don’t want you to take my word for any of this, otherwise it won’t mean much of anything. Instead I want you to read it for yourself in scripture. So let’s read John 17:20-26… the entire chapter of John 17 record the amazing prayer of Jesus before He goes to the cross, and I would recommend that you read all of it in your study time, but for us here, we will just focus on verses 20 through 26 right now:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.
Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Take a look at these verses, and specifically verse 20 to start with. You should be very glad that Jesus said these words because this is your inclusion; this is your right to know that what follows is for you also, and not just for the disciples that Jesus walked with when He was on the earth.
Jesus makes a point to say that He is not only praying for those with Him now (His disciples) but also for those who will believe on Him through their word (that’s you and I today).
Then, Jesus goes into great detail describing the unity that we will have in Him because of the work which He is about to complete – namely His sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection; the very work which ushered us into His New Covenant and the New Identity which He has given to us, empowered by His Spirit on the inside of us.
This is your union with Christ. This is why you have it. Because Jesus actually finished the work to make it so.
Now, how does knowing this change your thinking and your relationship with Christ? I’m glad you asked! Let’s look at some more scriptures. Go exactly one chapter back to John 16, and we will see Jesus talking more about His death and resurrection, and how it relates to us interacting with Him.
Let’s read John 16:20-28:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.
And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Till now have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken to you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.
At that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you, that I will pray the Father for you:
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
In verse 20 here, we see that He says that they will weep and lament (why?), because they are about to see Jesus tortured and crucified! Some preachers take this way out of context and try to apply it to our lives today, but we are on the other side of the cross now! Jesus finished His work! He will never be beaten, tortured or crucified ever again!
This is why He says in verse 21 that a woman has sorrow during labor, but as soon as it’s over and she sees the newly birthed child, she doesn’t remember the sorrow anymore!
Well, my friend, today you and I are that new child! We are new creations in Christ! And as Jesus says in verse 22, they would indeed see Him again, and at that time, they would have joy and henceforth, no-one would ever take that joy away!
Now, look at verse 23… And in that day (the day after His resurrection, after His work was finished) you shall ask me nothing. Now this is key… why does Jesus say that you will not ask Him for anything? Does this mean that we will stop receiving anything from God?
Not at all! But the manner of relationship will be changed.
Jesus continues on to say Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.
What gives you the right to ask anything of God the Father in the name of Jesus? This is your union with Christ!
There’s no separation anymore! There’s no uncertainty! There’s no barriers! And there are no qualifiers or prerequisites! There’s no fear!
You are in unity with Christ. You are one with Him, because He has made it so. So what gives you the right to ask anything of the Father in the name of Jesus and have absolute certainty that it will be given to you? Jesus Himself does!
In verses 26 and 27, Jesus re-affirms this fact by saying again in that day (after His sacrificial death and resurrection) you will ask in My name, and I will not tell you I am praying for you (why not, Jesus?) Because there will be no need! Jesus is now in complete union with us! We are one with Him and He is one with us, as we read in John 17.
And as verse 27 makes clear, all of this is ours, the very love of the Father for us on the inside, as mentioned here and again in John 17, because Jesus finished the work, and we simply believe on Him.
This is your union with Christ. And I will end today with the words of Galatians 2:20:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Let this union with Christ be your living reality every single day. You are not seperated at all anymore. And you have all things in Him.