Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Chapter 9 - Union with Christ

This second-to-last chapter of Redemption Accomplished and Applied is not near the end of the book due to its lack of significance. Rather, it has likely been held back to its influence over the entire order of salvation. Murray recognizes that this chapter's location in the book may be somewhat confusing: "Intelligent readers may have wondered why there has not been up to this point some treatment of union with Christ. Obviously, it is an important aspect of the application of redemption and, if we did not take account of it, not only would our presentation of the application of redemption be defective but our view of the Christian life would be gravely distorted. Nothing is more central or basic than union and communion with Christ." (161) Murray continues to explain the importance of this particular doctrine writing, "Union with Christ is really the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation not only in its application but also in its once-for-all accomplishment in the finished work of Christ. Indeed the whole process of salvation has its origin in one phase of union with Christ and salvation has in view the realization of other phases of union with Christ." (161)

Murray details the over-riding nature of this doctrine by commenting on how union with Christ plays a part in all the doctrines described in his book. From our election, in which the elect were "...not even contemplated by the Father in the ultimate counsel of his predestinating love apart from union with Christ..." (162) right up until the final stages of redemption where " is in Christ that the people of God will be resurrected and glorified." (163-4) In summation Murray reiterates the integral part that union with Christ plays. "Union with Christ is a very inclusive subject. It embraces the wide span of salvation from its ultimate source in the eternal election of God to its final fruition in the glorification of the elect. It is not simply a phase in the application of redemption; it underlies every aspect of of redemption both in its accomplishment and in its application. Union with Christ binds all together and insures that to all for whom Christ has purchased redemption he effectively applies and communicates the same." (165)

Murray takes the last half of the chapter to describe what this union with Christ looks like. It is a spiritual union and it is a mystical union. Spiritual because the Holy Spirit is the union and also because it has in view a spiritual relationship. Mystical because it is a mystery. Yet it is a mystery that has been revealed to the elect. Finally, Murray explains how union with Christ is also clearly union with all three members of the trinity. With this point Murray clearly concludes the import and grandeur of the doctrine of union with Christ.

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