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For the Reformed (mostly): on Union with Christ

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by P92, May 15, 2019 at 4:38 PM.

  1. P92

    P92 Member

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    Hi all,

    For my reformed friends: Question 30 of the cathechism states:

    "The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling."

    "Working faith in us" quite obviously points to the "creation" of faith in the believer's heart. But does this "working faith in us" include the exercise of said faith, as in "I believe Christ died for my sins"

    Otherwise said, how does the working of faith in us unite us to Christ?

    My question is motivated by the debate between the WTS and the WSC on this topic of union with Christ. I have not picked a side and would just like to better understand the material first before attempting to adjudicate.

    Thanks,
    P92
     
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  2. Sola1517

    Sola1517 Saint-in-Progress (Looking for a Church)

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    The thing about it is, you do not only abide in Christ. Christ abides in you via the Holy Spirit. (John 15:4, 1 John 2:27) In effect, faith is what unites us to Christ because God doesn't fail. (1 Corinthians 13:8) Therefore our faith doesn't fail even when we are faithless, because God is the primary actor. (2 Timothy 2:11-13, Ephesians 2:10) That's my 2 cents.
     
  3. P92

    P92 Member

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    Sola1517, thanks for writing.

    When were you united to Christ?

    Was it before you believed that He died for your sins or after you believed that He died for your sins?

    In other words, what does "by working faith in us" in the below quote mean?

    "The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling."
     
  4. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    This is not regeneration by the Holy Spirit. A person cannot be baptised into the body of Christ before accepting Christ as Saviour. That is putting the cart before the horse.

    What actually happens is that the Holy Spirit shines the light of the gospel into the unbeliever's heart, penetrating the blindness that the god of this world had made in the unbeliever, through the preaching of the gospel from a preacher who has been sent of God to make disciples for Christ. It is in receiving that light that the unbeliever can decide whether to receive Christ or not.

    This is not for just a selected few as Calvinists believe, but it is there for every person who is prepared to listen to the preaching of the gospel. It is up to every outreach worker to spend time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord so that there is no hindrance to the Holy Spirit working through them to cut through to the hearts of unbelievers as Peter did when he preached to the crowd at Pentecost. As the result of Peter's preaching, they were cut to the heart and cried out, "What shall we do, brethren?" Peter said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." And 3000 souls came to Christ.

    So there is a progression:
    Being empowered by the Holy Spirit
    Preaching the gospel of Christ
    Unbelievers cut to the heart and convicted of sin
    Believing on Christ for salvation.
    Regeneration by the Holy Spirit resulting in true conversion.
     
  5. P92

    P92 Member

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    Oscarr, appreciate your input. This thread is not meant to be a discussion on election (there are plenty of those already on the forum) but rather a discussion on the quote from the Westminster Cathechism. Thanks for your sharing your thoughts however and for taking the time to write.
     
  6. Sola1517

    Sola1517 Saint-in-Progress (Looking for a Church)

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    I believe the Bible teaches before. Are you asking me about my story specifically?
    In essence Ephesians 1:3-4. I do not doubt predestination.
     
  7. P92

    P92 Member

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    "The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling."

    This Westminster quote is not dealing with decretal union but rather existential/mystical union, which takes place in this life.

    So in your life, when did the Spirit unite you to Christ? Was it before you believed that Christ died for your sins?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 8:50 PM
  8. Sola1517

    Sola1517 Saint-in-Progress (Looking for a Church)

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    Yes. I believe so.
     
  9. P92

    P92 Member

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    2 Cor 5:17 says "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation"

    How can you be a new creation, in/united to Christ, before you exercise faith?
     
  10. Sola1517

    Sola1517 Saint-in-Progress (Looking for a Church)

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    How can Christ be slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) and yet die at the right time? (Romans 5:6) It's the eternal covenant of grace.
     
  11. P92

    P92 Member

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    In post #8 above you said that in this life, you were united to Christ before you believed.

    So, how can you be a new creation, in/united to Christ, in this life, before you exercise faith?
     
  12. Sola1517

    Sola1517 Saint-in-Progress (Looking for a Church)

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    Christ dies for me before I was saved. :eyes: Faith is not what unites me to Christ, atonement is.
     
  13. His student

    His student Active Member

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    I'll have to disagree about that.

    Being united with Christ involves being sealed with His Holy Spirit. That happens after we exercise saving faith.

    "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise" Ephesians 1:13

    Even though Christ atoned for my sins some 2000 years ago - I was an enemy of God and a child of wrath, even as the rest of the world, before I believed.

    One cannot be united with Christ and remain an enemy of God and a child of wrath.

    I know that this isn't a thread about election. But even the elect are enemies of God before exercising justifying faith. Neither election nor the atonement in and of themselves change our status before God - we all remain enemies until we are united with Christ through faith.

    We were separated from God by not believing and acting on His Word and apparently God feels that we will not be reunited with Him unless we believe and act on His Word concerning Christ.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019 at 2:13 PM
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