LETTER 17 - A DISCIPLE EXPERIENCES UNION IN CHRIST
Dear Church Family,
I am a disciple in the School of Jesus. He has taught me many things. He has told me, "John, go deeper."
I am still learning about the depth of living united to Christ.
When I became a follower of Jesus I became fascinated with words. Perhaps it was because I began studying harder and longer and deeper than I had before. Maybe because I changed my college major to philosophy, which is "the love of wisdom," and wisdom gets expressed in words. I even wrote a song called "Words." To top it off, my doctoral dissertation was on metaphor theory.
I felt called, by Jesus, to study words. Jesus told me, "John, I am the Word."
As a new believer, I was drawn to something called the philosophy of language. How do words successfully refer to reality? What is the meaning of "literal" language? Why does figurative language speak so powerfully to people? Why did Jesus speak in parables?
And why, why, is the most important word in the letters of Paul the tiny, two-letter preposition 'in'?
'In' is a container metaphor. I am now in my home office. Which means I share whatever is now transpiring in my home office.
'In' is a participatory metaphor. Such as, I am in a marriage. I am a co-participant in a lifelong, covenantal union with my wife Linda.
As my Teacher, Jesus teaches me about 'in'. Gary Moon writes:
"According to [Lewis] Smedes, Paul’s writings are driven by one consuming theme. One hundred sixty-four times Paul makes reference either to our being “in Christ” or to Christ’s being “in” us. Apparently, the apostle believed there was something even more important and transforming than the moral teachings of Jesus. It was the great mystery revealed. It was the present possibility of entering into union with Christ—the center and condition of authentic human existence." (Moon, Apprenticeship with Jesus: Learning to Live Like the Master, pp. 44-45)
To be a disciple of Christ you do not have to study words as intensively as I have. But an apprentice to Jesus will be instructed about the importance and greatness of living in Christ.
You are in Christ! You share in things that are now transpiring with the trinitarian being of God.
"I don’t believe the transforming power of Christ is present with us now because he once said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but because the living Christ can love my neighbor through me by being in me. The difference here can be as vast as the chasm that separates reading a prayer about God from experiencing prayer with God." (pp. 45-46; emphasis mine)
This is big.
I bless you with experiencing the reality of union with Him!
I experience Christ living in me.
Christ, the hope of glory, is in me! (Col. 1:27)
I can do all things in Christ. (Phil. 4:13)
In Christ I have been brought to fullness. (Colossians 2:9)
I am united with the Lord, therefore I am one with Him in spirit. (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am a temple, and the Holy Spirit indwells me. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I do not live under condemnation, for I am in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Jesus, I want a total transfusion of your life into my life!