Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
- Mark 1:14-15

Friday, December 28, 2018

Paul on Union With Christ - Sinclair Ferguson

I have been going through the 75 Best Sermons from Monergism.org and found something really good (after 22:50 mark in video) where he cites Thomas Goodwin saying how there are only two men who stand before God the Father, Adam and Jesus, and you are hooking yourself to either one of them.
Sinclair Ferguson - Paul on Union With Christ (Main Session - Video) from Parkside Church on Vimeo.

From the 1689 blog:

One of the most brilliant illustrations of covenant theology is that used by the Puritan divine Thomas Goodwin. In his exposition entitled Christ Set Forth, he explains that “Adam was reckoned as a common public person, not standing singly or alone for himself, but as representing all mankind to come of him’. In this he was a type of Christ, who is also a representative figure. This is why the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:47, speaks of Adam and Christ as ‘the first man’ and ‘the second Man’ respectively ‘He speaks of them’, says Goodwin, ‘as if there had never been any more men in the world, nor were ever to be for time to come, except these two. And why? but because these two between them had all the rest of the sons of men hanging at their girdle.”

Can you visualize the picture which Goodwin draws for us? He imagines two great giants, one called Adam and the other Christ. Each is wearing an enormous leather ‘girdle’ or belt with millions of little hooks on it. You and I, and all humanity, are hanging either at Adam’s belt or at Christ’s belt. There is no third option, no other place for us. And God deals with us only through Adam or through Christ. If you are hanging at Adam’s belt, you share in the experience of sinful, fallen Adam, and your entire relationship with God is through him. But if you are hanging at Christ’s belt, all God’s dealings with you are through Christ. When you received Jesus as your Saviour, you were involved in a massive and momentous transfer. The Almighty himself unhooked you from Adam’s belt and hooked you on to Christ’s. So you now have a different Head, a different Mediator, a new Representative. You have passed from Adam into Christ, and whereas God formerly dealt with you only through Adam, he now deals with you only through his Son. You are in Christ unchangeably and for ever.     [1]

Sinclair Ferguson says, "What the gospel does for us is to take us out of our union with Adam--in sin, in death, in judgment, in hell...and to put us into union and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ--in righteousness, in life, in peace, and joy, and new fruitfulness to God." Galatians 2:20 emphasizes this union of the believer with Jesus, "I have been crucified WITH Christ." Because we are united with Christ, sin no longer has dominion over us.  1 Corinthians 6:15, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?"  

Paul wanted to know Christ and to be in even greater union with Him.  He wanted to share in the fellowship of His sufferings, to be made like Him in His death, to share in the power of His resurrection, and finally to be conformed to His image.  We cannot share in His power unless we first share in His suffering.

[1] Edward Donnelly, Heaven and Hell p. 87, citing ‘ Goodwin’s Works, James Nichol edition, 1862, Vol. 4, p. 31.

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