Union With Christ

Are You Ready for Union with Christ?

In this season of Lent, many Christians are preparing themselves for Easter. Did you know that the word “Lent” comes from the Old English word Lencten, meaning spring?  Easter happens in springtime in the Northern hemisphere. Spring is also the favoured time for weddings all over the world. It’s not too hot or too cold and flowers are plentiful. It’s a season where examples from nature, such as wildflower carpeted bushland or chirping fledglings being attended to by the parent bird, make us think of rebirth, rejuvenation, regrowth and resurrection. It’s a fitting time for the union of two people in love to commit to growing together in a new life. 

The book of Revelation tells us that, as the perfected church, we will be the bride of Christ when He returns.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:7,8)

And so, Lent is an excellent time for Christians everywhere to remember the promises we made to Jesus when we first believed, and to check our growth. 

Wedding Preparations 

The main theme in the book of Ephesians is “the Church, the Body of Christ.” The writer uses the metaphor of a marriage union, emphasising the love in such a union, but also the necessity of keeping it holy and pure. He gives many practical applications. 

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31,32)

It is to be a royal wedding, as the groom is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. If we look at some earthly Spring Royal Wedding preparations we may get some tips that will help us prepare for our wedding to the Lamb.

When Mary Donaldson married Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, she made many changes. She slimmed down, used hairdressers every day, and allowed her heavy-handed makeup to be professionally refined by makeup artists. She upgraded her clothing to couture.  However, her greatest changes meant that she would be prepared, on her union with the Prince, to leave her home. Her life in Australia, her family, her friends and even her occupation were to be left behind as she took up immediate citizenship in another land.  She had to learn the customs and even the language of this foreign country, which she admits was more than challenging. She had to be taught how to adopt and support her future husband’s duties and interests. 

The same was true for another spring bride, Grace Kelly, the Hollywood actress who married Prince Rainier III of Monaco.  And, although Kate Middleton did not have to change countries or learn a new language for her union with Prince William, the second in line to the throne of the UK, she had to make enormous changes.

These are three different Royal brides from three different countries with three things in common: 

  1. They fell in love and were prepared to leave everything behind.  (They each recognised the splendour of their partners’ kingdom.) 
  2. They made themselves ready by striving to fit into the role with all of the help that was at their disposal.  (They each recognised its importance.)
  3. They were publicly recognised as the royal bride-to-be and were seen in company with their groom and his family, often assisting with his royal duties.  (They each counted their obligations secondary to his.) 

Is the Church Ready for Union with Christ? 

Jesus himself tells us that He has gone to prepare the palace and the kingdom for us. He will be coming back for us. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  (John 14:3)

We all see the necessity of a royal bride to prepare herself but we miss the similarity with the church and her union with Christ – even though it is written about so often throughout scripture.  As well as the love in the marriage union, the writer to the Ephesians reminds the church of the call to be Holy.  God is Holy and our call is to be like Him.  

Be holy, because I am holy  (1 Peter 1:16)

This is not an either/or, but a demand.  I believe that people fail to be holy as they do not understand holiness.

What is Holiness?

Holiness is not mainly about moral holiness. As long as we think that holiness is limited to doing or not doing certain things we can go throughout our entire lives obeying rules we have given ourselves. We say we are under grace, not law. But we place ourselves back under law without realising it. “I’m not sexually immoral, or a drunkard, or taking drugs or fighting with my neighbours, I pray and read my Bible and go to church and I’ve renounced all of the sins that I can remember so I must be part-way to being holy.”  Wrong! 

Jesus is the Holy and righteous one, Peter announced in his first sermon:

You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. (Acts 3:14)

We receive the title “Holy” as soon as we put our trust in Jesus Christ at salvation.   Our royal brides received many titles on their union with their Princes and we receive the title of holiness from Jesus Christ. So, it’s not about what we are or are not doing it’s about whose we are.  We’ve received holiness and now to keep it pure all we have to do is use that holiness as a foundation for our future behaviour and, like the earthly royal brides, make ourselves ready by striving to fit into the role with all the help at our disposal.  The Holy Spirit is the means of that help as He is our Advocate. 

As we read about, and hang around with our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, and His Church, we will learn how He thinks, feels and acts.  Then all we need to do is apply that learned behaviour to our own condition and circumstances. 

The earthly royal brides by their conduct and their public confession said, “I will!”, to their Princes.  Are you ready to say “I will”?

This message is an part of a sermon given by Andrea Lock on 6 March, 2016, at the Perth Healing Ministries Chapel. Guests are always welcome at our 6pm services. If you would like information about our church or ministry sessions, please use the contact form below.