Our current series considers the answers you should know to the questions you should be asking. This past Sunday, I asked Paul’s question from Romans 6:1, “Should we go on sinning?” It should come as no surprise that I agree with the apostle—we should not! By God’s grace, we who believe have been delivered from sin, not given license to sin. Since we are in Christ, we cannot minimize the severity of sin or excuse the presence of sin.
And it’s this unity with Christ that I want to explore further. Grappling with the truth that we are united with him in his death and resurrection (Rom. 6:5) is essential to understand the heart of the Christian message. Michael Horton says it this way, “Although we are justified by Christ’s external righteousness imputed to us, our Savior does not remain outside of us, simply leading the way to a better life; rather we live in him.” We are more than recipients, we are participants in Christ.
This union with Christ is liberating to us, for since we died with Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. This was the topic of Sunday’s message, but the implications for Christian living are numerous. Being incorporated into the life of Christ affects our worship, our vocation, etc. Living in Christ changes who we are, and everything else—it is all encompassing.
Consider our ministry efforts in Haiti. In recent months we have made some significant investments into an orphanage in Williamson. Our involvement is needed, the conditions that these children are living in are deplorable, and compassion insists that we offer our help. But, while empathy is wonderful stuff, it’s inadequate to the task. If our involvement is to make a lasting impact, it must be driven by our new identity. As members of Christ (1 Cor.6:15) we move in concert with him by loving those in need. This is why we are in Haiti, we are there in him.
Do you see how our union with Christ informs even our mission efforts? “What would Jesus do” becomes more than an ethical consideration, it’s personal for you and me. Since we are united with him, we are constrained to move in him. Since we are united in him, we are enabled to minister with him.
I am convinced that if we lived with this awareness at the top of our minds, we would live differently. Mindful of our steps, we would be more holy, more merciful, more Christ-like. Living in him, we would look more like him.