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John xvii. How sublime, significant, and comprehensive, are these words!
3. Lastly, This union is represented in the Scripture by identity or sameness of interest.-The believer is represented as having interest in Christ's sufferings, "I am crucified with Christ ;" and Christ as having interest in the sufferings of the believer. "In all their affliction he was afflicted." "Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh," Col. i. 24. The believer is said to have interest in the same Father, and the same brethren, as Christ. "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." The believer is represented as having interest in the surety-righteousness of Christ, and Christ as having interest in the inherent holiness of the believer. He has personal interest in the Redeemer's righteousness, for he is the righteousness of God in him; and his Redeemer has a special propriety in his holiness, for he requires it, and his glory is promoted by it. He has the same interest as Christ himself, for he is an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ. I "will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am there ye may be also," John xiv. 3.
V. I go on now to the fifth general head,-To consider the immediate effect of union with Christ, as expressed in the text, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit." To be one Spirit with the Lord Jesus is an inestimable privilege; and it is the sure, the inviolable privilege of every one who is vitally united to him.
Now, in the 1st place, he who is joined to the Lord is not one Spirit with him essentially, but only mystically. As the believer is a member of Christ's body mystically,
we are the body of Christ, and members in particular;" so he is mystically one Spirit with him. Jesus and the believer are so closely united as to be one, and so are Christ and the Spirit: but Christ and the blessed Spirit are so united as to be one essentially, the person of the one and of the other possessing only one Divine essence;
whereas the Christian and the Spirit are one mystically. Though the Divine essence is not so common to the believer and the Spirit as to constitute them one in essence, yet the union between them is, notwithstanding, so intimate that they are no more two, but one. Believers are not only one in the Father and the Son, but one in the Spirit.
2d, He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit, that is, he is united to the Spirit.-The true Christian not only receives Christ Jesus the Lord, but he receives the Spirit by the hearing of faith. As he is united to Christ the moment he receives him, so no sooner does he receive the blessed Spirit than he is as intimately united also to him. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of Christ, is revealed in the promise; and he makes his triumphant entrance into the soul in the day of regeneration. But whenever he thus unites himself to the soul of the sinner, it is enabled to receive him in the promise as the Spirit of Christ. Wherever union with Christ is, there is also union with the Spirit in him. When one is united to Jesus as his Saviour, he is united to the whole Trinity in him; to his Father as his Father, to the Son as his elder Brother, and to the blessed Spirit as his Sanctifier and Comforter. This is a necessary consequence of union with Christ, as Mediator. He, then, that is so joined to the Lord Jesus as to be one Spirit with him, is accordingly one Spirit: the eternal Spirit and he are so intimately united as to be one. O what a high honour, what an exalted privilege is this!
3d, He is one Spirit; he partakes of the same influences and operations of the Holy Spirit that Christ himself does.-Though there is a great difference as to the degree, yet there is none in the kind or quality of the influence. The Father giveth not the Spirit by measure unto the man Christ, but he deals to every believer according to the measure of faith and yet every kind of influence that was communicated to the One as Mediator is imparted also to the other. All who are joined to him are in this sense one Spirit with him. Does the Holy Spirit rest upon Christ the Mediator as a Spirit of glory?
He rests as such on every believing soul. "The Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you," 1 Pet. iv. 14. Does he rest upon him as a Spirit of wisdom and understanding? He is communicated as such to all who believe. "That God may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened," &c. Eph. i. 17, 18. Does he reside in Christ as a Spirit of counsel? So does he also in the believer. "Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel." Does he rest on Christ as a Spirit of knowledge? He rests as such on every member of his mystical body. "Ye shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them." The Spirit resides in Christ as a Spirit of might, and therefore on believers as a Spirit of power: "For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power." Does he rest upon Jesus Christ as the Spirit of life? Then the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made the saints free from the law of sin and death. Does he dwell in Jesus as a Spirit of Joy? He resides as such in all his members. 66 I will send another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." Does he rest upon Christ as a Spirit of truth? He dwells as such in all his people. "When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all the truth." He resides in the Lord Jesus as a Spirit of the fear of the Lord, and all believers enjoy him as such. "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Does he dwell in Christ as a Spirit of grace? Then, "out of his fulness do all believers receive, and grace for grace." Does he rest upon Jesus Christ as the Spirit of holiness? He resides as such in the heart of every believer, rendering him holy in conformity to his image, as the firstborn among many brethren. Although the blessed Spirit proceeds from the Son, as God, yet he is communicated to him, as Mediator and man, and to all the members of his body mystical.
4th, Lastly, He who is joined to the Lord Jesus is
one Spirit; he is of the same mind as Christ. To this the apostle Paul exhorts the believers at Philippi, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," &c. Phil. ii. 5. None are vitally united to Christ but such as are enabled to correspond to him in sentiment, inclination, and affection; none but they who acquiesce in his gracious covenant, and pursue diligently the exercise of faith and holiness.
1. From what has been said on this subject, we may see special ground of consolation to believers. Union with Christ is the believer's security for all Divine protection and gracious provision. When Jesus cares for the believing soul, he cares for himself. When a poor sinner goes home to Christ, and is united to him by faith, his carnal friends begin to cast him off. But be of good courage; Christ hath received you. What though a servant frown, when the Master bids you welcome! be of good comfort, for though you have many wants, yet, when you are joined to the Lord Jesus, you are united to overflowing fulness.
2. Hence see ground of great admiration. Christ and the believer are intimately united to one another. The Creator is united to the creature: strength united to weakness, light to darkness, fulness to emptiness, and life to death! O Christian, admire and adore the ineffable mystery of this union. Believers are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified; and yet they grow not on their own root, but on Him who is the Root and Offspring of David.
3. Hence we may infer a special ground of the perseverance of the saints; they are vitally united to the Lord Jesus. Their life and his life are bound up together; and because he liveth they shall live also. The believer ingrafted into Christ can never be separated from him. The branch of a tree may sometimes be agitated much by a tempest, or even bowed down by a man's hand, and yet it will cleave to the stock; and when the tempest ceases, or the hand lets it go, it will rise as formerly. In like manner, the believer united to Christ
may be violently tossed with tempests, and not comforted, and may appear to be torn from him; but being still vitally connected with him, he will rise again and revive. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me," Psal. cxxxviii. 7.
4. We may hence learn the sinfulness and danger of persecuting, or otherwise injuring any of the saints: they are intimately united to Christ Jesus, and whatever is done to the least of them is done to him. They are one spirit with Him; when they are despised He is despised; when they are persecuted He is persecuted. "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye." "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" Consider, O disdainful sinner, that while you despise the true Christian, you contemn Christ himself. "He that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth Him that sent me,” Luke x. 16. Your hard speeches against the believer are all registered as so many reproaches uttered against Christ himself; and, if mercy prevent it not, you shall be called to answer for them.
5. How vain and delusive is it in men to pretend to union with Christ, without partaking of his Spirit? "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." If the Spirit who resides without measure in Christ, dwell not in them, they are not one spirit with him. Alas! many seem to have taken hold of Jesus Christ, who yet eat their own bread, and wear their own apparel, and are only called by his name. "They call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; they make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness," Isa. xlviii. 1, 2. Nothing is more vain and delusive than an empty form of godliness.
6. Hence learn how firm the believer's obligations to the love and practice of holiness are. Fruitfulness in good works is the very end of his vital union with the Lord Jesus. Are any of united to Christ as your Head of sanctifying influence? Then you are bound to love him with supreme affection, and to love and prac