As shown in the last chapter, there are many examples of union in Scripture. We are comfortable with these union. Union is a common concept in the Bible. By going through these examples, the subject of our Union with Christ won’t be something we resist!
- Jesus Christ: “Hypostatic Union” = Fully God, Fully Man
- Humans: Human Body and Soul
- Marriage: One Flesh
- Union with Christ
Let’s look at each one individually. First, the Trinity:
A. Union in the Trinity
As we know, the Trinity is God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All fully God, one in essence/being, but distinct persons. For a full discussion, any Biblical Systematic Theology will fully cover this topic. For our purposes, the following are examples of verses that clearly teach union, unity, oneness, etc. between all three persons of the Godhead.
First, God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son are one.
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
John 10:33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for
blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”
Second, God the Father and the Holy Spirit are one.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of
God dwells in you?
Third, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one.
Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of
God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not
belong to Him.
Lastly, God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. Look at these important phrases in John 14:16-23. To make it easier to follow the underlined phrases, other parts of the verses are omitted, but marked with “…”
John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth…, you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… 20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you… 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Using Hebrew plural forms for the titles/names of God, Deuteronomy 6:4 then claims that our plural God is one!
Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
Possibly the greatest coverage of the subject of unity/oneness in the Godhead are in (1) John 14, and, (2) Christ’s High Priestly prayer of John 17. I suggest you read that section of John to be fully overwhelmed with the unity of the Godhead, the Trinity.
Going back to the concept of union, these passages teach that there is complete, 100%, oneness, unity, union between all three persons of the Godhead, the Trinity: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yet, each is still a distinct person in the Godhead. Again, your favorite Systematic Theology text will cover this thoroughly.
Spoiler alert! Jumping ahead to another chapter, we will see that this unity/oneness is shared with all Christians. We are one with God. Does that overwhelm you? (No, that does not make us God!).
Since you’re probably not looking up these verses in your Bible as you should be, here they are to contemplate intently!
Again, these passages teach that there is complete, 100%, oneness, unity, union between all three persons of the Godhead, the Trinity: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yet, each is still a distinct person in the Godhead. This is a union we accept and see often in the Bible.
B. The Hypostatic Union of Jesus Christ
“Hypostatic” is what one member of our church once called an example of a “twenty-five cent word.” Not a phrase we use today, but he meant that this is a big word he didn’t understand! “Hypostatic” simply means “nature” or “essence.” “Hypostatic union” means the union of two natures: God and Man. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Hebrews 1:3 says “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature . That verse is one of many that teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully in union with God the Father. Yet we also know that Jesus Christ is fully human. He was born as we are, lived as we live and died as we do. He is both fully God and fully man. That is a union that we know and accept (can’t say we completely understand it!) in Scripture.
David Matthis wrote, “It is immeasurable sweet, and awe-inspiring to know that Jesus’ two natures are perfectly united in His one person. Jesus is not divided. He is not two people. He is one person. As the Chalcedonian Creed states, His two natures are without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation. Jesus is one.” (David Mathis, DesiringGod.org).
C. Humans: Union of Human Body and Soul
God made us as two-part beings: body and soul. You can use spirit and soul anonymously, but, in context, they can be used to explain different functions of our immaterial part. The following verses show that both Christ and New Testament authors taught that we, as human beings, are the union of a body and a soul:
Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;
but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits
his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts
which wage war against the soul.
This is yet another union that we’ve learned about in Bible and are comfortable with! And, as with the other unions we are seeing, it is so perfectly created by God that we cannot separate our two parts internally. We accept this union by faith.
D. Marriage: One Flesh
This is another union that we experience personally. As we will see in future chapters, this is union is used as a metaphor for teaching us about our union with Christ. It describes some of the most vital, intimate, personal realities of our union with Christ.
Every Christian should be aware of these verses. But, you may not have considered nor understand what union really was before now and will have a better understanding now of union in marriage:
Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be
joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created
them from the beginning made them male and female,
As John MacArthur explains in his commentary on Matthew 19:4, “one flesh” is much more than just a physical act:
“Consequently,” Jesus said, “when a man and woman are joined in marriage they are no longer two, but one flesh.” They are therefore indivisible and inseparable, except through death. In God’s eyes they become the total possession of each other, one in mind and spirit, in goals and direction, in emotion and will. When they have a child it becomes the perfect emblem and demonstration of their oneness, because that child is a unique product of the fusion of two people into one flesh and carries the combined traits of both parents.
But it is not, as some foolishly argue, that becoming one flesh in the sex act is what constitutes marriage. If that were true, there would be no such thing as fornication, because as soon as an unmarried man and woman engaged in the sex act they would be automatically married, rather than guilty of wickedness. Under the Mosaic law, the act of fornication obligated the man to marry the woman or pay compensation to her father (Ex. 22:16–17), further indicating that the sexual act itself is not the equivalent of marriage.
On the other hand, the act of adultery, shattering as it is to the marriage relationship, does not in itself dissolve a marriage. Marriage is a mutual covenant, a God-ordained obligation between a man and a woman to lifelong companionship. When rebuking the Israelites for their adultery and frequent divorces, the Lord declared that by divorcing his wife a man “dealt treacherously” with her, “though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Mal. 2:14–16). In God’s eyes, every wife is a “wife by covenant,” never merely a wife by fornication, convenience, or whim. (MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, p. 166). Chicago: Moody Press.)
At this point, our refresher on the unions in Scripture that we know, accept, and understand, has prepared us to move on to the union that we most often neglect – our union with Christ.