In Him Together for the World

 

“Because we are united with the Son, all of His blessings are ours. Because we are united with the Son, everything He has achieved is credited to us. Because we are united to the Son, we have the same intimacy with the Father that Christ Himself has: He says of us: ‘This is my son, whom I love: with him I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17, NIV).”

 

Calvin thought that the doctrine of our unity with Christ was the spring from which all other doctrine, and indeed Christian living, had its source. That is a gigantic claim. Strange, therefore, is the relative silence on the topic from much of the mainstream Christian literature. Enter the fascinating In Christ, in which Timmis and de la Hoyde have produced an accessible and winsome exploration of the neglected doctrine. Explaining and tracing it through Scripture, they finally put it to work with jaw-dropping practicality. My approach to sin and my devotional time has been different since.

 

A great help in In Christ’s effectiveness comes with its being captivatingly written. It is exciting. More importantly, it is outstandingly concise. Everything one reads feels necessary and part of the flow. It is full of finely honed lines that require meditation. You get the feeling that Timmis and de la Hoyde know that it is a book for reading twice.

 

For me, their clarification of what Jesus’s representation of us means carries the book. This provides the much-needed lens to make sense of some seemingly weird passages of Scripture like 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15. One particular area of illumination is (strangely) evangelistic. A question that I get all the time is how God can be just in holding us guilty for Adam’s sin. Other responses aside, In Christ allows us to understand that if we reject representation in Adam, we cannot, intellectually honestly anyway, accept representation in Christ. And without the latter representation, there can be no salvation.

 

Another area is that of godliness. Bizarrely (?), this book deals with Christian identity potentially better than any other book that I have read. Could this be because understanding our union with Christ is missing from most of our reading? Either way, by being utterly motivating, In Christ could be the paradigm-shift in the reader required to enable the believer to start winning in her perpetual fight against the flesh.

 

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