“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:3–4

Unity with Christ is a vibrant subject all through the New Testament. A Christian’s unity with Christ is a loyal unity—a willing allegiance both from Christ toward His own as well as a believer’s allegiance toward Christ. It is also pictured as a wedded unity—a wedding together of Christ and each of His believers. It is also body unity—at salvation every Christian is placed into the body of Christ, a single body made up of many parts with Christ as its head. Finally, as in our text above, a Christian’s unity with Christ is an organic identification—by federal and seminal headship. We shall briefly consider these in reverse order.

Ephesians 1 expresses the multiplied benefits of being chosen in Christ as our Head. All the benefits listed in the first fourteen verses are benefits poured out upon every believer in the heavenlies. They are not benefits that can be felt with the senses. Being chosen, blamelessness, adopted, accepted before God, forgiven (in all its fullness), inheriting, predestined, and sealed with the Spirit are all benefits of God’s grace and would all remain a mystery apart from God’s revelation in His Word.

On the basis of this unity, Ephesians 2 investigates the redemptive work that unity in Christ brings. Ephesians 2:4–7 reads, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ah, the mysteries of unity hinted at here in this text! We experience our salvation as a present and timely rescue from a life of sin to a life of service for God, redemption in its finest human sense. But here it is revealed as so much more, total unity with Christ.

Paul explains the present, practical side of this organic identification with Christ in Romans 6. Verses 5 and following read, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.”

The apostle is explaining body unity. When a person is born again he is immersed into the body of Christ (this is the reason for a new believer being challenged to join in membership with a local body of believers, especially in order to grow and serve). Water baptism by immersion symbolizes the spiritual reality that a new believer has died to himself in Christ, was buried with Him, and has risen with Christ in His resurrection. That spiritual truth is supposed to be mirrored in testimonial behavior from the day of salvation forward by living a life dead to old ways and alive to the ways of God.

The reality of body unity will be manifested to a watching world for it is a union like a marriage. Ephesians 5:30f tells us to be faithful, in illustrating the meaning of the marriage of a man and a woman, “For we are members of His body, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Marriage is not a marriage of similar things, marriage is a wedding of two dissimilar things becoming one. This kind of inseparable, voluntary, joining of the believer with Christ will promote the mindful living that John speaks of in 1 John 2:24f, “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He promised us—eternal life.” It will also lead to chaste behavior, as 1 Corinthians 6:15 declares, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not” (2 Corinthians 11:2)! Romans 7:4 teaches us that this unity with Christ is to make us fruitful:“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”

Organic unity in Christ makes for body unity characterized by married unity which takes practical shape in loyal unity. Christ is committed in allegiance to His redeemed brethren. Review Matthew 10:40, 13:5, 25:40; Acts 9:4; and 1 Corinthians 8:12. He is fully vested in us as we should be in Him.

As He abides with us we are exhorted to abide with Him in John 15, for fruit (v. 4), for usefulness for Him (v. 5), to avoid being spiritual deadwood (v. 6), for answered prayer (v. 7), and to stay in the very center of His love by obedience (v. 10). Treasure your unity with Christ. Trust and obey.