Christianity is a social matter and the true Christian feels the need of being with and among his brethren. The Romans could not understand why ?this new sect? must hold meetings all the time ? even daily meetings. Why could they not go alone or in families to the temples, and make offerings to their God, and then come away, as the pagans did? It was this meeting together which exposed them to persecution and martyrdom. It was the natural and inevitable expression of their union with Christ and so of their union with one another.
The consciousness of union with Christ gives assurance of salvation. It is a great stimulus to believing prayer and to patient labor. It is a duty to ?know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe? ( <490118>Ephesians 1:18, 19). Christ?s command, ?Abide in me, and I in you? ( <431504>John 15:4), implies that we are both to realize and to confirm this union, by active exertion of our own wills. We are to abide in him by an entire consecration, and to let him abide in us by an appropriating faith. We are to give ourselves to Christ and to take in return the Christ who gives himself to us, in other words, we are to believe Christ?s promises and to act upon them. All sin consists in the sundering of man?s life from God, and most systems of falsehood in religion are attempts to save man without merging his life in God?s once more. The only religion that can save mankind is the religion that fills the whole heart and the whole life with God and that aims to interpenetrate universal humanity with that same living Christ who has already made himself one with the believer. This consciousness of union with Christ gives ?boldness? ( parrhsi>a ? 4:13; <620514>1 John 5:14) toward men and toward God. The word belongs to the Greek democracies. Freemen are bold. Demosthenes boasts of his frankness. Christ frees us from the hide- bound, introspective, self-conscious spirit. In him we become free, demonstrative, outspoken. So we find, in John?s epistles, that boldness in prayer is spoken of as a virtue, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews urges us to ?draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace?
( <580416>Hebrews 4:16). An engagement of marriage is not the same as marriage. The parties may be still distant from each other. Many Christians get just near enough to Christ to be engaged to him. This seems to be the experience of Christian in the Pilgrim?s Progress. But our privilege is to have a present Christ, and to do our work not only for him, but also in him. ?Since Christ and we are one, Why should we doubt or fear?? ?We two are so joined, He?ll not be in heaven, And leave me behind.?
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