See A. A. Hodge, on the Ordo Salutis, in Princeton Rev., March, 1888:304-321. ?Union with Christ,? says Dr. Hodge, ?is effected by the Holy Ghost in effectual calling. Of this calling the parts are two:
(a) the offering of Christ to the sinner, externally by the gospel and internally by the illumination of the Holy Ghost.
(b) On our part the reception of Christ is both passive and active. The passive reception is that whereby a spiritual principle is ingenerated into the human will, whence issues the active reception, which is an act of faith with which repentance is always conjoined. The communion of benefits, which results from this union, involves a change of state or relation, called justification and a change of subjective moral character, commenced in regeneration and completed through sanctification.? See also Dr. Hodge?s Popular Lectures on Theological Themes, 340, and Outlines of Theology, 333-429.
H. B. Smith, however, in his System of Christian Theology, is clearer in the putting of Union with Christ before Regeneration. On page 502, he begins his treatment of the Application of Redemption with the title: ?The Union between Christ and the individual believer as effected by the Holy Spirit. This embraces the subjects of Justification, Regeneration and Sanctification. In the underlying topic of which comes first, Election is to be considered.? He therefore treats Union with Christ (531-539) before Regeneration (553-569). He says Calvin defines regeneration as coming to us by participation in Christ and apparently agrees with this view (559).
?This union [with Christ] is at the ground of regeneration and justification? (534). ?The great difference of theological systems comes out here. Since Christianity is redemption through Christ, our mode of conceiving that will determine the character of our whole theological system? (536). ?The union with Christ is mediated by his Spirit, whence we are both renewed and justified. The great fact of objective Christianity is incarnation in order to atonement; the great fact of subjective Christianity is union with Christ, whereby we receive the atonement?
(537). We may add that this union with Christ, in view of which God elects and to which God calls the sinner, is begun in regeneration, completed in conversion, declared in justification and proved in sanctification and perseverance.
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