R.C.Sproul, Jr.’s article under the rubric “Seek Ye First” in this month’s Tabletalk is also a must read. It is a deeply personal and touching article as Sproul relates the believer’s union with Christ (the theme of this issue) to the recent losses of his wife (cancer) and daughter (disabled). His moving description of how being “in Christ” means both that He is with us in our suffering and that we are with Him in comfort and victory will bring you to tears.
There may be some things he says he that startle us – things that we may even disagree with – but his point is to demonstrate just how close our union with Christ is and what it means for His people who suffer.
Here is a few quotes from it. Read all of it at the Ligonier link above.
As strategy after strategy failed and as each new step in her fight against cancer came with longer and longer odds, I wanted nothing more than to give my dear wife hope, a reason to believe that she could get better, that as bad as it all was, we could together get through it. We, naturally, spoke quite a bit about Jesus. I reminded her that Jesus reigns, that He does all His holy will. I reminded her that Jesus had suffered greatly, only to be exalted to the right hand of the Father. I reminded her that Jesus loved her with an everlasting, immutable, and unstoppable love. He was the answer to my weakness.
But there was still a weakness in my understanding. There was one promise I longed to make to her, one beautiful thought that I thought would warm and comfort her. One thing I had purposed in my heart as this journey began, however—I would not tell her a lie. I knew that if she could not trust me to tell her the truth, that even the truths I told her could offer no comfort. So while I told her Jesus had suffered even greater hardship, I would not tell her that He had trod her exact path, that He had experienced exactly the hardship she was going through. That is exactly where I went wrong.
It is a good and glorious thing to remember what our union with Christ means in terms of our justification. That our sin is imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us is no legal fiction, as Rome accuses, precisely because of the reality of our union with Him. He really was guilty because He really was one with us. We really are innocent because we really are one with Him.
It is a good and glorious thing to remember what our union with Christ means in terms of our glorification. His work did not merely acquire for us a verdict of not guilty. Rather, because we are in union with Him, we are joint heirs with Him. The glory that is His in His resurrection is ours. The glory that is His in His ascension is ours. We are even now, because we are in union with Him, seated with Him in the heavenly places. We are kings and queens even now because we are one with Him—the One who reigns over all.
There is, however, more still. Remember that Jesus, when He met Saul on the road to Damascus, did not ask, “Why are you persecuting My bride?” but “Why are you persecuting Me?” He, in union with us, so identifies with us, that what we suffer, He suffers. Because we are one flesh, what one half suffers the other does as well.