As saints, we are placed into a new relationship with the Lord through the leading of the Holy Spirit, which indwells us, sealing us unto the day of redemption. We now belong to the congregation of the Lord, with all rights and responsibilities to follow Him by faith and live this new life by His will.
This places us in union with Christ; but to each believer, the Lord offers more – the opportunity of communion with Him. This communion is sweeter and more profound than human friendships or relationships. The experience of communion is fellowship and communication with shared affections, response, delight, and satisfaction. In other words, active communion is not a state of passivity; it consists of the giving and receiving of respect, reverence, and love.
The difference between union and communion is that those who are in union with Christ will always be in union with Him, but our experience of communion with Christ can fluctuate. We are saved by divine grace and cannot help or hinder our union with Christ. If we grow comfortable with the sin we commit or the sins of failing to yield to Christ’s Lordship, this only affects the level of intimacy we experience with the Lord – our communion with Him.
The Father’s love does not grow or diminish for His children in accordance with their actions, for His love is unwavering. God does not turn from us. We run from Him.
Sin isolates a believer, making him feel distant from God. Then come the accusations – both from Satan and self – which make the believer worry that he is under God’s wrath. Saints do not stand under wrath, but under the safe shadow of the cross. A saint’s consistency in prayer, corporate worship, and biblical meditation are not things that make God love him more or less. But these things promote the beautiful experience of communion with God. When we give in to temptations and neglect devotion to God, our union is not threatened, but our communion with Him is.
Our union with Christ encourages us to turn from sin and turn to Him, who is quick to forgive, abounding in compassion, and faithful in His unending love. Do not be mistaken – Christian obedience is of monumental importance. But obedience is not the foundation of our union with Christ. Our union is experiential and emotional, with both Christ and the Holy Spirit. Out of this union flows our active communion.
The Holy Spirit comes with power to conquer an unbelieving heart; then He comes with sweetness, to be received into that believing heart. He never abandons a believer, even when we turn His offer down. God’s grace is the basis of our relationship, the foundation of understanding the security and privilege of a saint before God.
Pastor Odom’s message can be heard each Sunday on Radio KAML, AM 990, at 8:30 a.m. Please join us at Choate Baptist Church for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday and Wednesday Evening Services at 7 p.m.