Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Union & Communion With God

I have always had questions concerning how we can never be snatched from the hands of God, but at the same time experience seasons where He feels distant from us. The issue here is about the ebbs and flows of our relationship with God. If we are forever secured in relationship with God through Christ, do our sins committed after our conversion have any effect on us? This has often puzzled me.

Recently while reading John Owen's book Communion with God this issue was brought up. The way Owen described this issue was that in Christ, we have union with God. This union is forged by our faith in his death and resurrection. At our conversion we were joined in union with God, justified before Him. This union is forever and irreversible. Once we have experienced this union with God through Christ, we can then participate in communion with God. This communion is a relationship that we can experience with the Lord Almighty as a result of our union through Christ. However, our communion with God, unlike our union, can have seasons of great delights and seasons of great sorrow. Our communion with God can fluctuate depending on our willingness to pursue God, be in His Word, seek Him in prayer, repent of our sin, and other things like this. Communion with God is forged as we seek Him and come to Him. Communion is disrupted and slowed when we do not seek Him and have sins that have gone unchecked.

It is important for us as believers to understand this dynamic. In Christ, we have union with God Almighty, and that can never be taken. However, our communion with God, the feeling of being close to Him and sensing His presence in our lives, is dependent on our seeking of Him. Communion with God will have some seasons that are better than others.

We should all desire to draw nearer to God in closer communion and fellowship with Him. If we do not feel close to Him, it does not mean that we have no union with Him, but could point out to us that our communion with God is struggling due to some area of neglect in our lives. This serves to encourage the believer that even when we have failures in our lives, our union with God is never shaken. But this also rips away the deception from people who believe they can experience closeness with God, yet live in unrepentant sin.

What are your thoughts? Does the distinctions help you to understand the dynamic at work in our relationship with God? What insights does this give you concerning this subject? 

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