The doctrine of union and communion with Christ provides a number of comforts or encouragements to Christians. I want to look at two in particular that some puritans highlighted: first, the dignity and honor that union with Christ bestows upon believers and second, the assurance that union with Christ grants to believers.
I don’t think that I am going out on a limb by saying that Christians, myself included, really have no idea how special they are. We just don’t get it. There are many reasons for this. One is that we are not recognized as special or treated with honor because we are Christians. People don’t look at a Christian like they look at royalty or a movie star or a sports star or a powerful politician or a wealthy businessperson. If they did, then we might well find it easy to believe that we are very important persons. But it is hard to think that way about ourselves when we are ignored, or worse, treated with contempt. Another reason is that we may not be all that successful. We have no plaques on the wall, no trophy case and no savings account. We are average, or below average. There is nothing great or noteworthy about us at all.
While you may not be great in the world’s eyes, or even in your own eyes, if you are a true believer, then you are united to Christ, and if you are united to Christ then “this speaks the excellency and dignity of your persons" (Thomas Jacomb). Christ is great and glorious, and you become great and glorious due to your personal and intimate relationship with him. When Esther married King Ahasuerus, she became queen and assumed all the honor, glory and privileges of being his queen. But, as Jacomb points out, “this is nothing to the honour which Christ hath put upon you in his joining and marrying you to himself.” For union with Christ brings us “into the full enjoyment of Christ, with all his riches, and all his glory" (Thomas Case). We share in all that Christ is and has, including his titles, dignities, offices, excellences, prerogatives, and inheritance. He is a son of God, so are you. He is a king, so are you. He is heir of all things, so you are co-heirs with him. Surely, Jacomb is correct to say that “the saint in his rags is greater than the sinner in his robes; for the one is in Christ, and the other is not, and that puts a superlative glory and excellency upon him.” And so, it doesn’t matter “what the world says or thinks of you” or “what your outward condition is in the world" (Jacomb), because you “have another rate and value set upon [you] in heaven" (Case).
Assurance of salvation is another comfort that union and communion with Christ brings to the believer. Marital unions are constantly being dissolved today but our union with Christ is indissoluble. Nothing will be able to separate us from Christ. Our life is hidden with Christ in God and “therefore it is sure and safe" (Jacomb). In fact, “there is no more possibility of pulling the believer out of the bosom of Christ, than there is of removing Christ out of the bosom of his Father" (Case). Because Jesus lives, we shall live also. Death doesn’t even break our union with Christ because we die in the Lord. At death, our souls are united to Christ in heaven, and Christ is united to our bodies “in the grave, their very dust; they sleep in Jesus" (Case). Since we are and always will be united to Christ who has conquered sin and death, we will not lose our salvation but persevere in the faith until the end and we will be raised from the dead to eternal life on the last day.