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Marriage is the greatest earthly picture of Jesus Christ's union with the church

One of the most fascinating doctrines that the Bible teaches is that Christians are united to Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself teaches that his followers are in him, and he is in his followers (John 15:4-5). This perfect union of God and man is somewhat mysterious, yet the Apostle Paul writes of this union and from it calls Christians to live Christ-centered lives. Notice these words of Scripture:

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).

To be sure, all whom God has saved are united with Christ. And since Christ is raised up to heaven at the right hand of the Father, the church (i.e. all believers) is raised up, too. This spiritual union with the Savior is life changing.

The greatest earthly picture of Jesus' union with the church is marriage. When a woman and a man are united in holy matrimony, everything changes for them.

On the day my wife and I were married, we walked into the church building in Overland Park, Kansas, as two separate people. Then the moment her pastor married us, our personal independence vanished. We became one. And of course, this drastically changed our perspectives. Our individual lives could not be governed by our individual desires; she became the center of my life, and I the center of hers.

I don't want to pretend like we are the perfect couple, it may take a lifetime of marriage to grow into our oneness identity. But as we grow, it's important that I continue to pursue my wife and that she pursue me.

And in a similar way, we can view the believer's unity to Christ. Although Christians are one with Jesus, we can forget to seek him. This is suggested by the reminder in Colossians 3:1, "keep seeking the things above, where Christ is."

Much like after our wedding, I must keep pursuing my wife, so after conversion, we Christians are to keep seeking Jesus Christ and his ways. There is no such thing as independence in marriage, nor is there in the Christian life.

King Jesus is to be the center of our lives. We live to honor him by keeping our perspective on him.

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:2-3).

This unity to Jesus is so sure, believers are said to be "hidden" in him. From God's viewpoint, there is no visible separation between Christ and his followers. The Christian's life is the life of Christ (Romans 6:1-11).

Therefore, union with Christ changes everything in the believer's life. As my wife's interests became my interests, so when God saved me, his interests became my interests. No longer was I the guy who lives life his own way, but God made me the type of guy who lives for Jesus Christ.

So consider your life. Are you in Christ? If you are, keep seeking him. If you are not in Christ, it isn't too late. Turn from your independence and your sins and begin believing and following Christ (Romans 10:9).

If you would like to talk to someone about how to become a Christian or how to grow in Christ, you can always call on me.

Chris Cookston is the pastor of Prineville Community Church. He can be reached at 541-447-6315.

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