Whenever the word mystical is mentioned in Christian discourse, some people at once become apprehensive. Have not reputable theologians like B. B. Warfield or Karl Barth seriously warned against using this word in our Christian speech? Yet men like John Calvin, C. H. Spurgeon, and G. A. Barrois, all of them in the Reformed tradition, have unblushingly spoken of the mystical union of the believer with the risen Lord. Where, keeping all of this in view, shall we take our stand?
Let us from the outset be clear on this: mystical union with Christ does not describe the total absorption of the believer in Christ or Deity. No identity philosophy as expressed in Neo-Platonism or classical Hinduism is either possible or permissible in an evangelical Christian experience. Nevertheless we do affirm the possibility and reality of a highly personal and intimate union of the believer with the crucified, risen, and exalted Lord.
The word mystical in this context is used to suggest the wonder of our communion with Jesus Christ. For this union of a redeemed sinner with a pardoning Saviour transcends all human apprehension. It is created of God, a gift of his supreme love, not for selfish contemplation, but for the energizing, through the Holy Spirit, of the whole of man for fruitful service to God and man.
The Scriptural Teaching on this Union. The Bible testifies on every page to God’s longing for fellowship with his creatures. God created man for fellowship with himself and his neighbor. Man’s fall shattered his relationship with the Lord, but God unceasingly agonized in order to restore man to blessed fellowship with himself. Abraham like Enoch of old walked and talked with God, as friend with friend. God called Israel out of ...1
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