18 May 2021
Communion with Christ does involve our understanding of who Christ is and what He has done for us; it also includes a willingness to give ourselves unreservedly to Him. But our communion with Him also enlivens and transforms the Christian affections.
We are often and rightly reminded not to live the Christian life on the basis of our emotions, but we must never make the mistake of thinking that the gospel leaves our emotions untouched. Rather, it cleanses and transforms them by its power. We come to love what we formerly hated and to delight in what we formerly despised.
Christ reveals His secrets to His people and thus transforms their relationship with Him from that of “servants” to “friends” because they know what their Master is doing. How could He, who lays down His life for us, keep anything back from us that would be for our joy and lead to His pleasure and joy in us?
In turn, we find Christ becomes our delight. Even – or especially – in our weakness, His Spirit helps us (Rom. 8:26-27). He prays when we have no words to pray. Thus, one of the features of the spiritually minded believer is that his desires are greater than his words. By contrast, the person who does not delight in Christ will pray with words that far exceed his desires.
Before we were united to Christ, we could not delight in HIm, because we were shut up under sin. But now, we delight in the new and living way that has been opened up for us to come to God through our Saviour. We can now approach the throne of heaven with boldness. Such spiritual delight in Christ has a powerful moral effect on our lives. We have come to delight in Christ only when we have begun to live for Christ and a new sensitivity to and distaste for sin has been produced in us by His delight in us and ours in HIm. This is how love functions.
Rather than producing carelessness, spiritual delight produces carefulness. It is because of this that the believer will place himself in a church context where all of the instruments of the Lord’s blessings – worship, fellowship, the ministry of the Word,and the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper – can be experienced. Christ blesses us in other ways and by other means, but only when we are walking in the ways and means He has prepared for us.
Our true worth is found in the value Christ has placed upon us, not in the valuation of our self-assessment. It is what He has done (and who He is as the One who has done it) that gives us real value and creates a sense of worth in us. For us, Christ was willing to become flesh;for us, He emptied Himself into human nature; for us, He became poor; for us, He was willing for His glory to be eclipsed. For usl, He became a servant, drinking the cup of divine judgement and bearing the curse of God.
Here, we discover a Christ-valuation of ourselves that is calculated to dissolve all false self-worth and yet preserve us from pride. Christ’s way of giving us worth has all the marks of divine genius. We exult in our privileges; He receives all the glory. We become royal children by His gifts and grant, and so all self-valuation, for good or ill, is dissolved in His supreme valuation. And in turn, this – inevitably, surely – leads to the value we place on Christ and share with the psalmist: we have none in heaven beside HIm and none on earth we desire like Him. We value Him above all, and count everything as loss by comparison (Philip. 38).
We refuse to allow anything, in either our valuation of it or our affections toward it, to have a place that belongs only to Christ. We become sensitive to and love His indwelling Spirit and do not grieve Him. We live out our lives on a pathway of worship and fellowship. We have received freely from Christ. In our delight in HIm, we give ourselves freely, unreservedly, and joyfully back to Christ. This is communion indeed.