Union with Christ

Why is Jesus the only one that can redeem humanity?

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Salvation begins with the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is the one who represented us, before the Father, as guilty sinners, and died for our sins. And the way of salvation now is that we acknowledge him, as the one who died for us, as the Lord who is risen, and as the Christ who is here for us to trust, and enroll with him as his disciples. The pattern of personal salvation includes acknowledging him in that way, and enrolling as his disciples. And otherwise, there's no link as yet between us and him, and so what he's done for us doesn't yet apply to us. Union with Christ, by faith from the human side, and through the Holy Spirit from the divine side, is of the very essence of coming into the reality of salvation. So Paul, in Romans first 5 chapters, celebrates Christ for us, dying on the cross for our justification, and then in chapter 6–8, not changing the subject in his own mind but simply filling out the pattern that he started, he talks to us about "Christ in us," and ourselves "in Christ." And pulls the threads together in chapter 8, beginning with the great statement, "there's no condemnation now to them who are in Christ Jesus," those who have entered into union with him in this way. And if we are going to preach the gospel, in the way that Paul did, we must hold together "Christ for us" and "Christ in us," and make much of the thought of our union with him, through faith and the Holy Spirit, just as we make much of his death for us, on the cross, well, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Answer by Dr. J. I. Packer

Dr. J. I. Packer served as Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and preached and lectured widely in Great Britain and America. Dr. Packer is currently retired.