Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Important Difference Between Union and Communion

In introducing readers to John Owen's classic work "On Communion with God", Kapic, summarising what Owen will say in more detail, talks about the difference between union with God and communion with God.
Believers are united to Christ in God by the Spirit. This action is a unilateral action by God, in which those who were dead are made alive... When one speaks of union, it must be clear that the human person is merely receptive, being the object of God's gracious action. This is the state and condition of all true saints.

Communion with God is distinct from union. Those who are united to Christ are called to respond to God's loving embrace. While union with Christ is not something that does ebb and flow, one's experience of communion with Christ can fluctuate. This is an important theological and experiential distinction, for it protects the biblical truth that we are saved by radical and free divine grace. Furthermore, this distinction also protects the truth that the children of God have a relationship with their Lord, and that there are things they can do that either help or hinder it.

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