Union with Christ: The Way to Know & Enjoy God
by Anne Marie Owens
To say I am excited for our women’s spring study is an understatement! Apart from the Bible, I have never read a more coherent explanation of the Good News and its application for daily life than in Rankin Wilbourne’s book, Union with Christ. But because I can’t put into words the message of this book as well as the author does, I decided to just compile a few excerpts to give you a sneak peak of what’s ahead! So here they are:
In his book, Union with Christ, author Rankin Wilbourne seeks to explain how God brings about transformation in embodied and largely habit-driven creatures. He does this by unearthing a notion that was central to the early followers of Jesus but has become largely lost in our day: union with Christ. This book will require you to use your imagination because union with Christ is an enchanted reality and we live in a disenchanted world. Unfortunately, when we hear “imagination,” we often think of fiction or fairy tales, a child’s business, or things not real. But Wilbourne uses the word in a larger, more human sense. Imagination is that distinctly human capacity by which we image anything and everything that is not immediately visible to our eyes. Any invisible force, anything conceptual, requires us to use our imaginations to engage with and understand. That is why imagination is necessary to know and enjoy God. How else can we relate to the true God, “whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16), than by using our God-given imaging capacities--our imaginations? We must use our imaginations if we want to fully inhabit and experience the Christian life.
In his book, Wilbourne asks readers to consider a whole new way of viewing the Christian life. He argues that to believe the gospel is to have your imagination taken captive and reshaped by a new story. It is to reinterpret everything about your life: where you came from, your true identity, your capacities and capabilities, the resources available to you, your future, and your destiny in light of your union with Christ. Seeing your union with Christ is like finally putting on a pair of desperately needed glasses which allow us to see ourselves, and everything else, with new eyes. I fully agree with Wilbourne that of all the good news the gospel brings, the greatest-and indeed the door to all the rest--is that you can be united to Christ. It’s really possible. Union with Christ is not an abstract idea. It is a powerful reality. And if Jesus has joined his life to yours, then you have been given everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore, it is my hope and prayer that this study ignites our imaginations bringing us into a deeper and richer experience of our union with Christ!