Every so often I come across an idea, a doctrine, a piece of Christian thinking that I may know by name and may even have read a little bit about but have failed to substantially engage with in a meaningful way. Recently in a conversation a friend asked me what I thought about “Union with Christ”. It was one of those conversations that took me a bit by surprise because it put a blip on my radar that wasn’t really there before. A little bit of reading and thinking later I find that there is so much material both in books and articles but more importantly so much material in the New Testament on Union with Christ that I can’t believe I had missed it.
Reading through Ephesians 1, a chapter I thought I knew reasonably well, I was amazed at how I had missed it. In Christ, with Christ, in Christ, again and again and again. And Ephesians 1 is by no means rare, it’s all over the place. At least 200 times in Paul and it’s not only Paul it’s all over John too.
Now what this makes me think is that sometimes we play the game of knowing God in a way that puffs us up with our tiny grasp of things so profound an so interconnected that we fool ourselves into thinking we know. It seems I am right on the edge of a vast continent of knowledge about God that I can only begin to see rough outlines and looming shapes that are so wonderful that I could never comprehend them entirely. Rather like flying my little plane across the sea and just seeing the coast appear out of the mist and then saying from that viewpoint that I know all about Africa or Australia or where ever I am flying too.
Perhaps, just perhaps, God is more amazing and his mind and his ways are more complex that we ever thought.