I AM HIS & HE IS MINE

Reading Martin Luther's essay "The Freedom of a Christian" written to Pope Leo X in 1520 has been spectacular. I just had to share this extended quote on our union with Christ. It struck me for the first time that all that I brought to my relationship with Jesus belongs to him, and all that he brought with him belongs to me, being a part of his bride the church.

"The third incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ just as a bride is united with her bridegroom. By this solemn vow, as the apostle Paul teaches, Christ and the soul become one flesh. And if there one flesh, there is a true marriage between them–indeed, the most perfect of marriages because human marriages are but a shadow of this one true union. Given the marriage between Christ and the soul, it follows that they hold everything in common, The good as well as the as the evil. Accordingly, the soul that trusts Christ can boast and glory in him since it regards what he has as its own. It follows that whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own.

Let us look at this exchange in more detail and we should be able to see it's invaluable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation while the soul is full of sins, death and damnation. Now let faith enter the picture and sins, death, and damnation are Christ's while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s. For if Christ is a bridegroom he must take upon himself that which are his brides, and he in turn bestows on her all that is his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of his bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?

"For if Christ is a bridegroom he must take upon himself that which are his brides, and he in turn bestows on her all that is his."

The result is a most pleasing picture, not only of communion but of a blessed battle that leads to victory, salvation, and redemption. For Christ is God and man in one person he has not sinned or died and he is not condemned. Nor can he sin, die, or be condemned. The righteousness, life, and salvation he possess are unconquerable for he is eternal and all powerful; however, by the wedding ring of faith he shares in the sins, death, and hell of his bride. In fact, he makes them his own and acts as if they were his own. It is as if he sinned, suffered, died, and descended into hell in order to overcome them all; however, sin, death, and hell could not swallow him. In fact, they were swallowed by him in a mighty duel or battle. For his righteousness is greater than all sin, his life stronger than death, and his salvation more invincible than hell. Thus the soul that trusts Christ and receives him as it's bridegroom though it's pledge of faith is free from all sins, secure against death and hell, and given eternal righteousness life and salvation. As a result of this wedding, Christ takes to himself a glorious bride "Without spot or wrinkle… cleansing her with the washing of water by the word” (compare Ephesians 5:26 – 27). In other words, this bride is cleansed by faith in the word that grants life, righteousness, and salvation. This marriage of faith, as the prophet Hosea says (Hosea 2:19), results in righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy. 

Who can even begin to appreciate what this royal marriage means? Who can comprehend the riches of this glorious grace? Christ, the rich and divine bridegroom, marries this poor, wicked whore, redeems her from all her evil and adorns her with all of his goodness. It is now impossible for her sins to destroy her, for they are laid on Christ and swallowed up by him. She has her righteousness in Christ, her husband, which she can now boast is her very own. 

"Christ, the rich and divine bridegroom, marries this poor, wicked whore, redeems her from all her evil and adorns her with all of his goodness."

She can set this righteousness over against all of her sins and, in the face of death and hell, say with confidence: "If I have sinned, nevertheless, the one in whom I trust, my Christ, has not sinned. Through our marriage all that is his is mine and all that is mine is his." Thus says the bride in the Song of Solomon (2:16): "My beloved is mine and I am his." This is also Paul's meaning in 1 Corinthians  15:57: "But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Victory here refers to Christ's triumph over sin and death as Paul notes in the previous verse (1 Corinthians 15:56): “The sting of death is sin in the power of sin is the law.”"*

*Luther, Martin, and Mark D. Tranvik. The Freedom of a Christian. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008. Print.

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