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Not Divine Bonhomie

26 March 2012 by Frank Turk

Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God's grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.


I'm sure this statement of the catechism raises ire among all manner of people -- the whole world, in fact.  But it's a pretty limited statement.

Here's some of the things it does NOT say:
  • It does NOT say that there are some who will believe who cannot be saved by Christ
  • It does NOT say that evangelism is a useless endeavor
  • It does NOT say that God is evil because of some post-biblical logical conundrum dreamed up by people who are afraid of God being God and not merely president of all things or some such diminished notion.
What this statement actually says is this: Union with Christ equals God's Grace.  That is: unless God decides to save anyone, and takes action to save anyone (not just in theory, or perhaps even as just one of several possibilities), no one will be saved.

This is because the way the Bible describes God, we can't just call him an Optimist.  He's doesn't just have divine bonhomie toward his creation, a general feeling of encouragement and hope for the future.  Unlike us, God is able to make promises about the future which can't be broken, and when he says he will save the repentant and the broken-hearted he's stating an unthwartable plan and not just a slogan or a bumper sticker of religious exhuberance.

If God chooses to save you, you get saved.  You have union with Christ.  You are grafted into something which, let's face it, men didn't build and which men aren't up to the task of destroying.