Of Union with Christ
1 Corinthians 12:13-20
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free…

Consider —

I. HOW CHRIST'S REDEMPTION IS APPLIED TO A SINNER. By uniting the sinner to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). Men must not think to stand afar from Christ, but must unite with Christ, and so partake of the redemption purchased by Him, as the poor widow drowned in debt, by marrying the rich man, is interested in his substance.


1. The terms by which this union is expressed. Christ is said to be in believers (Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:10), and they in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is said to dwell in them, and they in Him (John 6:54). They are said to abide in one another (John 15:4). Believers have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). They are so joined as to be one Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

2. The several real and proper unions which it is resembled to. The vine and the branches (John 15:5); the head and the body (Ephesians 1:22, 23); merit eaten and the eater (John 6:56); yea, to that betwixt Father and Christ (John 17:21).

3. If this union be not a true and real one, the sacrament of the supper is but a bare sign, and not a sea1.

III. WHAT IS THAT UNION. There are three mysterious unions in our religion — the substantial union of the three persons in one Godhead; the personal union of the Divine and human natures in Jesus Christ; the mystical union betwixt Christ and believers, which is that wherein Christ and believers are so joined that They are one Spirit and one mystical body (1 Corinthians 6:17 and text). In this union the whole man is united to a whole Christ. The believing soul is united to Him (Ephesians 3:17). His body also is united to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:14). They are united to Him in His Divine nature (Colossians 1:27), and in His human nature (Ephesians 5:30), and so through the Mediator unto God (2 Corinthians 6:16).

IV. THE BONDS OF THIS UNION. All corporal union is made by contact; but Christ is in heaven, and we on earth, and so we can have no such union with Him; and if we had, what would it profit? (John 6:63.) But this union is spiritual (1 Corinthians 6:17), and so are the bonds of it. And they are two.

1. The Spirit on Christ's part, whereby He taketh and keepeth hold of us (1 John 3. ult.). And the distance betwixt Christ and believers, as great as is betwixt heaven and earth, cannot hinder the joining of our souls and bodies to His, since the Spirit is an infinite Spirit, everywhere present.

2. Faith on the believer's part (Ephesians 3:17). Thereby the believer apprehends, takes, and keeps hold of Christ. It is by that we receive Christ (John 1:12), come unto Him (John 6:35), and feed on Him (ver. 56). And its fitness for this.


1. The Spirit of Christ comes in the Word, and enters into the heart of the elect sinner dead in sin (Galatians 3:2).

2. That quickening Spirit works faith (Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 2:12). Hereby the soul lays hold on Christ, and actually unites with Him.


1. A true, real, and proper union, not a mere relative one.

2. A spiritual union (1 Corinthians 6:17).

3. A mysterious union (Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:27).

4. A most close and intimate union (1 Corinthians 5:17; John 6:56; Ephesians 5:30).

5. An indissoluble union (John 10:28, 29).

6. It is the leading, comprehensive, fundamental privilege of believers (1 Corinthians 3:23). All their other privileges are-derived from and grafted upon this — their justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification.

(T. Boston, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

WEB: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.

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