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One Flesh Union - Christ and the Church

De Maria's picture

What is the One Flesh Union concerning Christ and the Church?

I have posted a version of this question in the Biblical Studies because I believe it is a beautiful question to ponder. And another version in the interdenominational Discussions to see how we view this mystery as expressed in the Sacrament of Matrimony differently.

But I have really been waiting patiently and anxiously for quite a long time to post this particular question on this forum because in another discussion here, the Catholic view of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church was called blasphemous. Specifically this teaching from the Catechism.

795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.

Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.

Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.

A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."

Our understanding of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church is based upon this verse.
Ephesians 5:
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Now, it seems to me that our understanding lines up pretty well with Scripture.

And so, I posted this particular thread to see how your views contrast with the Catholic view of this greatest and most wonderful of mysteries.

Sincerely,

De Maria

JeffLogan's picture

Trust God's testimony, not our feelings

Reply to:As to using anyone for
Submitted by jwmcmac on Tue, 2010-01-12 09:08.

jwmcmac, you have expressed your doubts in the following words. But they are unwarranted. God's Word is filled with many promises for those who hear them.

jwmcmac writes:

    As to using anyone for declaring that we are here and now this instant Saved . . .

    . . . we are running the race . . . with . . . Faith and in Love and with

    Hope filled Confidence, yes!

    Assurance, No.

    GOD will let us know at that appointed time.

We have before discussed with De Maria that Catholics do not believe in once-saved, always-saved. And I agree. Because, as we have learned, some can fall away even after they have tasted of the goodness of the Lord. "those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away..." Heb 6:4-6 (KJV)

So then the question becomes, from what did they fall away? And, if names can be blotted out of the Book of Life then names must be written therein. "and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life..." Rev 3:5 (KJV)

All of these situations depict those who are "saved" but have not yet realized the rewards of that salvation. So I ask, what difference is there in saying, "My name is written in God's Book of Life," or "I am saved," or "I have eternal life"?

Are we "...running the race . . . with . . . Faith and in Love and with Hope filled Confidence..." yet our names are not written in the Book of Life? Are we running a race without Christ? John writes, "He who has the Son has life." Are you running the race without The Life? Is your name not written in the Book of Life?

The truth is that we are growing up into Christ. We have not yet reach the fullness of Christ. So we continue pressing on. But does this mean that at present we neither have Christ, The Life, or that our names are not in the Book of Life? No! Not at all. If we are walking in Christ then at every point we may be perfect in our stage of development. Our perfection isn't dependent upon ourselves but upon Christ, the Righteous.

Consider the natural baby. Though very dependent upon its parents yet who would say it is not a perfect baby? And as it grows does it become a less perfect child? And so are we in Christ. At every stage we may be perfect in Him. Not perfectly mature but perfect at the point in our growth we find ourselves for Christ is "the Author and Finisher of our faith." And, "being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb 5:9 (KJV) We are made perfect, not by our righteousness which is as filthy rags, but by His perfect righteousness.

We cannot render perfect obedience. But when our heart is set on that desire and we put forth effort in that direction then Jesus accepts that as our best effort and makes up for our deficiencies with His righteousness. He does not excuse sin and cover it over but He does forgive, comfort, and sustain us in our weakness. He is our strength whereby we, though weak and erring, may do all things through Him. We must not doubt but rather repeat the promise, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil 4:13 (KJV) That is faith. Faith sees and grasps what the natural man cannot confirm with his senses. It is a trusting confidence and belief in God's Word though empirical evidence may indicate otherwise.

God has redeemed us from this world of sin. And, the earnest He has given us is the gift of the Holy Spirit. When a person intends to buy a piece of property they tender something of value to show they are earnest. God shows He is earnest in redeeming us by the most precious gift of the Holy Spirit.

    20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
    21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
    22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

    2 Cor 1:20-22 (KJV)

Read this passage again and allow it to soak in. Take it as the Word of God to you personally and try to comprehend what it means for your life.

    1 John 5:10-15 (NIV)

    Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.
    Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar,
    ...because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

    And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

jwmcmac continues...

    Be confident.

    Call upon the LORD's Holy Name in Trusting Love . . . and in Faith . . . but without assuming or presuming our Salvation . . .

    In practice . . . this is what we all do . . . without assuming . . . right?

    I Hope so.

In practice we should never assume or presume. There is witness in the Word of God to inform us whether or not we are in the faith. But neither should we doubt God's Word. Some very conscientious soul may fret himself out of the hands of God by overmuch doubt. He must be taught to look away from imperfect self and cling to the Perfect Christ. If we trust to our own good works we shall always have reason to doubt our salvation. We will often fail and if we are placing our confidence in self our hopes will be dashed at every turn. But our confidence is not in our work but in Christ's work. As the Word of God says...

WHEN WE WERE DEAD...
GOD MADE US ALIVE...
BY GRACE...


"But God,
being rich in mercy,
because of the great love with which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"

For by grace you have been saved
through faith.

And this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God,

not a result of works,
so that no one may boast.

Eph 2:4-9 (ESV)

That is a dangerous passage which imprisons organized religion but frees the soul.

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“The path of true piety is so plain as to require
but little political direction.” --George Washington,
re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in U.S. Constit

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV



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