There’s definitely language in the Bible that forces me to stop and consider what I’ve just read. I think, most recently, this has been the case personally with Paul’s union-with-Christ language. When Paul says that Christians are in Christ, my post-Enlightenment mind automatically asks, “how can it be that someone can be so meaningfully united to another without being the same person?"
And yet, as arresting as this language is, it still has a tendency to become so customary, especially as we read the Scriptures more and more and we (or at least I) often read over it without much of an idea for what Paul’s actually saying.
This is language worth meditating on. If we are one with Christ; if all Christ has done is imputed to us by virtue of our union with Him, then Richard Sibbes is certainly right when he says that when "we get fast hold on Christ, and cleave there, God can as soon alter his love to him as alter his love to us; his love is every whit as unchangeable to a believing member, as to Christ the head of the body. The promises are as sure as the love of God in Christ is, upon which they are founded, and from which ‘nothing can separate us,’ (Rom. 8:35).”
What an encouraging truth to sustain us in times of suffering and uncertainty. But Paul’s language doesn’t just stop there. Herman Ridderbos observes in 1 Cor. 15 that "the intention of the apostle is here again not merely to point to the resurrection of Christ as the token or as the possibility of the future resurrection of all believers. Rather, Christ as second man and last Adam is the one in whose resurrection this new life of the recreation has already come to light and become reality in this dispensation...In summary we can say, therefore, that Paul's kerygma of the great time of salvation that has dawned in Christ is above all determined by Christ's death and resurrection. It is in them that the present aeon has lost its power and hold on the children of Adam and that the new things have come.”
Because of Christ’s Resurrection, there is certainty for the Christian not only that the content of his or her faith is true, but also that just as Christ was raised and vindicated, so will we be. Indeed, in a sense the age to come has already dawned in Christ, and because it has already dawned, how can we doubt that it will be consummated?