Sometimes I have felt a distance between myself with God. I have felt like, even though I have a relationship with Him and I am striving to live out my faith, there can be an intimacy I lack. I intellectually know I am supposed to have something deeper, and at times I do, but then I will slip back into a shallow, substandard faith. So, when I received the opportunity to review Rankin Wilbourne’s book Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God, I knew I might find something there to help me on my spiritual journey.
Wilbourne proposes that many of us live in a gap. We have professed faith. We have asked for salvation, but the spiritual oneness that we crave with God hasn’t happened yet. He uses the story of John Newton, who for many years after salvation, continued in the slave trade before conviction moved him to oppose the trade.
I thought immediately of my son when I began to consider Wilbourne’s ideas. My younger son has a gap in his life, and I didn’t realize it for what it was until I read this. My son has asked for salvation (twice!), and he firmly believes that he’s going to heaven, and yet when he was posed the question, “Do you trust Christ?” he is uncertain and doesn’t want to discuss it. He loves Jesus, intellectually believes he is saved, but he doesn’t feel as different as he expected to. He feels a gap.
Wilbourne, in his book, once proposing that there is a gap, divides the remainder of his book into four sections. These are:
- What union with Christ is and why we need to recover it.
- An explanation of why union with Christ is misunderstood and overlooked in our lives. This part really builds a historical case for union with Christ being a central idea of Christianity.
- How union with Christ changes our lives. This is how it gives us identity, direction, purpose and hope for the future.
- What union with Christ looks like in action. This explains some of the practical aspects of abiding with Christ, and yet leaves some things a complete mystery.
The book is beautifully written, and I love all the examples, the authors he quotes and the ideas that he shares. This is a deep and important book. Yet, this is a book that is often big on theory and short of application. There are great applications, and yet they all have a more theoretical feel to them. Perhaps that is because of the nature of the mystery of union with Christ. Either way, this is an excellent book, and one that I heartily enjoyed.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.