Theosis

Q:  Does faith unite one to Christ?
A:  Yes
Q:  Is Christ God?
A:  Yes

Well, there you have it.  Now one must go on to question what sort of union believers have in Christ.  I haven’t quoted Nevin in a while, and I’ve recently been looking back through his The Mystical Presence.  What an excellent book.  This paragraph in particular is VERY IMPORTANT:  

The relation of believers to Christ, then, is more again than that of simply legal union.  He is indeed the representative of his people, and what he has done and suffered on their behalf is counted to their benefit, as though it had been done by themselves.  They have an interest in his merits, a title to all the advantages secured by his life and death.  But this external imputation rests at last on an inward, real unity of life, without which it could have no reason or force.  Our interest in Christ’s merits and benefits can be based only upon a previous interest in his person; so in the Lord’s Supper, we are made to participate, not merely in the advantages secured by his mediatorial work, the rewards of his obedience, the fruits of his bitter passion, the virtue of his atonement, and the power of his preistly intercession, but also in his true and proper life itself, We partake of his merits and benefits only so far as we partake of his substance …. In the Lord’s Supper, accordingly, the believer communicates not only with the Spirit of Christ, or with his divine nature, but with Christ himself in his whole living person; so that they may be said to be fed and nourished by his very flesh and blood. (The Mystical Presence, 53, 54.)  

Therefore, believers are united to Christ’s substance.  His body and blood truly dwells in us – in a spiritual, non corporeal manner.  If this ain’t theosis then call me a Zwinglian. It’s o.k. to say this. Don’t worry…this is Reformed.

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An Increased Union with Christ

A common speculation regarding the Lord’s Supper is that there is no special partaking of Christ for the believing subject in the event of eating and drinking the elements.  If the sacrament is a means of grace (WCF 27) and grace only comes through union with Christ then what more should one expect from the sacraments? Are they not redundant?  Peter Martyr Vermigli states,

… I cannot admit or acknowledge a real or substantial or corporeal presence of Christ’s body, whether in the signs or in the communicants themselves.  Yet I do not doubt but insist rather that there is a spiritual communion and participation in his body and blood given to the communicants.  Although this is enjoyed even before the eating of the sacrament, it is increased by an exercise of faith in eating the mystery. (Peter Martyr Reader, 161.).  

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