Eternal Vital Union

BRETHREN G. BEEBE & SON: – As I have been reading your paper a long time, and have never asked for your views on any particular subject, I will now ask one question; but not to produce controversy. I presume that all sound Baptists believe that it was the relationship Christ bore to his church which was under the law that rendered it necessary for him to be made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Now as eternal, spiritual life could not be under the law, in what did the relation consist? If it was a spiritual relation, how did anything spiritual get under the law? Now if you consider the question unreasonable or out of place, pass it by, and all will be right.

F. ODOM.
Lindale, Texas, May 7, 1879.

REPLY: – When we speak of the eternal, vital union of Christ and his bride, or church, we do not mean that either the bride or Bridegroom existed in the flesh, or under the law, until the members of Christ as the children of God were manifested in their earthly nature. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same.” – Heb. ii. 14. The children came under the law by being partakers of flesh and blood, just as their heavenly Bridegroom did.

“In union with the Lamb,
From condemnation free,
The saints from everlasting were,
And shall forever be.”

But that union of Christ and his members which is from everlasting and to everlasting, is a purely spiritual and vital union, a union of spiritual, eternal life, which is hid with Christ in God; a union of the life of the head and spiritual or mystical body of Christ. The members or children are said to be partakers of flesh and blood; their partaking of flesh and blood made them children of the flesh, which was under the law, but it did not make them children of God, for we are expressly told in the scriptures that “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” – Romans ix. 8. They were children of God in Christ before they were partakers of flesh and blood, and in that flesh and blood they came under the law, which in their fleshly nature they transgressed, and from which they required to be redeemed, that they might receive the adoption of sons, to wit, the redemption of their body. So they came under the law precisely as their Redeemer did, by partaking of flesh and blood; he was made under the law by being made of a woman. His coming in the flesh did not make him the Son of God, for he bore that relation to the eternal Father from everlasting; but he became the Son of man by his incarnation, and as the Son of man he came under the law which he came down from heaven to fulfill, magnify and honor, and from the demands of which he came to redeem those who were chosen and blessed in him before the foundation of the world. – Eph. i. 3,4. We have never held, as some have seemed to understand, that our earthly nature ever stood in eternal union with Christ, nor that the saints were brought into an experimental union with him until they are personally born of the Spirit; but we have and do understand, that our earthly nature ever stood in eternal union with Christ, nor that the saints were brought into an experimental union with him until they are personally born of the Spirit; but we have and do understand and believe that the incorruptible seed, by which our experimental birth is produced, is a vital seed, that liveth and abideth forever; and that seed as the germ of immortality was hid with Christ in God eternally, as our natural life was given us and hid in the earthy Adam from the time of his creation until we were born of the flesh, and that it was in this as well as other respects that Adam is the figure of him that was to come.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N.Y.

Signs of the Times
Volume 48, No. 8
April 15, 1880