When the Word became flesh, the greatest miracle happened some 2,000 years ago. God became flesh. This is Christ’s incarnation and it changed everything. Theologians call this as the hypostatic union — that is, the union of humanity and divinity in the one person (hypostasis) of Jesus Christ. This event implicated and involved humanity. We have been included into God’s life and love. He reconciled us to himself. He assumed all of humanity unto himself.
By becoming one of us and one with us through his incarnation, all humanity is now forever united or in union with our Lord Jesus Christ — through his hypostatic union.
While we were still sinners—even before we repented of and asked for forgiveness of our sins, Christ already died and paid for all of humanity’s sins—past, present and future. He assumed all of our sins and died for it (Romans 5:8). He did not even ask for our permission whether we would like to be included or not. Out of his great love, he just did it and died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14). This is Christ’s crucifixion. Both the incarnation and the crucifixion involved Christ’s atonement for all. As our High Priest and representative, he atoned for all of our sins on our behalf once for all (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26). Thus we are now “at one” with God through him. We now have atonement or reconciliation with him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). We now have union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is an accomplished fact which many are unaware of or haven’t really fully realized yet. We need to think deeply and meditate on the implications of what Paul is saying in Romans 5:8. This is already true. It did not become true because of or as a result of our help, our good works, our consent or our belief. Belief doesn’t make it true or make it happen. It is not “potentially true” if we believe. It is already true!
Since the fact that we are now in union with Christ is already true (not if it is true), what about these passages in Isaiah 59:2 and other similar passages like in John 5:24 that seem to show that we are separated (not in union) with Christ now? Well, both Isaiah 59:2 and John 5:24 are also true but we have to understand it in light of who Jesus Christ is and who we are in him. It does not disagree with what is already true in Jesus Christ for us. We need to see the overall context of Scripture—”the whole counsel of God” found in the Bible.
We have to understand that in the first place, God has never abandoned us nor separated himself from us. God has always loved us. It is us—our own doing—that is causing the “separation” due to our sins. But really, if you think about it more deeply, has God really separated himself from us in such a way that he is no longer reachable? When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, was God no longer available? Of course not. God is always available all the time for us. He is God with us and one of us.
We only think that we are separated from God. Our sins have clouded our vision and we think God no longer loves us. Sin does make us feel guilty so we hide ourselves from God. But God has always been there for us. It is only in our minds. As Paul explained to the Colossians, he said, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior” (Colossians 1:21).
Only in Your Minds
That is only in our thinking—in our minds (Col. 1:21). The truth and present reality is that God—in His mind, from His point of view—has already forgiven us and he died for us while we were still sinners! (Rom. 5:8). God has reconciled us back to himself. We are not separated from him. In so far as God is concerned, we have already been forgiven and in union with Christ through his hypostatic union. Separation is only in our minds. But in so far as God is concerned, he was, is and has always been there for us. He never abandoned us since the Garden of Eden.
The truth of the matter is that St. Paul said, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” Even in “hell” (or whatever you may call this place) God will be there (Rev. 14:10).
The only difference is that we humans think we are still separated from him because of our sins. That’s not who God is! He loves us similar to the father in the parable of the lost son who patiently and eagerly waited for the lost son’s return. That is what we need to repent of, change our mind about. Let us all repent (change our minds—Greek, metanoia) and believe that we have always been loved, never abandoned and now in union with him through Christ—not separated at all!
Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension changed everything. We are now in union with Christ. At the resurrection, we await for that future time when the final fulfillment of our union with Christ will have been fully accomplished—complete at-one-ment with Christ forever! What a great hope we have in Jesus!