I have been wondering about how a believer relates to God. I heard Ravi Zacharias describe it as a communion not union. I believe there is a difference between the two descriptions, but I need some help understanding these. I very often I hear it described as a union with God. How do you describe your own relationship with Him? Perhaps some deeper understanding will help me in building my own relationship with Him. Sometimes I feeI I don’t know how to properly relate to Him. Thanks for your consideration.
Thank you for sharing your question with us. Our evangelism is directly linked to our relationship with God. That’s why 1 Peter 3:15-16, the chief scripture we use to explain apologetics, starts with “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”
Union with Christ is a central Biblical truth linked to the doctrine of salvation and sanctification for the Christian. In the Bible union with Christ is the idea that we are in Christ and that Christ is in us. The Gospel Coalition did a helpful summary of the concept a few years ago. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/union-with-christ-a-crash-course/
When we become a Christian, Jesus Christ come to live inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and as we abide in Him we become more like Him through the work of sanctification. Our union with Christ is often described in matrimonial terms, We are the Bride of Christ, He is our Groom. He has entered into an eternal covenant of relationship with us. In that light, it may be easier to describe the subtle difference between union and communion in our personal relationship with Him. For example, through marriage, I have been united to my husband. We are both legally united as a family unit before the state and spiritually we have become one flesh. In that sense, I do not have to do anything now to be united to peter, it happened through our marriage day and we will remain in that union unless one of us was to legally break it off. Monday is our 13th anniversary. Theoretically, it could be possible to be united to Peter through marriage but lack intimate and regular communion with him. Communion can be defined as “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level” (New Oxford American Dictionary). If Peter and I simply lived together and rested on our legal union, it wouldn’t be much of a marriage. Every day for the last 13 years has been an opportunity for me to get to know his thoughts, words, and character better and for me to share myself with him.
Biblically we should not press too hard on separating union from communion. Communion with God should be part of our union with Him. Instead of this being a weight or burden, we should view it as an incredible offer. Upon salvation, Christ is united with us, we do not have to do anything to deserve it for “it is by grace we have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). However, the eternal God invites us and allows us to draw close to Him, to meditate on His words, to speak to him in prayer, and He continues to draw us into his presence through his Holy Spirit. I mentioned a great book by R.T. Kendall in my response to @Chuimatai. Kendall has great practical tips for communion with God in that book as well, you may want to check it out too.
Be blessed in your pursuit of Him,