John Newton on
Communion with Christ
What follows are the three components of our union with Christ as provided by John Newton in one of his many letters to an inquirer of the 18th century. Taken from his book, The Letters of John Newton [published by Banner of Truth].
The Lord by his Spirit manifests and confirms His love to His people. For this purpose He meets them at His throne of grace and in His ordinances. There makes Himself known unto them as He does not unto the world; causes His goodness to pass before them; opens, applies, and seals to them His exceeding great and precious promises and gives them the Spirit of adoption whereby unworthy as they are, they are enabled to cry Abba Father. He causes to understand that great love wherewith He has loved them, in redeeming them by price and by power washing them from their sins in the blood of the Lamb, recovering them from the dominion of Satan and preparing for them an everlasting kingdom, where they shall see His face and rejoice in His glory.
He instructs them in the mysterious conduct of His providence, the reasons and ends of all dispensations in which they are concerned and solves a thousand hard questions to their satisfaction which are inexplicable to the natural wisdom of man. He teaches them likewise the beauty of His precepts, the path of their duty and the nature of their warfare. He acquaints them with the plots of their enemies, the snares and dangers they are exposed to, and the best methods of avoiding them. And He permits and enables them to acquaint him with all their cares, fears, wants, and troubles with more freedom than they can share with their nearest earthly friends. His ear is always open to them. He is never weary of hearing their complaints and answering their petitions. The men of the world would account it a high honor and privilege to have an unrestrained liberty of access to an earthly king but what words can express the privilege and honor of believers who, whenever they please, have audience of the King of kings whose compassion mercy and power are like His majesty, infinite. The world wonders at their indifference to the vain pursuits and amusements by which others are engrossed.
And as he is pleased to espouse their interest they through grace are devoted to His. They are no longer their own they would not be their own. It is their desire, their joy, their glory, to live to Him who died for them. He has won their hearts by His love and made them a willing people in the day of His power. The glory of His name, the success of His cause, the prosperity of His people, the accomplishment of His will¦ these are the great and leading objects which are engraven upon their hearts and to which all their desires and endeavors are directed. They would count nothing dear, not their lives, if set in competition with these. In the midst of their afflictions if the Lord is glorified, if sinners are converted, if church flourishes, they can rejoice. But when iniquity abounds when love waxes, when professors depart from the doctrines of truth and the power of godliness, then they are grieved and pained to the heart. Then they are touched in what they count their nearest interest because it is the Lord's.