“Partakers of Christ”
The text does not say, “We are made partakers with Christ.” That is a precious, comforting truth of Scripture. We are joint-heirs with Christ. Because all things are his, all things are ours. But that is not the teaching of our text.
The text does not simply say that “We are made partakers of the rich benefits of God’s grace in Christ.” That, too, is a fact in which we rejoice. All the grace of God in Christ is ours, fully, freely, and perfectly. In Christ, we are partakers of pardoning mercy, adopting love, regenerating grace, sanctification, preservation, and eternal glory. All the blessings of the covenant of grace are ours in Christ.
But the text goes further. It includes all this and much more. Here, Paul tells us that, “We are made partakers of Christ.” We are made partakers of Christ himself! This is a privilege no tongue can describe. It is beyond the thought of our finite minds. We are one with the Son of God, members of his body, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. Truly, this is a great mystery!
Yet, this is the privilege of all true believers. The moment any sinner believes on Christ, that sinner is so vitally and really joined to Christ that he becomes a partaker of Christ. To be partakers of Christ, what can this mean?
To be a partaker of Christ means that I have a share in his merits. Sinful, though I am, vile, wretched, and unclean, I come to the fountain filled with his blood, I am washed in it, and I am made as white as snow. In that moment I become a partaker of God’s eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a partaker of Christ, his merits are my merits.
That which Christ did as my Substitute is actually mine. Did he bear the wrath of God as my Substitute? Then all God’s wrath against me is gone. Did he take my sin upon himself? Then my sin is gone. Did he pay the debt I owed to the law and justice of God? Then my debt is paid, nothing more is owed. Yes, it is true!
“Jesus paid it all, all the debt I owed,
Sin had left a crimson stain:
He washed it white as snow.”
Since my debt has been paid, since in the Person of my Substitute, Jesus Christ, I have paid all that God’s law required, God cannot require me to pay more.
“Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.”
Being partakers of Christ, his righteousness has become ours. He is “The Lord our Righteousness.” Not only are we freed from sin by his atoning sacrifice, we are rendered righteous before God by Christ’s obedience in life as our responsible Representative. Christ, having obeyed God’s law as our Representative and fulfilling all righteousness for us, we have obeyed God’s law in him, fulfilling all righteousness. There is nothing which God in his law requires us to do which we have not done in Christ, our Surety.
“With his spotless garments on,
We’re as holy as the Holy One!”
Being thus partakers of Christ, we are “accepted in the beloved.” Is Christ accepted of God? Is he fully, perfectly, completely, eternally accepted? Even so, all who are partakers of Christ are accepted in him. God looks upon all his people, all true believers in Christ, and says, “These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased.”
“Near, so very near to God, Nearer we cannot be,
For in the Person of His Son, We’re as near as He!”
Can you grasp what Paul is saying? “We are made partakers of Christ!”
All true believers have both an eternal union with Christ and an experimental union with him, a legal, covenant union, and a vital, living union of faith. We are partakers of Christ by God’s decree; and we are partakers of Christ by faith. We live and feed upon him. His life is our daily bread. It sustains our souls. His blood is the wine that makes our hearts glad. He is our meat and drink (John 6:53-56).
Still there is a deeper spiritual lesson for us. Our union with Christ is so real, so constant, so vital that He is our Life. To be a partaker of Christ is to derive life from him constantly. We live upon Christ, just as the walls of a building stand upon the foundation. We derive life from Christ, just like the branches derive life from the vine. We are partakers of Christ, just as the wife is a partaker of her husband. We are partakers of Christ, just like the members of my body are partakers of my heart and my head.
We are so really and truly one with Christ that we are partakers of him in his destiny. When he comes again, his holy ones shall come with him. The fact that he is risen from the dead is the earnest and promise of our resurrection. At the day of his appearing, we shall rise and participate in the fruition of his mediatorial work. We will judge men and angels with Christ. We will join Christ in the destruction of his foes. We will join Christ in the marriage of the Lamb. We will stand with Christ before his Father’s throne. We will inherit the glory he has inherited as our Mediator (John 17:22).
Spurgeon said, “All right and all might, all that can extol or delight, all that forever and ever shall contribute to the glory of Christ, shall be shared by all the faithful, for we are partakers not only with him, but of him - of Christ - therefore of all the surroundings of glory and honor that shall belong to him.”
This is all the work of divine grace. “We are MADE partakers of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:30). God himself has made us to be partakers of Christ his Son by the work of his almighty grace. He put us in Christ in election. He put Christ in us in regeneration. He made us partakers of Christ by the gift of faith.