Mystical Union


(From Lutheran Cyclopedia [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899], p. 525.)

The end for which the Lord Jesus came into the world is the realization by man of the righteousness, the blessedness, and the glory of the life of God. The doctrine of the mystical union is based fundamentally upon this truth. It rests upon the belief that in Christ the very life of God has been given to man, and that those who receive that life are really and truly united with God.
God has made the life of the Son the inheritance of our race. This life reaches its complete union with the Father, and its perfect blessedness[,] through the communion and grace of the Holy Spirit. Our relations to God are grounded on the eternal relations of the Son to the Father, and the life of the Son and the communion of the Holy Ghost have been made ours that we may realize our sonship. Such a union is directly taught in many passages of God’s Word, such as John 14:23; 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:30; Gal. 2:20; 2 Peter 1:4. It is further suggested and described in the Sacred Scriptures by such expressions as: the espousal of believers with Christ (Hosea 2:19); the mystical marriage of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32); the union of the members and of the head (Eph. 1:22-23); the union of the spiritual branches with the spiritual vine, Christ (John 15:4-7); and the abiding of the adorable Trinity with regenerate man (John 14:23). This mystical union is something more than the mere harmony and tempering of the affections; something more even than the resemblance of man’s spirit to God’s spirit, or the conformity of man’s will to the divine will. Concerning this union, several things may be predicated: (a) It is not natural; (b) is not the result of human will, or power, or work; (c) is the work of the Holy Ghost; (d) is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the means of grace, the word and sacraments; (e) constitutes a genuine spiritual nature, as over against all spurious forms of spiritualism; (f) is the spiritual conjunction of the triune God with a justified and regenerated man.

Return to the Lutheran Theology Web Site Home Page