Tim Chester is the pastor of grace Church Boroughbridge in England and a faculty member the Crosslands Training. His most recent book is Stott top top the Christian Life: in between Two Worlds.

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Tim Chester is the minister of elegant Church Boroughbridge in England and also a faculty member that Crosslands Training. His most recent book is Stott ~ above the Christian Life: between Two Worlds.

Can you enhance your relationship with God? civilization are frequently unsure just how to respond. The promises of grace suggest one answer; the experience of life regularly suggest another. In the confusion, we often do nothing. Us stagnate.

But over there is a means forward. Have the right to you boost your relationship with God? Yes. Let’s turn for aid to the seventeenth-century Puritan john Owen. In his classic book Communion v God, Owen says,

Our communion v God consists in his interaction of self to us, v our go back to him of that which that requires and accepts, flowing from the union i beg your pardon in Jesus Christ we have actually with him. (Works, Vol. 2, 8–9, modernized)

Note how Owen makes a distinction between “union” and also “communion.” In the gospel, v faith, we have actually union with God in Christ. From begin to end up this union is god’s gracious job-related toward us. Yet this union leader to communion v God — a genuine, two-way connection of give-and-take in which our involvement matters.

This gives us v a good incentive and also a good assurance:

The good incentive is this: If we respond come the scenarios of our stays with faith, if we stand up to the lies that temptation, if we manipulate the means of grace, climate we will certainly have higher joy in Christ — our communion v God will improve.

The great assurance is this: Whenever us sin and fail, we have the right to fall back on divine grace. If we have true union v God, it is not influenced by the ebbs and flows that our battle with sin. The union forms the great foundation of our lives.

You Can’t improve the Union

This simple difference between union and also communion helps us fix a usual problem. As soon as we desire to stress God’s grace to us in Christ, we regularly say that nothing have the right to make our partnership with God stronger or weaker than it is. Us cannot do God love us any an ext than he does already. After all, God an initial loved us as soon as we were deep in sin (Romans 5:8). He didn’t love us because of any type of beauty or goodness within us. Deserve to you boost your relationship with God? In this sense — the union sense — the answer should surely it is in no. For we space loved in the kid (Ephesians 1:4–6), and we cannot be an ext loved than the Son. God’s love is no contingent on ours actions.

One of the tests we sometimes use to examine whether a person has really grasped the grace of God is to pose two scenarios.

Scenario One: someday a person has actually a good morning devotional time in the word. By midday they have shared their confidence with 3 unbelievers. In the night they walk to the church prayer meeting.

Scenario Two: an additional day, the same human gets up late and misses their morning devotions. At occupational they join in ungodly banter and also duck methods to re-publishing their belief along the way. They feel too exhausted to attend the evening prayer meeting at church, yet manage to summon increase the power to have a blazing dispute with their spouse. In ~ night they revolve to God in prayer.

Test question: Is God more likely to hear your prayer in script one? Is he much less likely to receive them and also accept them in script two?

The correct answer, of course, is, no. For we perform not attract near to God in prayer ~ above the basis of our works. We draw near come the throne that grace through the blood of oh my god Son. And the blood that Christ walk not require our an excellent works in order come work much more effectively for us. The human in scenario two has actually just together much accessibility to God as the person in script one. They can come through as lot confidence, if they come in Christ’s name.

Can you boost your union through God with Christ? No.

You have the right to Improve Communion

But we understand by experience — and the bible — the what we do does do a difference in our partnership with God. If I invest devotional time v him in the morning, climate I commonly find I’m less susceptible come temptation and much more aware of oh my god presence. That not precise correlation, but there appears to be a cause-and-effect connection. In the same kind the way, I understand from suffer that as soon as I sin, prayer seems harder, church involvement much more of a burden, delight in Christ much more remote. The apostle Peter go say the what we do and also say deserve to hinder ours prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Walk what i do influence my connection with God? The answer seems to it is in yes.

Owen’s difference between union and communion provides all the difference. Owen says we do have a real two-way partnership with God: he spends lot of his publication Communion v God explaining methods God relates (or “communicates”) to us and also how us respond (or “return”) to him. Over there is a real giving and also receiving. There is loving and being loved. Over there is delighting and being happy in. God provides real and details life, hope, freedom, and forgiveness, and also we answer with actual faith, love, and worship.

Can you improve your communion-based partnership with God? Yes.

Saved to enjoy God

Salvation is no just around having our guilty forgiven and escaping oh my god judgment. God doesn’t merely save united state from sin and also death; he saves us for something. Owen states Christ’s “great undertaking in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, being a mediator in between God and also us . . . to carry us one enjoyment of God” (Works, Vol. 2, 78). Our partnership with God is not merely an objective fact. That is likewise a subjective experience. Confidence in Christ bring us into a real, two-way partnership of happiness with the triune God.

What we do makes a real distinction in our experience of this relationship. We deserve to enjoy the relationship, or disregard it. We have the right to pursue God, or stop him. Us can find joy in God, or look at for delight in the empty prizes of this world. Our actions do a difference.

But together Owen helps united state understand, ours communion v God operation “from the union i m sorry in Jesus Christ we have with him.” ours union v God to be initiated by the dad in election, secured through the child at Calvary, and also is applied by the soul in regeneration. That is every one of grace. Us don’t develop this relationship, we can’t enhance it, and also we can not break it. That rests on oh my gosh electing love and also the finished job-related of Christ. We are secure in him.

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If this particular day you feel much from God, perform not despair. Favor a swimmer in the tide of the sea, reach down by faith and feel the hard ground of your union with God beneath her feet. The will constantly be there. And also then redouble your efforts to pursue the pleasure of communion v God.