Concerning the Bible teaching in Romans 6 of a believer’s union with Christ, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says this:
“… we are not evangelizing truly unless we present this truth – that in salvation we are not merely forgiven … we were in Adam but are now in Christ, … we are taken out of one position and put into another.
Evangelism is not simply saying, ‘Come to Christ; he will do this, that and the other for you.’ No! The glorious thing about salvation is that I am taken out of Adam, that I have finished with him, and am dead to sin. I am in Christ, and all the blessings that come to me come because of my union with Christ.”
The significance of this is often either missed or overstated. It is missed by those who think that union with Christ is for the spiritual elite. But scripture has no such distinction. As Lloyd-Jones says, “this is true of every Christian“. It is overstated by those who claim to have achieved some sort of sinless perfection here and now (or at least aspire to it as possible).
“… we must never interpret these verse in terms of [our] experience. … What [Paul] is dealing with here is something that has happened to us, something that is true of us … We may not be as well aware of it as we ought to be; … It does not mean that [we] are not Christians, thank God for that. If we were saved by our understanding, and experience of truth, well then, God help us! … we are saved by this tremendous action of God through the Spirit, who takes us out of Adam, incorporates us, implants us, baptizes us into Christ. … he is not dealing with experience, but status, condition, position.”
Unless this is true, any effort to apply or obey imperatives will be fruitless and frustrating. The indicative thing God has done for those who put their trust, faith, hope in Christ is that he unites them with Christ. Discipleship, Christian living, personal holiness is possible because of this, not because of your efforts, your understanding or anything else. It’s all about Jesus!