Tim Chester points out how “our union with God is the basis of our communion with God.” Union with God is what happens with our reconciliation in Christ — it’s totally sovereign grace. When it comes to communion, however, there is a real sense in which we need to be involved in order for it to be meaningful. Chester offers this great illustration:
Imagine two sons. Jack makes breakfast for his father every day and they chat for half an hour while they eat it together. Later in the day Jack and his father hang out together – flying a kite, playing football, reading a book. Meanwhile Jack’s older brother, Phil, is embarrassed by his father. Phil stays in his room all day with his music turned up loud. On the rare occasions when Phil communicates with his father, it normally takes the form of dismissive grunts.
How many sons does the father have? The answer, of course, is two. And what did they have to do to become sons? Nothing. They were simply born as sons. But only Jack enjoys being a son. Only Jack experiences a good relationship with his father.
Praying and reading your Bible won’t make you more Christian. And not doing these things won’t make you less of a Christian. Somewhat like Jack and Phil, we become children of our heavenly Father by being born – the difference being that Christians are born again. We’re saved by grace alone through faith in Christ. Our status as God’s children is a gift. But how much we enjoy that communion depends on what we do. (pp.20-21)
This is the second book I’ve read from Tim Chester (the other being You Can Change) If you’re a preacher, he’s a great source for illustrations!