To be saved is to enter into union with the Crucified God. The discipline of the Father is not in first purpose chastisement for sin, but chastisement to bring us into the likeness of – into union with – His Crucified Son.
Salvation is the marriage of the soul to Christ. Shall she not then accompany her Beloved, her Divine Spouse, on His way to Calvary and to the Cross? The Father disciplines us for our holiness in love – this does not simply mean that He disciplines us to remove from us sin or the tendencies thereto. It is indeed true that He disciplines us for this purpose, but we will miss so much of what He is doing – so much of His Love for us, so much of His glory! – if we think this is all that He is doing, or even that this is the primary purpose of what He is doing. Holiness is so much more than the lack of sin – holiness is union with God in Christ.
The soul is made the Bride of Christ, and it is natural that this union should bring about that she should share in His Passion. Indeed, her love to Him makes her desire to stand with Him in His sufferings, to the extent that she realizes that it is with Him that she suffers, that the sufferings are not her own but His, and her own precisely because they are His. She is made one with Him, and so all that He has is hers. The marriage God has instituted between man and women wherein they become one flesh rather than two is but an image of the union of Christ and the human soul, infinitely more close, one not merely in flesh, but one spirit with the Lord!
Thus, the Father disciplines her so that she may become fully conformed to her Spouse, His Son, fully one with Him. It is written even of Jesus, that, “He was perfected through suffering,” who knew no sin, and shall we think that all of our suffering is correction for our sinfulness? Nay! Firstly, it is that we may be perfect as Jesus is perfect, and though the purification from sin is a necessity for such perfection, it is not the fullness or greatness of such perfection. Thus, for very love, the soul stands with Him, to be mocked and condemned with Him and in Him, her Lord and Beloved, to be beaten and scourged with Him and in Him, to carry the cross and be crucified upon it with Him and in Him – all this, not for correction of sin, but for love and union with the Son of God! And, it is joy and life, for the sufferings are His sufferings. The Cross which she bears is His Cross, and she bears it in Him, by virtue of her union with Him, that she is one spirit with the Lord. It is His Crucifixion that is hers. The Cross is the shape of the Resurrection. It is the symbol and the sign of the Resurrection. The Cross of Jesus is the glory of His Resurrection.
The shape and manner in which this union is worked out will not appear always alike – it may not even appear often alike, for, indeed, it will be as unique as the soul herself, made in the image of God for the glory of her Lord, the same as no other ever created. We need not expect even to see our suffering: if we see the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord, that is enough, indeed, that is all, for this is the purpose of the Father’s discipline: that the Crucifixion and Resurrection of His Son should be formed in our souls. Yes, this is the Father’s discipline: that our souls should shine in the Resurrection glory of Jesus and this is the same as to say that the Father chooses us to bear the Cross of His Son and die upon it with Him and in Him. To be crucified with Christ is to have Christ’s Resurrection in your soul.
This is not any kind of punishment: this is the supreme gift of Divine Love, that the Father has chosen us to be the Bride of His Son!
Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale