The Letters of Union and Love



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

2 Thessalonians 3:17–18

“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”


Some of the most beautiful writing in history comes to us in the form of letters. Letters are personal, often written from the heart, and bear the thoughts, emotions, and character of the person writing. 

Letters in the Bible can have a similar quality. God uses people, and when God gifts us with the written Word of God, he does so by having real people write the words (inspired by the Holy Spirit) that he wants delivered to us.

We now turn toward the letters of the Apostle of Union and Love, Paul.

Paul wrote many of the letters in the New Testament, sourced from his revelation of Jesus and fueled by his own deep, pastoral love for the people of God. Ephesians 3:14–21, a prayer written by Paul in a letter from prison to his brothers and sisters in Christ, carries the inspiration of the Holy Spirit moving through the prayer life of the apostle.

All of Paul’s letters bear his tone, his wisdom, and his keen prophetic and prayerful instinct. They are also shaped by his deep knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, his love for the body of Christ, and his personal joys and sorrows.

In addition to speaking to us through the written Word, Jesus, dwelling in us, is speaking to the world today through your life and mine.

Some have said that your life may be the only letter from God that a person ever reads. Paul wrote that we are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). The word for “handiwork” here is the Greek word, poiēma, from where we get the word, poem. You are God’s poem to the world. And it is a beautiful poem he is writing.

May the poem of your life convey that every human heart, no matter how distant from God one may feel, can come into loving union with God through Christ.

And the themes of union and love permeate the letters of Paul. They flow from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rushing like a river through Paul’s voice. When he writes with such passion about us being “in Christ,” a phrase (with its variations) appearing with great frequency in his letters, he is writing about all we have just learned from Jesus in the Gospel of John.

Paul wants us to know, needs us to know, that we are abiding in Christ (John 15:4–5), united to Christ (John 17:23), in all things. Paul wants us to know—needs us to know—that nothing will ever separate us from Christ’s love.

Passages from Paul’s letters we are about to explore speak of Jesus a) living in us as his habitation, b) inviting us to participation in his life, death, and resurrection, and c) transforming us to become an incarnation of his loving presence in the world.

When Paul writes about us being the habitation of Jesus, he is communicating that we are individually and corporately a temple in which the Spirit of the Living God lives (1 Cor. 6:19–20). When he writes about sharing in the life of Jesus in full participation, he is communicating that we are identified with Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection (Phil. 3:10–11). And when Paul writes about us becoming an incarnation of the love of Jesus to the world, he is communicating that we can come to a place where it is no longer you or I who live—but Christ who lives in us (Gal. 2:20). 

Paul is a man who was changed by union and love. His words about our identification with Jesus and Jesus’s identification with us and his church have shaped the theology of the body of Christ for thousands of years. For Paul, that union uniquely hosts the possibility that our lives will bear the fruit of holy love—a Jesus-quality of love that continues to confound the loves of this world.

As the Apostle of Union and Love, Paul’s letters will help us understand the benefits, the challenges, and the glory of being united with Christ.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. As your poem to the world, use me to do good works in your name. You have artfully crafted my life with love, and I want my life to carry the theme that you, Jesus, truly save. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Have you ever thought of your life as a poem to the world, written by God in the ink of love? Do you have a favorite passage from one of Paul’s letters that continues to help you on your journey of knowing Jesus?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I’ve never thought of my life as a poem written by God in the ink of love. However, I’m currently and consistently be made aware that God IS using me to convey His message that salvation is much more than merely being saved from something, the fires of Hell, but also being saved for something. This purpose is expressed through this passage of Scripture from Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, chapter 4:15-16, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.” In other words, a healthy body, the Church, will only grow and function as it aught when every part is acting in one accord. The proper function of The Priesthood of All Believers.

    1. Bob, I feel we are on a similar path, but I’m a few miles behind you. I’m slowly learning to follow Christ more than avoid the worldliness. I didn’t say “instead of” avoiding worldliness, I said “more than”. I’m coming to believe that “seek first his kingdom and all these things will be given you …” includes all the good things that still must take second place to Christ. I can only avoid worldliness and sin by focusing on Christ, not the sin.

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