In church, we’ve been reading a book on biblical counseling. Currently, we’re on a chapter about union with Christ. I read the chapter last week, but I must admit that I had a hard time understanding it.

Tonight, we sang a song in church that brought my mind once again to our union with Christ. “Now in Him, I live,” the song went. In Him…as believers, we are in Him. We are in Christ. What does that mean? I don’t think I fully understand what it means.

But because I am in Him, things are different. In Him, I am counted as righteous. In Him, I am alive and enjoy the blessings that come with spiritual life. In Him, I have the Holy Spirit. What do these mean? I think I also do not fully understand them yet.

But it made me think about how a new association, a new relationship could change things. And the human relationship that I could relate this to is marriage. When I was born, I was named Krystal Lim Mercado. And I carried that name for 31 years. When I got married, I became Krystal Mercado Ignacio. I didn’t become a different person. I was still me. I am still me. But I was in a new relationship, and this relationship changed my identity. I am now Krystal Mercado Ignacio. I am no longer Krystal Lim Mercado.

In my first two years of marriage, that change in identity didn’t feel like a substantial change. It just seemed like a change in name, a change in signature, a change in documents. But after two years, we moved to a different part of the country, to a part of the country where Krystal Lim Mercado has no ties to. My only connection to this place was my husband and the connections I had through him. I must admit it was a blow to my pride. My newly acquired last name was what many held on to. It felt like everything else about me just seemed like a footnote. And most people don’t read footnotes. Even for those who do, they’re usually considered of secondary importance.

But I am thankful for this experience. It’s humbling, and it helps me better understand union with Christ. I’m still Tal. But in Christ, what matters is my relationship with Him. That’s why I’m counted as righteous. The Father looks at Christ’s righteousness, not mine. In Christ, I have life, spiritual blessings, and the Holy Spirit.

And I’m happy it’s this way. If I were to face the Father apart from Christ, I would not be counted righteous. I would be spiritually dead and hopelessly so.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30


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