I cannot separate the Church from Christ, nor Christ from the church. I cannot enter into such views as that the first thought God had of a Church was when Christ died on the cross. No; I must go to the very fountain-head of all those streams that gladden the city of God.
The Church never was separated from Christ. So long as I have that precious passage of Scripture which tells me that the Church is His body, I say then there is no Christ without His Church, and here is no Church without Christ. All else is only what men call by that wrong name of natural religion. In Ephesians 1, I read, the Father "hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body." We might think that's enough, but it is added, "the fulness of him that filleth all in all", that is the complement, the making up, showing that, if the Church be the complement of Christ, He would not be complete if He had not His Church. This whole world was made for Himself and His Church. This whole world has the elements of disruption; if He were to let it go, it would fall to pieces. But He is identified with His Church: the world has been given to Him, and He maintains it for the sake of His Church. "All things are for your sakes." "All things are yours."
The Church has from all eternity been in Christ. It has never been separated from Christ. God's Church was afterwards involved in the universal crash of sin. When Adam fell he dragged down the whole church of God, and there it lay buried in the ruins of the fall, but not lost, for not a member of that Church can be lost. They were from all eternity God's consecrated ones. He gave them to Christ; and, as they were chosen in Christ, therefore they must be bought back.
Redemption is a definite, a specific work. The Church must be redeemed in order that it may be reinstated in a condition to be looked upon by Him who is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity:" therefore she must have her guilt blotted out for ever in the atoning blood of Christ. Thus she stands in the righteousness of God Himself, and her communion with God is only by virtue of her union to Christ. All the actings, all the breathings, the energies of the believer's life are of God the Holy Spirit. The salvation is through the blood-shedding of God's only Son; the righteousness is the righteousness of God; the fellowship with God is by His own blessed Spirit, and the result of union to Jesus Christ.