Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Living in Union with Christ

Paul's Gospel and Christian Moral Identity

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


Leading New Testament theologian Grant Macaskill introduces Paul's understanding of the Christian life, which is grounded in the apostle's theology of union with Christ. The author shows that the exegetical foundations for a Christian moral theology emerge from the idea of union with Christ. Macaskill covers various aspects of Christian moral theology, exploring key implications for the Christian life of the New Testament idea of participatory union as they unfold in Paul's Letters.

Introduction: Union with Christ as the Basis for Christian Life
1. Scholarly Contexts for the Present Study: Attempts to Revise Our Understanding of Justification and Sanctification
2. Who Am I Really? Paul's Moral Crisis
3. Baptism and Moral Identity: Clothing Ourselves in Christ
4. The Lord's Supper and Someone Else's Memory: Do This in Remembrance of Me
5. Crying "Abba" in the Ruins of War: The Spirit and the Presence of Christ
6. One Little Victory: Hope and the Moral Life
7. Concluding Synthesis: Living in Union with Christ


"Participation in Christ is at the heart of Paul's theology, but it is difficult to understand and easy to neglect in practice. Macaskill challenges us to take it fully seriously in our Christian lives as well as in our theology, making his case with exegetical care and spiritual wisdom."

Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews

"Here is true practical theological interpretation, sourced by careful exegesis, nourished by prayerful theological wisdom, and issuing in a truly fresh and invigorating account of life in union with Christ. This book is a wellspring of pastoral insight for all who are thirsty for Paul's gospel. Drink deeply from this well!"

Susan Eastman, Duke Divinity School

"This is a stimulating exploration of the significance of Paul's theology of union with Christ for Christian formation and faithful discipleship. Drawing deeply on his own Reformed tradition, Macaskill proves himself to be both an ardent churchman and a master of practical theological interpretation of Paul's Letters."

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Macaskill gives a lucid and insightful account of key texts in the apostle Paul's dynamic theology of union with Christ by the Spirit. Macaskill combines the sharp expertise of a New Testament scholar with a warm pastoral heart in this incisive work, setting forth a theological and practical portrait of Paul's vision of the Christian life and correcting common misconstruals that dampen the extraordinary power of Paul's teaching. I warmly commend Living in Union with Christ to pastors, students, and others who seek to recover Paul's life-changing message of union with Christ in the church today."

J. Todd Billings, Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan

The Author

  1. Grant Macaskill

    Grant Macaskill

    Grant Macaskill (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland. He previously served as senior lecturer in New Testament at the University of St. Andrews. Macaskill...

    Continue reading about Grant Macaskill


"A timely word for contemporary evangelical Christianity. . . . Macaskill writes with passion but without polemics and guides the reader through complex and dense topics with his characteristic elegance and lucidity of style. Fully conversant with both Pauline scholarship and theological traditions, the author manages to give fresh voice to a Protestant and in particular reformed reading of Paul, which is neither partisan nor defensive. This slim volume is a gem for anybody interested in theological and pastoral readings of Paul."

Dorothea H. Bertschmann,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"Whereas the discussion over what union with Christ means has often remained theoretical, Macaskill reminds us that union with Christ is ultimately deeply practical. This volume is addressed not only to scholars and theologians but also to pastors and educated laypersons."

Jason Maston,

Religious Studies Review

"I found the content rich, the discussion illuminating, and the implications highly significant. . . . There are few books in the area of spiritual formation that are as theologically substantive as this study, and I would recommend Macaskill's Living in Union with Christ to pastors, students, and informed laypeople. It represents the fruit of Christ-centered scholarship at its best."

Moyer Hubbard,

Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

"This book will be helpful for pastors, students, and all those who lead and teach in any capacity, but it will also prove beneficial to any believer who seeks to dive deeply into the text of Scripture. Macaskill writes with pastoral care and wisdom."

Jeremiah Dickinson,

New Horizons

"An accessible theological-interpretive exploration of participation in the filial identity of Jesus Christ as the foundation for Pauline ethics. . . . Macaskill's book demonstrates that despite recent criticisms, contemporary Protestant theology retains both scholarly rigor toward scripture and an ethical concern for the churchgoing laity, both of which make for an edifying theological study. Perhaps more important, Living's distinctly Reformed accent subtracts nothing from the book's eminently ecumenical quality, calling for a rediscovery of sacramental Christian identity that pierces through doctrinal and ethical differences."

Jacob Marques Rollison,

Journal of Reformed Theology

"Macaskill offers a compelling vision of the Christ-shaped nature of the Christian life as reflected in Paul's letters. Though informed by and in conversation with recent Pauline scholarship, the book remains accessible and never loses sight of the practical implications of Paul's vision. . . . Macaskill has provided a helpful reminder of the Spirit-empowered, Christ-shaped pattern of the Christian life."

Isaac Augustine Morales, OP,


"This reflection on the dynamics of Christian life takes seriously the distinctive theology of Paul. . . . Understandably, Macaskill appeals to Evangelical Christian experience but his grasp of Paul's startlingly moral theology will be illuminating for all Christian readers."

The Bible Today

"Living in Union with Christ offers a fresh and stimulating appraisal of how the believer's awareness of union with Christ shapes one's fundamental moral identity. . . . I hope that many pastors and students will read it and think deeply about the arguments, especially as Macaskill's points us to Christ."

Casey Hough,

Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology

"Study of the apostle Paul is often marked by confusion and complexity. Macaskill steps into that arena with this lucid exploration the key theme of participation in Christ. . . . Macaskill's discussion of how Paul's views on the sacraments--baptism and the Eucharist--offer real fruit for our personal engagement with the text and our life together as the church."

Jeff Aernie,

Insights Magazine

"From the start, this volume is a gripping analysis of Christian identity from a Reformed perspective. . . . Macaskill produced a beneficial volume that offers much to its readers. Throughout his method, he explains and applies helpful concepts of agency, identity, memory, and narrative that will benefit many who desire to draw biblical and theological studies closer together. Finally, the attempt by Macaskill to find a proper theological place for Pauline good words within his Reformed tradition of justification as imputed righteousness is commendable. This is an essential correction for many."

Justin Gill,

Stone-Campbell Journal