Partly for sermon preparation and partly for my own personal edification, I have been reading Marcus Peter Johnson’s great book, One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation. It is an excellent discussion of union with Christ. You can listen to him explain his book in part one and part two of a recent two-part Reformed Forum podcast.
Here is his brief expansion of a quote by Cornelius Plantinga that is annotated in my index note cards of the book:
Just as salvation makes sense only in the context of sin, sin can be understood only in the context of salvation. To speak of sin without grace not only makes sin incomprehensible but also belittles the redemptive work of God in the world. ‘But to speak of grace without sin,’ writes Cornelius Plantinga, ‘is surely no better. To do this is to trivialize the cross of Jesus Christ… What had we thought all the ripping and writhing on Golgotha were all about?’ (Plantinga, p. 199) A loss of consciousness about the devastating nature of sin makes the ‘ripping and writhing’ of the Son of God – the blood, sweat, spit, and ridicule – incomprehensible and merely grotesque. A failure to take sin seriously enough renders the incarnation, the faithful life, and resurrection of Jesus superfluous or incidental. ‘The sober truth is that without full disclosure on sin, the gospel of grace become impertinent, unnecessary, and finally uninteresting’ (pp. 59-60).