It is sufficiently evident, that there is a representative union between Christ and the elect, both from everlasting and in time, which is independent on, and prior to their believing in him. He represented them as their head in election, and in the covenant of grace, as has been already observed; and so he did, when upon the cross, and in the grave, when he rose from the dead, entered into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.Hence they are said to be crucified with him, dead with him, buried with him, risen with him, yea, to be made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Now all these several unions take their rise from, and have their foundation in, the everlasting love of Christ to his people; which is the grand original, strong and firm bond of union between him and them, and is the spring of all that fellowship and communion they have with him in time, and shall have to all eternity. It is from hence that the Spirit of God is sent down into our hearts to regenerate and renew us, and faith is wrought in our souls by the Spirit. Faith does not give us a being in Christ, or unite us to him; it is the fruit, effect, and evidence of our being in Christ and union to him. It is true, indeed, that God’s elect do not know their being in Christ and union to him, until they believe; then what was before secret is made manifest; and because things are sometimes said to be, when they are only manifested to be, hence the people of Christ are said to be in Christ, when they are made new creatures; if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). Being a new creature, does not put a man into Christ, but is the evidence of his being there; and without which he neither knows, nor ought he to profess himself to be in Christ:And so likewise, in another place, it is said,If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his (Rom. 8:9).He may be one of his chosen and redeemed ones, though he has not the Spirit of Christ as yet; but he cannot know this until he has the Spirit of Christ; for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord,that is, his Lord, but by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12:3). The apostle Paultakes notice of some that were in Christbefore him (Rom. 16:7); all God’s elect were chosen together in Christ, not one before another: They had all together a being in him; but this in conversion is made known to one before another. There are different manifestations of union to different persons, and to the same persons at different times; for which Christ prays, when he says, that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me; and the glory which thou gayest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17:21-23). The full manifestation of it will be in heaven, when the saints shall be with Christ where he is, and behold his glory, and enjoy uninterrupted communion with him, as the fruit of their eternal union to him.
--- John Gill
And Also I have Withholden the Rain from You
"And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered." - Amos 4:7
How powerless we are as regards the rain that falls from the sky! Who can go forth when the sun is shining in its brightness and bid the rain to fall? Or when rain is falling, who can go forth and restrain the bottles of heaven? He who gives us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness, also turns a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. Equally sovereign is the blessing that God gives to the preached gospel. He holds the blessing in his own hand; it is his to give, and his to withhold. If he bless, it is because he has promised it; but when, where, and to whom it shall come, is at his own sovereign disposal. Yet what do we naturally desire when the earth is parched up for want of rain? Knowing that there is rain stored up in the clouds above, and that when it does come it will produce beneficial effects, desires, if not prayers, go up that it may fall. In fact, the earth itself, parched and dried up by heat, the very ground itself, by the fissures and clefts which are made in the soil by a burning sun, silently, mutely, but still imploringly calls upon the rain to fall. Every crack you see in July is a silent mouth asking the rain to come down. The withered herbage, the cattle lowing in the field, the dried-up ponds and brooks, are all imploring, though not a word is uttered, that rain may fall. So in grace. The parched, withered, dried-up feelings of the soul are all so many mute mouths imploring God’s blessing to come down. Nay, the very hardness, barrenness, and sterility felt in our heart when the blessing of God does not rest upon the word, are so many mute appeals to the God of all grace that his blessing would attend the word to our conscience. I say this because you may think sometimes that you are not praying for the blessing of God to rest upon the word, because you may not be using vocal prayer, or are not favoured with a spirit of grace and supplications. God sees your wants, and to those wants he has a kind regard. The babe need not, and indeed cannot ask in so many words for food. The cry of hunger is enough. Or even if too weak to cry, the mother knows the child is hungry by its restless movements; and she is as pleased to give the nutritious food as the babe is to receive it. So you must not always measure the strength of your prayers by the mere vocal utterance you may give to them. The heart-searching God reads your wants, knows your desolate case, and sees your barren condition. As in the kingdom of his providence he views from his holy throne the parched ground, and sends down showers because he sees its need; so in the kingdom of his grace he looks upon the parched condition of his people, and gives the spiritual rain because he knows they need it.