Thursday, January 29, 2015

NTDS (56): Heavenly Places

Eph 2:6-7 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. NIV

Three questions should come to mind when we read these verses. What does it mean to be “raised up?” How are we seated in the “heavenly realms?” When and how will He show the “riches of His grace?” The answer to these questions, help us to understand the remarkable position we hold as believers in Christ and how closely we are identified with Him.

It is important to understand, that right now, these expressions of our identification with Jesus, are to be understood in a spiritual sense. In other words, what happened to Jesus, physically, happens to us spiritually.

First, God raised Jesus from the physical death to physical life. He resurrects us from spiritual death, to a new spiritual life in Christ. Eph 2:1-2 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air," … Eph 2:4-5
 "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions"… 

We were spiritually dead. We need to let that sink in. Without Christ, we had no hope of being “alive to God.” That is why Jesus told Nicodemus that He needed to be “born again,” We all need to be raised by Christ, in order that our spirits may be alive.

Second, if we look around, it’s easy to see that we are not physically seated in the heavenly places (or realms, the word was added for understanding. It is not there in the original language). So we must understand this as spiritual for the time being. Why is it even important? When Jesus was resurrected, after a period of time, He ascended to His Father in heaven and was seated at the right hand, Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God." (Also see Mk 16:9, Acts 7:55-56, Ro 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb1: 3, 12:2)

The right hand of a throne, in ancient times, was the seat of power and exaltation. This is why James, John and their mother came to Jesus asking if one could sit at His right and one at His left when He came into His kingdom. So think for a moment if you will, that in the spiritual sense, we are already in that place! It is a place of honor and authority. It is a place that denotes a close relationship. This is the place we occupy spiritually.

That should put us in awe of the love, grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior. Even though, as Ro 5:10 says, we were enemies of God, He chose to reconcile us to himself and place us in this position.

Third, when and how will He show the riches of His grace? The language here, ”coming ages,” denotes a future time. The verse says that it will be expressed in His ‘kindness” towards us. This means that all creation, in the future will see how kind God was in redeeming us. 

Dr J Vernon McGee puts it this way, “Angels will go by and say, ‘see that fellow McGee. He was lost and not worth saving, but he is here in heaven today.’ ” Insert your name in his place and you get the picture. Verse 10 of Ephesians 2 says that we are God’s workmanship (poiema- creation, work, action). This work will be on display so that God’s mercy, grace and kindness will be evident.

What an amazing amount of truth is contained in these two verses. How blessed we are, to know how much the God who created all things, cares about us. God’s grace, mercy and love, know no bounds. He deserves our honor, praise and obedience. Let’s join with King David today and declare, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Ps 8:1)

God bless you

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