Christians should recognise that their life is anchored to Jesus who is in heaven.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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.
These verses are puzzling in several ways. Not the least is that you can leave them out, that is skip from verse 5 to 8, and the passage still makes perfectly good sense. The Apostle did choose, however, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to include them. They tell us something very important. Nonetheless, they are puzzling.
Verse 6 would present no problems to us if it spoke of the future. Christians can easily anticipate being with Christ in the heavenlies at some future time, but Paul uses what is essentially a past tense to describe what has already happened. God “raised us together” with Christ and he “seated us together” with him. We are entitled to scratch our heads and think, but I am still here on earth. The key to understanding this is the concept of our union with Christ. When we believe in the Lord Jesus, we become one with him and what applies to him applies to us. He was punished on the cross; our sin received its punishment. He is perfectly righteous; we are declared righteous because of our union with him.
Therefore, he was raised, and we are raised with him to a new life. That is what we have as we live as Christians. The new life consists in living as one who is forgiven and beloved and living in relationship with our God. It is what Jesus referred to as being born again. Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand in the heavenly realms so, as those in union with him, we have the same status. There are obviously some difficult aspects to this but what it means in very practical terms is that as a believer in Jesus you could not be more secure. Jesus’ acceptance guarantees your acceptance.
The appropriate response to this is a deep gratitude to our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for showing to us such mercy and love. Remembering that before being saved by Jesus we were dead in trespasses and sins, can only lead us to a profound sense of humility as well. The Apostle provides an intriguing thought for us to strengthen that gratitude and humility. In verse 7 he tells us that this glorious status we have will bring great glory to God. In the ages to come we will be displayed as an exemplar of the riches of God’s grace and kindness. Consider that now and in the ages to come, going into eternity, angelic and human beings will be in awe of our God as they look at us. They will ask, how could such a sinner, with so many failures and atrocious attitudes be acceptable to God? The praise will rise to God that he is far more gracious and far kinder to people like us than any could ever have imagined. How appropriate is it for us to express that praise now!
Prayer: Thank you Father that our lives are found in Jesus who is in heaven. Please show us the full significance of that for life now and teach us to live appropriately, full of praise, as people so wonderfully blessed.
In Jesus name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Raised with Christ
David Johnston Living Church – Creek Road