Raised with Christ
“…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 2:6)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:6
There is more that comes from being united with Christ than being made “alive to God” (Ephesians 2:5). Paul tells us that God also “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ” (v. 6).
Remember, the apostle is showing us here how God’s great power has been exerted toward those who believe (1:19). It is the power that he showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand (1:20). This same power works in us to make us alive to God and, as Paul tells us here, raises us up together with him to sit in heavenly places.
This is a staggering truth that is hard for us to grasp. We can understand being made alive to God together with Christ (made open, responsive, loving and dependent toward him) because we can feel these things to be true in our souls. But being raised to sit with him in the heavenly places – that is something different.
Our senses tell us that we live on earth. It is here we live and breathe and eat and work and play. But the gospel assures us that there is something more that is true of us when we come to Christ. Through our faith union with him, we truly do become one with him. Paul speaks of us being “one spirit” with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17). Jesus never sees us as separated from him, even though we live an earth-bound existence.
Put another way, when Jesus ascended to be with his Father, he took us with him. He didn’t rise as a simple individual but as the Head and Representative of his entire body. He was the fulfilment of what happened when Israel’s high priest entered the holiest place on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Israel’s priest entered that sacred place just once a year wearing special garments which included a breastplate embedded with precious stones (Exodus 28:15-21). Each stone represented a tribe of Israel (v. 21). In effect, what the high priest was doing was carrying the nation on his heart before the Lord (vs. 29-30). This is what Jesus did when he entered heaven as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14; 8:1-2).
While we might be on earth, we are forever joined to the Lord who never forgets us for a moment. As Paul was to write to the Colossians, our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). He is the true source of life, living within us through his Spirit. This becomes something very real and practical for us as we look to him and draw our life from him through faith-filled prayers.
As amazing as it sounds, our present heavenly life in Christ is something we are to believe in and embrace. As we do so, we come to experience the possibility of living a life now that is beyond our own ability.
- Do you see the true centre of your life as something hidden with Christ in God?
- Are you daily making yourself radically available to Christ and drawing your life from him?
– Andrew Young