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.
In my last post, we talked about how Paul points out 3 things that God did for us in Christ in these verses (5-7). The first one is that He "made us alive with Christ." The second thing He did for us is "raised us up" and the third thing is He "seated us with him in the heavenly realms." When reading these few verses, it's easy to feel a little disoriented and bewildered by the picture we're given and by the words used to convey this message. I mean, seriously . . . I don't feel raised up from anything today and I don't think I'm sitting in the heavenly realms right now. With all that life has put on my plate today, I'm pretty sure I feel like I'm right here, right now, on earth in this mortal body. You with me on this one? But, let's just break it down a bit and find the literal parts of the symbolic. Understanding these verses are key to understanding the reality of our salvation.
|"The Redeemed Walked There" by Marcia Hinds|
- We literally anticipate resurrection and glorification with Him in the coming age. When we die and leave our mortal bodies behind, we live on in a new body (whatever that may look like!). Death did not keep Jesus in the tomb, and it will not keep us lying in a grave, non-existent, with no life to live.
- We can face each day knowing how temporal this mortal life is. Yes, we have problems to deal with, car repairs to be paid for, health issues niggling at us, (insert your own here) . . . but, Friends, it IS temporary.
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV
And, know this: I AM NOT making light of the problems you face today. I have my own and I know that they are small by comparison to some who face much greater tragedies than I. I am not blind to what's going on this world. Life -- this life! -- is full of problems that must be solved, decisions that must be made. The apostle just wants us to understand that there is something greater in this life with Christ that transcends every problem we face today. And, that "something greater" is eternal life!
- Because we have been seated with Him in the heavenly realms, we participate with Him in His action in this world -- in this life.
God wants to show off and demonstrate His great love for us in the lives around us . . . in the lives to come . . . and in the lives of the past. By raising us up and seating us in the heavenly realms, He shows off His greatness and love to those who will believe and to those who already believe. We certainly do not deserve this participation with Him and He didn't have to make this part of the deal of our salvation in Jesus Christ. But He did! You could call this act of grace His "publicity program" for the whole of history and beyond. He planned a continual exhibition of His favor towards humankind to cover all of history, all of the future and into eternity. His great riches toward us are "incomparable!" His kindness to us in life is shown in His act of love to us through Jesus Christ.
Life moves on and you cannot stop it. Problems come and go -- there is always something to be stressed about. But you are part of a bigger, grander picture, one that includes life eternal. God planned for you and had you in mind at the creation of the world, so you have always been a part of this grand story of life. This life is a stop along the way and you will go on from here because of His great love!
Exhibiting His favor,