“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJ)
During the month of January, we’d like to kick off the New Year by focusing on the believer’s inheritance and our need to lay hold to all that Christ has obtained for us. If the believer is to live victoriously and faithfully in this fallen world, they must believe and understand the basis for their success.
The source of the believer’s victory is the work that was accomplished by Christ on the Cross. Jesus Christ’s obedient sacrifice resulted in the believer’s adoption into the family of God (Ep. 1:5), their reconciliation with God (Ep. 1:6) and most importantly, the forgiveness of their sin (Ep. 1:7). God’s plan of salvation constitutes the only legitimate means by which believers can access their spiritual inheritance. In our text, the Apostle Paul uses three verbs prefixed by syn- (with) to describe what God has done in and with Christ to obtain the inheritance He predestined before the foundations of the world (Ep. 1:4, 11).
First, God “made us alive” (synezoopoiesen) together with Christ Jesus. The King James Version renders “made alive” as “quickened.” We were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins but God made us alive (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). Regenerated as new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), we are now spiritually alive-empowered by the Spirit that dwells within us (Rom. 8:11).
Next, God “raised us up” (synegeiren) together with Christ Jesus. Just as the omnipotent power of God raised Christ from the dead “physically” on Easter morning (Eph. 1:19-20), we too have been resurrected “spiritually” with Him. Being raised from the dead, we now walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), seeking those things from above where Christ is (Col. 3:1).
Finally, God “made us sit together in the heavenly places” (synekathisen) with Christ Jesus. “Heavenly places” refers to the realm of God’s complete, heavenly domain, from which all His blessings come. Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father (Ep. 1:20-21) where He now physically resides. By faith, believers also sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, not physically, but positionally. This means that as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, we have access to the same blessings or inheritance with Christ. This includes His righteousness, resources, privilege, position and power (Rom. 8:16-17).
In Christ Jesus we are not only assured of resurrection and glorification at the end of the age but also the present blessings provided in Christ in His ascended majesty. We thank God who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13). We thank God for His plan of salvation that made us alive, raised us up, and made us sit together in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We thank God through Jesus Christ for the inheritance made available for us.