SALVATION IN EPHESIANS

#13 SEATED IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS IN CHRIST

In describing the power of God which is active for believers, Paul said:

'That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he rasied him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and auhority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.' [Ephesians 1:19-21]

Paul here teaches that  the power of God which achieves our salvation is the same power that achieved  the resurrection, ascension and glorification of Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 2:1-6 Paul explains that we also were dead - dead in transgressions and sins, totally under the power of sin and Satan. Then God, in his great love for us 'raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus'. We have already looked at this statement in terms of regeneration, and also in terms of access to the Father. But there is also something else that Paul wants us to understand so that we will have immense and unshakeable confidence in our present relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ.

Here Paul forces us to confront the question: How did we, who are the objects of God's wrath [Ephesians 2:3] become adopted as his sons? [Ephesians 1:5]. How did we, who were dead in sins become alive in Christ? [Ephesians 2:5].  Was it by our own power? Was it because of some work we ourselves did or are doing? Was it something about which we could personally boast? [Ephesians 2:8-9]

No. It was by the power of God, this same power of God that raised and glorified Christ. And here we see that salvation by the power of God alone is the essential partner of salvation by grace alone. If some power of ours saved us, then it is not by grace, and we can boast. If God's power did it, God's power alone, then it is by grace, and we have no grounds for boasting.

The outcome of this is total assurance of our salvation, and Paul makes it clear that he constantly prays that his readers will have this sheer confidence. He prays that we may:

know the hope to which he called us [1:18],

know the riches of his glorious inheritance [1:18],

know his incomparably great power for us who believe [1:19],

grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ [3:18],

know this love that surpasses knowledge [3:19].

We, in our ego-centric pride, are constantly tempted to think that something we do can either positively or negatively affects our salvation. We think that our good works can make it surer. Or that our failures can lessen or destroy it. In our twisted attempts to hold on to our own significance we deny the very salvation we so desparately need.

Paul outlaws all such human pride. Paul outlaws all such human despair. Both display ignorance, and even contempt, of our state before we were saved, and of what God actually did in and through the death and resurrection of Christ.

God's power did it, not ours. God, rich in love, took us out of spiritual death, rescued us from his wrath, and seated us in his presence in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

That is how he sees us. That is how relates to us. No longer cut off from him by our sin. No longer the objects of his wrath. No longer as stand alone individuals answerable and offensive to him. But 'in Christ Jesus', who is forever by his side, forever 'with him'.

In Christ, we are even now with God in the heavenly realms.  

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007, 2017