The Book of Ephesians.
(Verse by verse study.)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Usually the common understanding is that when it says, the word raised up with Christ has to do with the resurrection and ascension. As Jesus was raised up from the dead and taken up to heaven, then we too are raised up with him and in heavenly places. This is not easy to understand, as our mortal eyes do not see that but to be taken spiritually.
We were spiritually dead before and now we are spiritually alive when God raised us up from the dead and we are given a new life as our condition has been changed. We have a new identity; we are not only creatures of this world but also new creatures of much greater heavenly realm because of our union with Christ. We are being transformed from the kingdom of this world, the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of heaven.
All this happened in Christ Jesus, which means our union with Christ. The union with Christ is an essential teaching, which you will not hear from many of the pulpits today. I am going to expose this most fundamental essential teaching which very crucial for us to understand our new identity in Christ.
There was a radical change in our conversion.
In Adam In Christ
Dead in transgressions and sins Made alive with Christ
We were dead Now we are alive
We were slaves to sin Liberated by the power of sin
We were objects of God’s wrath We experience God’s love.
Kingdom of this world Kingdom of heaven
Dr. James Montgomery Boice on his commentary on the book of Ephesians writes the following:
“Have you ever coined a word because you wanted to describe something for which no existing English word seemed adequate? Some people have done this. Nearly 240 years ago, in 1754 to be exact, Horace Walpole coined the word ‘serendipity’ which defined as ‘the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident.’ I find that word in my twelve volume Oxford English Dictionary, but even today it is not in smaller Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Another coined word is C. Northcote Parkinson’s ‘injelitis’ it means induced inferiority’ the disease seen in those who intentionally attempt little and achieve nothing.
“Before we were objects of wrath, now we experience God’s love. What words can adequately describe this great change? What terms can express it? Since nothing like this had been known in history of the world before Christ, it is not surprising in Paul’s day adequate words did not yet exist to describe what happened.
So Paul invented some. He took the Greek prefix syn, meaning ‘together with’ and combined it with three words used elsewhere to describe what God did with Jesus after his crucifixion.
Taken together, these words make one of the most significant statements in the Bible of what happened to Christians as a result of their union with Jesus Christ in God’s great work in salvation.”(An expositional commentary Ephesians by James Montgomery Boice)
Professor John Murray in his book ‘Redemption accomplished and Applied’ said, “Union with Christ is really the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation not only in its application but also in its once-for-all accomplishment in the finished work of Christ. Indeed the whole process of salvation has its origin in one phase of union with Christ and salvation has in view the realization of other phases of union with Christ.... Union with Christ is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.”
But sad to say it is union with Christ is generally unknown, hardly taught from the pulpits today, only in reform teachings this precious truth is made known.
Union with Christ has to do with our new identity. Whenever you see the words ‘in Christ’ in the Bible it has to do with our union with Christ. Our English word union comes from the French word union and Latin unio, which means oneness, united.
The union with Christ exalts the grace of God and makes us humble and shows us it had nothing to do with our righteousness or our obedience but all of Christ! Man does not get an inch of glory but God gets it all.
There are metaphors of our union with Christ in the Bible. The union with Christ is described in John chapter 15:1-16 as of the union between the vine and branches. Also this union is compared as the head and the members of the body in Eph 4:15-16. Also we find the union of Christ with the believers as of the husband and wife Eph 5:21-32. Also we see the union of Christ with the believers as in a construction of a building in 1 Pet 2:4-6
Now as I said let us see in scripture how the union with Christ is so essential to the gospel.
John Murray wrote, "the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation," what does it mean and why is it so important? As we see if everything in Christ from election before the foundation of the world, salvation in our time, and eternal life all in Christ then there is nothing left for us so we have nothing to boast of anything that we have accomplished! All in Christ and not in US!
This blows away the man centered Christianity. There are no super Christians and regular Christians and fleshly Christians depending on man’s works of obedience and achievement.
Handbook for Christian Maturity: Bible Study (Ten Basic Steps) Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ speaks of the Carnal Christian who needs the filling of the Holy Spirit as writes "If a Christian is not filled, he is disobedient to the command of God and is sinning against God." (Handbook for Christian Maturity, CCCI, pp.133-145) Also Christian Discipleship A Step-by-Step Guide to Fulfilling the Great Commission by Dr. Steven Collins speaks of the carnal Christian and the spirit filled Christian. Dr. Michael Horton rightly says, “Union with Christ is not the result of human decision, striving, seeking, yielding, or surrendering, but of Christ's. While we are called to be "filled with the Spirit" (Gal.5: 18), it is a figure of speech: "Do not be drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit." In other words, make sure you're under the right influence! An in-depth article of the carnal Christian was written by Ernest C Reisinger. \
Seated with God in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
We are united with Christ to the highest level that is heaven. Not only that we are seated with the glorious majestic God of the universe! This is our identity our position in Christ, wow! The seat of God speaks of victory.
Ps 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Heb 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father. And we are seated with him. If I am seated at the right hand of the president I have intimacy with the president and he will reveal things that I may not know. Yes my friend we who were hostile and enemies to God at one time through Christ our mediator by his works alone he reconciled us to the Father and now we are his children, there is an intimacy and God reveals his grace towards us.
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Now as we are seated with God in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus God is speaks to us in an intimate way.
Christianity has to do with Christ alone. And if we are raised with Christ and seated in heavenly realms then let us meditate on heavenly things not on earthly things that give fleshly pleasure. Let us have our affections upon Christ alone.
"My beloved is mine, and I am his." (Song 2:16)
These are the words of the church because of Christ love to the church.
‘My beloved’ shows love and affection. ‘Is mine’ shows we belong only to Christ none other. ‘I am his’ shows our resignation to him.