Sep. 23, 2018

Seated and walking with Christ

Ephesians 2 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.


In today’s text Paul says:  God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  So, as I meditate and write this, it is from my seat in the heavenly places. I don’t say that boastfully but rather as truth in and through Christ. You too, as you read this, as you meditate and reflect on God’s word, do it from heaven, if you are in Christ. Hebrews 4:12-16 says:  The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.    From that place, at the throne of grace, where we are seated with Christ, there is help for every need we have. It says that we have a High Priest who was tempted as we are, yet without sin.   Of all the temptations we face, perhaps the one that has the greatest impact on our lives, is the temptation to doubt what God has said and what He has promised us. The temptation of doubt leads to the sins of unbelief, fear and worry. The more that we focus on the problems and the circumstances we face, the farther we are removed from the throne of grace. There is help for every need at the throne of grace. By grace we are saved. By grace because of the cross and the blood of Jesus we are redeemed from sin, reconciled to God and restored to all that He intended for us. Every need we have in this world, is provided for at the throne of grace. The answer, the provision and the healing; whatever we need is there. On the cross Jesus said:  “It is finished.” (Luke 19:30)  Every need is provided for and accomplished in Christ. Jesus says:  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)   In Romans 8:31-39 it says:  If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?... It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is one thing to recognize, to enter and obtain, the power and the provision, the protection and the healing that exists and is ours in the presence of God, in the heavenly places, at the throne of grace, in Christ. It is another thing to walk in this world, in the midst of the tribulation and turmoil; in the grip of sickness or lack and still know the peace and the overcoming power of Christ. Yet that is how our victory over the tribulation of the world is truly won. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it says:  We walk by faith, not by sight.   Paul is speaking there about the confidence we have because we know that regardless of what happens, we will be with God forever in heaven.  But it is important also for us to walk by faith and not by sight each and every day, trusting in God’s provision and victory for that day. We all have things that we need to do in life. We have jobs and families. We have responsibilities and we have difficulties, problems, trials and tribulations. We have needs. Our ability to overcome is based not only in knowing that those needs are met at the throne of grace, but also in possessing the victory as we walk in this world. It is not possible for us to remain seated in God’s presence in the heavenly places all day long. We must also walk in His presence. The psalmist says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. (Psalm 23:4)  We should have the same confidence and the same perspective whether we are seated in the heavenly realm or we are walking through the darkest places of the world. God’s promise is that He will never leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

The text says:  We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.    One of the greatest weapons we have against the darkness of the world is to walk in the will and do the works of God regardless of our circumstance. If we will go boldly to the throne of grace, no matter where we are in the world, we will find help. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  If we walk in fear, doubt and unbelief in the world, we hide the light of Christ. If we walk in faith, we shine His light to all the world, to the glory of God. We become the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: 

‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’   Amen.