The most astounding thing to me about what happened with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ isn’t what He did for us, or even what He did as us, but what He did to us. I will focus in on this amazing aspect as I continue unpacking the first two chapters of Ephesians in order to see what the good news that brings great joy means to us. The painting here was created by Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century (I added the “You are Here” sign). It’s a great depiction of what I want to cover today. You can go to my post, “Can you see yourself in Christ?” for more information about this amazing work of art.
The passage we’ve come to today in Paul’s discourse is Ephesians 2:6:
6 He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! (Eph.2:6 TPT *)
This truth is so astounding that many Christians don’t actually believe it. We can’t believe that the good news can be this good, so we water it down by saying things like, “This is just our legal position,” which is powerless nonsense. No, this is our actual position. We’re literally seated with Christ in God (I’ll explain what I mean by that in a moment).
This is another reason why Christianity, truly understood, is not a religion. As Robert Capon said, it’s the announcement of the end of religion. Certainly, religious practices have been invented over the years but, at its core, Christianity is a different paradigm.
Religion is us inviting God into our lives; Christianity is God inviting us into His.
Besides, didn’t we get Jesus’ memo? The Kingdom of God is not up in the sky somewhere. That’s what religious people thought in Jesus’ day, and still think today. No, the Kingdom of God is now…within you.
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21 NKJV *)
This is why we must pay close attention to Scripture when it talks about where we are with relationship to God in heaven.
For instance, notice the tense (highlighted) in Hebrews:
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels (Heb.12:22 NKJV *)
Or, Paul’s statement about our citizenship here:
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil.3:20 NKJV *)
I’m not saying that there’s no bodily return of Christ or greater glory of heaven to come. We only see a dim reflection of our true selves in Christ now (1 Cor.13:12). But I am saying that we’re waiting for Jesus’ return to earth from heaven. That’s you. Right now. Get it?
Beloved, you are a multi-realm being, living in both heaven and earth at the same time. This is the most fundamental thing about you—you are a spiritual being living in a body. And this is the same crazy paradox that Jesus lived in while on the earth.
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (John 3:13 NKJV *)
Can you imagine poor Nicodemus’s religious brain cells being fried on that one! “So…Jesus, are you saying you came down from heaven?” Yes. “And you’re in heaven now?” Yes. “But you’re on the earth talking to me right now?” Yes, Nick…. “Ahhh!!!”
Easter is always an interesting time for me. I find it puzzling that most believers don’t have trouble identifying with and celebrating Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but miss the most important reason for God doing this in the first place. They don’t seem to fully identify themselves with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
When Jesus was crucified, you were crucified, when He died, you died, when He was buried, you were buried, when He rose from the grave, you rose from the grave with Him (Rom. 6:3-11; 2 Cor.5:14; Gal.2:20; Col.3:3).
I feel like saying what Paul asked the Galatians…“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? (Gal.3:1 *). Or, the Corinthians, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (Rom.2:2 *).
Paul’s point: “among you” meaning he wanted to see them actually living out of their true identity—the crucified life, fully alive in Christ.
Watchman Nee called this the normal Christian life.
Yup, the Coroner of Oz was right. You’re not only really dead, you’re really most sincerely dead. But the good news doesn’t end there! The very essence of Christianity is this:
3 Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away in God in Christ. (Col. 3:3 TPT *)
This is what Richard Rohr said about our dynamic relationship to God in his book, “The Divine Dance: the Trinity and Your Transformation“:
“At the heart of Christian revelation, God is not seen as a distant, static monarch but—as we will explore together—a divine circle dance, as the early Fathers of the church dared to call it (in Greek, perichoresis, the origin of our word choreography). God is the Holy One presenced in the dynamic and loving action of Three. But even this Three-Fullness does not like to eat alone. This invitation to share at the divine table is probably the first biblical hint of what we would eventually call “salvation.” (Kindle Edition, Loc. 399-434)
Now, that’s good news that brings great joy! 🙂