No doubt the Ephesians who God had saved by His grace, both Jews and Gentiles, were amazed at God’s grace and grateful for their deliverance from the consequences of sin. I know I am. I can’t find the words to express what it means to me to be seated with Christ in heavenly places. This makes the things going on here on earth of little value to those who are in the kingdom of God. Our position in Christ is made plain in the beginning chapter of Ephesians. Who we are in ourselves is made plain in the beginning verses of this chapter. In ourselves we were dead to God. Sin was in us and working against us in every way. Satan is working in every way to defeat God’s purposes for us. “But God,” has changed everything. What was only gloom and doom has been changed to that which is a delight both to Him and to us. When God who is extremely wealthy in mercy, and is full of infinite love, steps in the whole dark picture that covered our condition has been changed.
We are not talking about some kind of god who needs people to beg for money so He can do what He wants to accomplish. God is not a poverty stricken God. The riches of His grace are “exceeding riches.” They go far beyond any and all acts of man’s grace to man. God is rich in glory. He does not need our explanations of His excellence when we are made aware of Him. Those who don’t know God try hard to give explanations as to the marvels of the atom and the designs of nature that God created. They spend billions of dollars to try to find out what the children of God already know. God’s glory is evident in everything from the galaxies of the universe, to the intricacies of the human body. The riches of His mercy is a display of another characteristic of God’s nature that we have nothing to compare with in our human experience. His mercy keeps from happening to us those things that we deserve. It is of His mercies we are not consumed. Those “mercies of God” are a motivating factor that moves believers to present their bodies to Him to be used as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.”
We are seated with Christ because of God’s work for us. The evidence of His interest is His rich mercy. The source of His interest is His great love. How can such love be described? It can’t be, but it has been demonstrated. The resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead has been used on our behalf because of the riches of His grace. God has moved in grace to us and given us what we do not deserve. God’s grace makes the provision of salvation and possessions for us who were dead in trespasses and sins. His grace provided the means whereby we could be accepted by a righteous God on a legal basis. He has made us alive in Christ even though we were dead. Both Jews and Gentiles are able to be equally accepted by God because our Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sin when He was on the cross. “When He was on the cross, I was on His mind.”
Even though we were dead in sins, He has saved us from our sins and the consequences of those who are by nature sinners. He has done this great saving work by His grace in providing salvation paid in full. Grace is the first thing that is needed – and it has been provided. Salvation is personally accepted and received as a gift and a present possession. By faith in God’s Word that has enlightened us to the truth of salvation, we put our personal faith in the Person who provided this salvation for us – our Lord Jesus Christ. That is God’s work for us.
Grace has taken us farther than being delivered from the consequences of eternal punishment for sin. Grace has saved us for a purpose – a reason that is beyond our present ability to grasp. We have not only been raised up to new life, but to a new position – seated with Christ. This means we have been placed by God in a position of fellowship with Christ in all that He is and all that He is going to do in the future. We are made alive with Christ in the past when He saved us. We are seated with Christ in the present in heavenly places. In the future we will be displaying the riches of God’s grace by His kindness through Christ Jesus as we share God’s eternal purposes as those who are children of God by faith in Him. Our identity is forever linked with the value of that Person. This seated position is one of certainty because it is the position of a mighty victory. A victory has been won and the Victor claims for Himself that which He has won in the greatest battle against sin that will ever be fought – the work of the cross. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Throughout the coming ages the “amazing grace” will be on permanent display; not as museum pieces that remain motionless to be viewed and forgotten, but as living testimonies to God’s grace by the good works we do.
None of this is something of which we can boast in any way. It is by God’s grace alone that we are saved. Grace is the means by which salvation is offered as a gift. Eternal life is not earned – it is given. Faith is the hand that reaches out and takes the gift. That faith is not generated in us or earned by us. but is made known to us in the Word of God. God the Spirit has given us the written Word of God on which our faith is based. Because of believing the Word of God concerning the Person and work of Christ, we place our faith in Him as a living Person. He is God who was “manifest in flesh.” He came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” He demonstrated His love to us in that “Christ died for us.” He died “for our sins according to the scriptures.” He was buried and “rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Salvation is totally a work of God for us.
Behind this amazing display of amazing grace there is a purpose. We are made alive , saved by grace and seated with Christ in heavenly places. That He has already done for us. That is the gift of God. His intention in forming the new creation, this “workmanship,” is so we know God has worked in us “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” The Holy Spirit is in us, the Word of God is in us so we can be “conformed to the image of His dear Son.” When this work has been done in us, then God is able to work through us to fulfill the purposes of His grace toward others. This work for which He has prepared us, is not for our pleasure but for His purposes. We have been made a new creation, a “workmanship,” to do good works in His name. Good works are the way God demonstrates His love to a covetous self-seeking world. The riches of God’s grace, mercy and glory are evident when those who are seated with Christ in heavenly places demonstrate these same divine characteristic from with this newly created workmanship that has been given a new nature.