Raised and Ascended with Christ

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV

God’s great mercy

God is said to be merciful to those who put their trust in Him. To them He is “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3), and they are invited to draw near to His throne of grace where, they are assured, they will now “obtain mercy” (Heb. 4:16)…. Mercy is exercised, also, when the individual sinner is called from his lost estate and saved by the grace of God (Rom. 9:15-18; 1 Tim. 1:13). However, the mercy of God has had its supreme manifestation in the giving of His Son for the lost of this world. Sinners who believe are not now said to be saved through the immediate and personal exercise of divine mercy; but rather, since the mercy of God has provided a Savior who is the perfect Substitute for them, both as a sin-bearer, that they might be forgiven all trespasses, and as the righteous ground of a complete justification, God is said to be “just” when He justifies the one who does no more than to “believe in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Thus, from every angle of approach, God is seen to be “rich in mercy.”

God’s great blessings

Of the immediate spiritual blessings which are wrought for the individual at the moment he believes, some are to be classified as possessions, and some as positions. Likewise some are wrought in him, and some are wrought for him. These distinctions occur in verses 5 and 6, where, it will be observed, the believer is first seen to be the recipient of divine life, which is a possession and a blessing wrought in him. He is in like manner raised and seated in the heavenly in Christ Jesus, which is a new position and a blessing wrought for him. Thus the Apostle cites two of the many immediate spiritual blessings which accompany salvation as representative of all that enters into the gracious saving work of God —one belonging to the new possessions and the other belonging to the new positions…

The first of these spiritual blessings — the impartation of divine life — has been considered in the previous article in an exposition of Chapter 2, verse 1, which passage records the first mention in this Epistle of the fact that divine life is imparted. The second blessing, now to be considered — that of being raised and seated with Christ (verse 6) — provides and secures, for the one who trusts in the Savior, absolute identity with the risen Christ and eternal glory with Him forever.

Both as to resurrection and as to seating in the heavenly, the believer is now vitally joined to Christ. The word together, twice used in this verse, relates him, not to the fellowship of the saints as in 1 Thess. 4:17, but to the risen and glorified Christ. The Apostle is justified in the confidence that the reader will not have forgotten the setting forth of Christ’s glorious resurrection and exaltation in the verses immediately preceding (Eph. 1:20-23), and that he will understand to some degree the surpassing, heavenly reality and glory which belong to the one who, because of his union with Christ, is now raised and seated in Christ Jesus, far above all earthly or heavenly comparison (Eph. 1:21).

To be in Christ, which is the portion of all who are saved, is to partake of all that Christ has done, all that He is, and all that He will ever be. It is to have died in His death, to have been buried in His burial, to have been raised in His resurrection, to have ascended in His ascension, and to be seated now with Him (because he is in Him) in glory. Such is the believer’s present position in Christ Jesus.

Over against all this, and in no way to be confused with it, is the experimental fact that a bodily resurrection and actual heavenly exaltation await all those who “sleep in Jesus”; and a bodily translation and heavenly exaltation await all who are “alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord”; the present, unalterable fact of the believer’s position in Christ being the guarantee of the yet future experience [1 Thess. 4:14-18].  A parallel description of this coming glory is found in Colossians 3:1-4. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead [ye died], and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” And Christ has declared, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). That this salvation far exceeds the ruin of sin is seen in the fact that by sin man fell from the level of fellowship with his Creator on the earth; but by saving grace he is exalted to fellowship with God in heaven. The probationary life in Adam was precarious and insecure; but the child of God has a new life imparted, which is Christ in him, and which is in no way related to that Adamic life which was ruined through sin. The life of Christ imparted, like the merit of Christ imputed, is held on no probationary condition, but is the free and unalterable gift of God to all who believe…

In Ephesians 2:10 it is stated that, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”; the divine objective being, according to this passage, that “good works” may result from that which is wrought of God, and that which is wrought of God is no less than a new “creation in Christ Jesus.” Such is the result of “His workmanship.” … Reference is made by this designation to the life and service of the child of God who, being fully yielded to God, experiences the out-working of God’s purpose in his life. It is the discovery of “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Of a certainty, no “good works” will ever come from the life of an unregenerate person. For that reason and to the end that good works may be realized, God has been moved to the recreation of men in Christ Jesus. But, on the other hand, in the sight of God, how vitally important, according to the Scriptures, are these “good works!” To be saved unto good works is a divine undertaking which should never be confused with the unscriptural notion that one might be saved by good works. In every aspect of it, “salvation is of the Lord”; but it is unto that manner of life which He has before ordained.

Lewis Sperry Chafer, The Ephesian Letter Doctrinally Considered, 1935 lewissperrychafer.org/EphesiansDesc.html

“Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871 – 1952) was an American theologian. He co-founded Dallas Theological Seminary with his older brother Rollin Thomas Chafer, served as its first president … John Hannah described Chafer as a visionary Bible teacher, a minister of the gospel, a man of prayer with strong piety. One of his students, Charles Caldwell Ryrie, who went on to become a world renowned theologian and scholar, stated that Chafer was an evangelist who was also “an eminent theologian.” – Wikipedia

Another book by Chafer on the deeper Christian life is He That is Spiritual.

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