From the Tomb to the Throne

In the first chapter of Ephesians we are taught that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." (Eph. 1:3) Here we learn the source, nature and sphere of our blessings. They are from God, and are spiritual and heavenly, and are thus vastly different from the physical and earthly blessings of the nation of Israel.

These Scriptures also teach us that we were selected by the Father, saved by the Son, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. (1:4-14) In addition, God has also made known to us the mystery of His will, "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth...." (1:10) How important it is for us to know and remember that all of God's purposes are centered in His Son. How often we have the idea that man is the center of His divine purposes. However, His Son, our Savior, is the center of the Father's purposes and we are blessed in association with Him. (Rom. 8:29)

In the latter portion of the first chapter we have Paul's prayer for the saints. Paul did not pray that God would give the saints something they did not have. Rather, he prayed that God would give them an understanding of what they already had. So great were their blessings in Christ that Paul must pray that God would open their understanding, in order that they might know, or grasp, the hope of His calling-that's their portion-and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints-that's Christ's portion-and the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe-the same power that He demonstrated in raising Christ from the dead and setting Him at His own right hand in heavenly places.

The subject of God's power continues into the second chapter of this epistle. The same power of God that was demonstrated in raising Christ from the dead is seen operating in those who are associated with, and blessed in Christ Jesus.

The amazing grace of God is set forth so clearly here. Those who are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ are those who were formerly dead in trespasses and sins. Lost souls who were under the dominion of the prince of the power of the air, and walked accordingly. Those who fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind. (2:1-3)

After describing the helpless estate of mankind, Paul brings in the power and grace of God. God has quickened, or made alive with Christ those who were dead. In addition, He has raised us up and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ. (2:4-6)

(Notice that "quickening," not "new birth," is the need of those who are dead. New birth is necessary because the flesh is corrupt. (John 3:6; 1 Pet. 1:23-24] Man obtains a new nature by way of new birth, and he obtains life by way of quickening.)

Think of it! Those who were hopelessly dead in their sins, God's power and grace have lifted from the tomb to the throne in Christ Jesus. They will be trophies of grace in the ages to come (2:7)- "for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." ( 2:8)

While we are not saved by good works, we are saved unto good works, and are to walk in them. (2:10) They are to characterized the believer's life. Not just a good work here and there, but a way of life.

Now this wonderful truth of God's power and grace is not simply to occupy our minds, but to motivate our hearts as well. Paul was motivated by the grace of God, for he fully understood that he was only what he was by the grace of God. (I Cor. 15:10) How about us? How much do we appreciate what God's power and grace has accomplished in our lives. How much have we entered into our spiritual blessings by faith. Like Joshua and the children of Israel we will find conflict when we attempt to occupy the land of our spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, but we too can gain the victory by faith.

Paul exhorts us to be heavenly minded and to set our affections on things above. (Col. 3:1-4) How easy it is to become occupied with the things of earth. How easy it is to put all our effort into accumulating things on earth that are temporary when we already have eternal blessings that are ours to enjoy.

The story is told of a man who sent his servants around the world in search of art treasures only to discover he already owned them. So it is with many saints. We know so little of what we already have in Christ, and often go searching in the world for that which does not satisfy. We would do well to pray as Paul prayed, asking the Lord to reveal to us what we already have in Christ.