But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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 coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)
We’ve recently learned that the human race is totally depraved and born spiritually dead [Ephesians 2:1-3]. Yesterday we read that God, in complete contrast to our sinfulness, rescued us from eternal death (separation from Him for all eternity) because of His immense love for us. Today we read what is the result of that rescue.
But before we go on we need to remind ourselves who the “us” is that Paul is referring to. When studying the Bible (and the Bible should be studied, not just read) we need to understand the context of what the author is saying. We can’t simply read a verse in isolation and apply it to our lives because it may not have been intended for us or our current situation.
Paul wrote this letter (and all his letters) to people who believed in Jesus Christ. These people acknowledged their sinfulness, repented of their sins and believed that Jesus took on the penalty of those sins so that they now had right standing before God. They were, in Jesus’ words ‘born-again’ [John 3:3]. Therefore these words that Paul wrote apply only to such people. The audience for these promises are born-again believers who are God’s children [John 1:12].
So as a result of God making us alive, we are now seated with Christ in heaven. Obviously we are not yet physically in heaven but our citizenship is in heaven [Philippians 3:20]. We continue to sojourn on earth, but earth is not our home. Someday we will leave this planet and go to our new home. This is important to understand because too many people think that everyone (or just about everyone) goes to heaven. This is not true. Only those who have accepted God’s offer to join His family will go there. We are “in Christ Jesus” who is the only way to heaven [John 14:6].
Heaven is eternal. While there God will continue to “show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness towards us”. Isn’t that great? God’s grace isn’t only for earth. We will experience His grace for all eternity. And His riches will never run out. For all of eternity God will shower us with kindness, love, security and all kinds of great things.
In fact, this is the reason God created us in the first place. It is also the reason that He sent His son to earth to die on a cross to pay for our sinfulness. God is a giver [Psalm 85:12; John 3:16,1 Corinthians 15:57, James 1:5 et.al]. He loves to give good things to His children. And those who are His children will receive His blessings for all eternity.
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