Christians often tend to think down. We think small, not getting much beyond the daily stuff of life. God, however, desires that we think up and think big. He desires that our vision be raised and expanded by his Word. Consider Ephesians 2:5-6. In these short verses he graciously tells us the vast wonder of what it means to be a Christian. In “rich mercy” and “great love” having “made us alive with Christ,” God “has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
The words “with” and “in” in these verses stress the intimate union between Christ the ascended King of glory and the Christian. Paul, by the Spirit declares that what God has so powerfully and amazingly done in Jesus Christ’s resurrection and ascension, He has done to and for you as a Christian. To grasp the full impact of what it means to be raised and seated with Christ consider Ephesians 1:17-23. There we read that
God…the Father of glory… raised Christ, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet.
Jesus Christ is the King of kings, resurrected from the dead, ascended to heavenly glory, seated on the throne of God in heaven itself. The book of Revelation gives a powerful expression of our ascended Lord in the vision given to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos. On that barren and lonely island, as a prisoner for his faith in Christ, John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, heard the voice of the trumpet and turning saw His glorified Lord in power and majesty, and then was lifted up by the Spirit and given a view of the very throne room of God in heaven itself in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Those passages of God’s Word reveal to us our Lord Jesus’ ascension to and reigning in heavenly glory.
Keep that in mind and consider this: in Ephesians 2 God by His Word tells us that not only have we been made alive together with our Lord Jesus, but we have also been raised with Him, and have been seated with Him in the heavenly places. If you’re reading this as a Christian you belong there as well, and you are there as you are “in” or “united” to Jesus Christ by faith. That means that now already, not only is your redemption, your salvation complete and victorious in Christ, but you also reign with Him!
We know from Scripture and our own reality that this is not yet fulfilled for us in its most complete fullness, but as one writer puts it “we are already in the suburbs of the heavenly city.” We are no longer citizens of this rebel world, willingly under the dominion of Satan. We are no longer under the power of wills bent to sin, no longer spiritually dead. Instead we have been redeemed, we have received new life, we belong to the kingdom of God, we are united to Christ; as Christians we are already in principle a citizen of the glories of heaven itself, part of the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), the children of God, heirs with Christ belonging in the very presence of God himself.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it this way:
We are come to Mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…. that is where we are — the heavenly Jerusalem. We are in the heavenlies with this innumerable company of angels; we cannot see them, but they are there, we are in that realm, we are seated there with Christ. That is where you have come [where you are as a Christian!] realise it and live accordingly…. Do you know God?…. Are you enjoying fellowship with Him?…. You should if you are in the heavenlies. Realise your position and live accordingly.
Think up. Think big. Think biblically.