Seated with Christ in Heavenly Realms

Thursday, 21 Feb 2019

Henk from Springs, Gauteng, South Africa writes,

In reference to your discussion of Psalm 24 on the Climbing Jacob’s Ladder episode, one of the panelists said that we follow the King of glory to ascend the mountain of the Lord. My understanding with special reference to the apostle Paul’s epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians is that we have already ascended the mountain of the Lord as believers in Christ. We are in heaven in Christ in the present tense. Can you comment on this?

Henk,

This is an important observation that you are bringing up. In Ephesians 2:6, Paul writes that God “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” The reason this is spoken of in the past tense is due to the fact that this already happened to Jesus, and everything that happened to him, can also be spoken of as a true reality for those who are “in Christ.” He has already taken his seat in heaven, and therefore, this is true of us if we’re in him. A good analogy here might be to think of a man who is crowned king. His coronation has implications, not only for the man himself, but also for his wife and all his future unborn children. So it is with all those who are united to Christ by faith. Now, if you continue with Paul’s comments to the very next verse (Eph. 2:7), the Apostle transitions from the past tense to the future, saying that, “…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we are not currently seated with Christ in an experiential sense, but this is something that will be revealed later, in the coming ages.

Paul covers similar ground in Colossians chapters 2-3, saying that, “When you were dead in your sins, God made you alive with Christ…Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col 2:13; 3:1). Christ, therefore, is the one who was made alive, who ascended into heaven, and who is seated above at the right hand of God, and we need to consider ourselves as seated with him, since we have been united to him by faith.

I hope this helps!

Shane Rosenthal
White Horse Inn

To submit questions related to our year-long series on The Gospel of John visit whitehorseinn.org/john.

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