Seated with Christ in the Heavenly Realms
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)
Many people misinterpret the meaning of this passage in Ephesians that talks about us being seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realms, thinking that Paul was describing the future situation of Christians. In fact, Paul was proclaiming through God’s perspective a glorious consequence. That is, by faith, God’s children have united with Jesus Christ and enjoy in our triumphant Lord a host of spiritual realities that come from Him, including being seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus who was resurrected from death and rose to heaven. We accepted Christ’s grace of salvation through faith. Not only do we experience death, burial and resurrection together with Him, God has permitted us, who have faith as our foundation, to be brought up to heaven and be seated there with Him. The words “raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms” in the original Greek were written in aorist active voice indicative mood form, and are a proclamation to us by God.
There are at least the following indications to Jesus Christ being seated right now in heaven: (1) He has completed the work related to salvation and is now sitting at rest (Hebrews 1:3). (2) The Father has exalted Christ to sit as King on the heavenly throne and to enjoy the glory of victory. The Devil lies at His feet in defeat (Acts 5:31, 2:33-34). (3) He sits to await the Father sending Him back to judge the world (Acts 17:31, John 5:19-27). It appears then that we who are united with Christ are seen by God just as He sees His Son - we are seated with the Lord in heaven to enjoy the rest brought by the Lord’s salvation (Matthew 11:28-19), to experience the triumph of Christ (Revelations 12:11), and to wait for the glory of the Lord’s return (Titus 2:13). Although our bodies now live on earth, from God’s perspective, we who believe in the Lord’s name and have been saved are already perceived by Him as having experienced all of the above blessings in His Beloved Son. “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
Since we have already received the heavenly status granted by our Father, we do not just have standing as the children of God, but we also possess a spiritual reality, and that is ruling as kings together with the Lord. So we should use the perspective of God and a heavenly point of view to look at our lives on earth from today onwards, applying the standard and will of God to measure all that we experience in the world. In this way, the attitudes of our lives will be different.
This writer often says, “The decisions of our past affect the circumstances of our present. As well, the decisions of our present will affect the circumstances of our future.” We are living souls and our present bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). One day, our bodies will weaken and be corrupt. Then our spirits will return to the God who bestowed them. If so, we must take hold of opportunities now and our limited lifespan, and strive with all of our might to obey the will of God and work for eternal matters because of the inspiration of God’s great love.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)