4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Yesterday we looked at who we were without Christ (or are without Christ if you have not yet accepted His gift). Today, Paul is using that to exemplify the awesomeness of God’s love and mercy for us. Throughout Christ’s ministry on earth, He made mention of things such as “the first will be last and the last will be first.” This is what Paul is also talking about here.
It’s a perfect example of my pastor’s favorite phrase from the bible But God. Every time that phrase appears in the bible, it is in a comparison of the world and God’s awesome power, love, and mercy. Here we see that even though we were sinners, even though we completely turned our backs on Him, our Father and Creator, He loved us enough to not only forgive us, but also bring us to His table to eat with Him.
I want to focus for a bit on the words within the parenthesis in verse 5, by grace you have been saved. Grace isn’t earned; it is only given and received. So many times we get caught up in the worldly habits of working hard for something, earning a paycheck or gaining someone’s trust. Grace doesn’t fall into this category. It’s funny, we talk about “nothing in this world is free.” God’s grace is free. His forgiveness, however, had a price: Christ crucified. The love that provided that sacrifice, however, is free. Exactly like the love a parent (most parents) has for their child. If you were to take that love and make it perfect the realization would be God’s love for us.
I’ve said before that I struggle to understand those who don’t believe this. I have believed in Christ since I can remember, although I haven’t been very committed to following Him until the past few years. It is hard for me to understand why people prefer not to take this free gift that has eternal consequences. As a people, all we do is take and consume everything and anything we can. From food, to money, to time and gas. We are a people that consume everything. We try to stuff it all into our being (in one way or another without getting too philosophical). Yet we reject the very thing that fits perfectly.
The term heavenly places is interesting. I talked before about heaven and hell. Whether heaven is an actual location or a realization beyond our current understanding, the important thing is that it involves an even deeper relationship with our God. We refer to “the heavenlies” as a place above us, not just physically, but above our understanding. It’s something we will not fully comprehend until we are there. How do we get there though? In Christ Jesus. The funny thing is, if we say we believe just to get into heaven, it probably won’t happen because we don’t really believe. It goes back to the heart condition. It’s all about having a relationship with our God. I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to.
I’d like to believe that everyone in this world, in one fashion or another, does want a relationship with God. However, we feel unworthy, or that it isn’t possible, or that we aren’t meant to have a relationship with Him. The fact of the matter is that every creation is designed by the creator to have some sort of relationship with the creator. Just like an artist has a relationship with their artwork, so does our God have a relationship with us. He’s just waiting for us to be a part of it.
How’s your relationship with God today?