But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … (verses 4-6)
These verses flow out of the expansive reservoir of the love, mercy, and grace of God himself. What overflows on us (and in us) is “because of his great love” (verse 4) and because he is “rich in mercy” (verse 4) and because of “grace” (verse 5), all his. Wow. This is no meager supply. This flows from the infinite resources of Almighty God!
The effect in our lives is captured in three compound words Paul has crafted to give
expression to the riches that overflow for us. Each of these words begins with the same little Greek prefix “sun” – in English it means “with.” There are other grammatical ways to communicate “with”, but the effect of adding the prefix into the word itself is to intensify it, yielding the meaning “together with.” In each case it taps into the rich reality of our identity “in Christ.”
He “made us alive (together) with Christ” (verse 5). Imagine Jesus, wrapped in burial clothes, lying dead on the cold stone slab in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. In that place, God intervened decisively with resurrection power, not just resuscitating him temporarily, but making him alive forevermore, with life that will never end, never be diminished, never falter. That’s the reality that has been worked in our inner being – we have been caught up together with Jesus himself in this resurrection life. Powerful.
Further, “God raised us up (together) with Christ” (verse 6). Jesus, made alive, burst forth from the grave. Matthew tells us there was a violent earthquake and an angel – whose appearance was like lightning, so powerful that the guards at the tomb were drop-dead terrified – came and rolled back the stone. These were the outward signs of Jesus’ rising. Again, what power. This compound word in Ephesians tells us that we are fully embraced in this electrifying dynamic.
Further, he “seated us (together) with him in the heavenly realms” (verse 6). The ascension caught the disciples completely off-guard as Jesus rose into the air before their very eyes, disappearing into a cloud. It was a stunning visual expression of Jesus entering into his rightful exalted place with the Father in the glory of heaven. He is now seated there, settled in that position of power, dominion, authority and might. Embraced in Christ, together with him, our new reality (beyond anything we can presently see) is that we ourselves are seated there, too. It is a position of privilege (“blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” – Ephesians 1:3) and access and hope. Get your mind around that one!
All of this comes from the overflow of God’s love and mercy and grace. We are caught up together with Christ. What joy.
Father, praise your name for the greatness of your love, the riches of your mercy, and the wonder of your grace.
Lord Jesus, thank you for entering into our experience so that we might be fully embraced in yours – made alive, raised up, seated in the heavenly realms. All of it “together with” you.
Holy Spirit, expand my mind and heart to fully embrace these realities. Cause me to comprehend, more and more, what is otherwise beyond comprehension.
Reflect: Take each of these compound words – “made alive together with,” “raised up together with,” “seated together with” – and run them over in your mind again and again throughout the day. Give thanks each time for the guaranteed reality.