It’s one thing to talk about the gospel, it’s another thing to walk in the gospel, to stand in grace, to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus right where you are today, now.
For those who are in Christ, these things are true whether we realize it or not, but there is a marked difference between seeing and understanding these realities and not.
Paul begins the book of Ephesians blessing God for all the glory and grace we have been loaded down with in the gospel, but this praise transitions into a prayer that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 1:17-20, my emphasis)
Paul knows that it is easy not to see what is true. It is easy not to know what is the hope of our calling, the riches of the saints, the greatness of His power working in us – the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the Father’s right hand.
In the midst of the trenches of parenting, family tension, health crises, financial instability, heartbreaking loss, the plodding of daily tasks and routines, what do the eyes of your heart see? The beginning of Paul’s prayer summarizes the whole vision as centered on the revelation of the knowledge of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation gives us knowledge of Him and all that we have in Him. If we know Him, if we see Him, we see the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance in the saints, the greatness of His power working in us who believe — such that we are already raised and seated in heavenly places in and with Him (Eph. 2:6).
What is that power? It’s the power of the resurrection of Jesus now. And what is that exactly? It’s the power of God’s righteousness, His justice. But how does that work? In other words, how did Jesus rise? “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24). So this is the deal. The only power that death has is the power of condemnation, guilt for sin. Therefore, when the saints rise in glory, we will rise because it will not be possible for us to be held by death any more because we are innocent, because our sins are washed away. But Paul says that this power is already at work in those who believe. And this is what he prays we will have eyes to see — eyes to see that sin and death have no power over us now, today.
But how is that possible? We still sin. You can see the scars and bruises and craters of sin all around you. You can feel the impulses of sin still writhing inside of you. And this is precisely why it is so hard to see, so hard to believe. But what did Jesus do? He died for that sin. He was crushed for that sin — the very sin that screams in your head, the sin that aches, the sin that plagues your home, your marriage, your workplace, your classroom, your heart and mind. Jesus was betrayed, mocked, scourged, condemned, rejected and bled out for that sin. So like the martyrs in Revelation, we fight and overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by our testimony (Rev. 12:11). And what is that? How do you fight like that? It is the simple, defiant cry of faith that says, Jesus died for this! He died for this bad attitude, this complaining spirit, this angry outburst, this lazy cowardice, this lustful malaise, these rebellious words, these disobedient thoughts, these evil actions, this ugly mess. The Lamb was slain for this, for me. We point at the blood over our doors, and that is our testimony — our only testimony. And the angel of death passes over. Death has no power where the blood of Christ is spread, where sin has been paid for, confessed, and forgiven.
There is an enormous difference between parenting on your own and parenting in the power of the resurrection. There is an enormous difference between going to work on your own and going to work in the knowledge of Him who was raised from the dead. It is one thing to know certain facts on a page; it is another thing entirely to see Jesus, to know His grace for you, and to stand confident in that grace, to sit with Him in the heavenly places, reigning with Him over the dishes, the laundry, the committee meetings, the children, your marriage, your homework, your future, sin, unbelief, even death. So ask God for these eyes to see, eyes to see the power of the resurrection today. Confess your sins, get clean in the blood of Christ, and walk in new obedience like a rock star, like you’re already clean and justified and seated in heavenly places.
Because in Jesus you are.
[Note: Yes, for old/regular readers, this post might sound familiar. I’m going through some of my archives, editing, updating, revising, and reposting some previous posts that apply the gospel to everyday life.]