But God … made us alive together with Christ … and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places Ephesians 2:4-6
We last left mankind, dead in his trespasses and sins; but despite this, God, because of His rich mercy and the great love with which he loved us, does three things: He 1) makes us alive, 2) raised us up, and 3) enthroned us with Christ. These are the spiritual counterparts of Christ’s own quickening, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. As Paul speaks of our experience with Christ, he does not mean to suggest that we experience the exact same thing that Christ did, but that our new life is made possible by Christ’s resurrection and our union with Him – the believer shares in what God has done for Christ. This is a truth almost too glorious to believe!
Each of the three principle verbs, made alive, raised and seated, are compound verbs beginning with the Greek prefix, ‘soon’ – meaning together with. These verbs are single Greek verbs meaning, “made-alive-together-with,” “raised-together-with,” and “made-to-sit-together-with.” Each of these verbs are in the aorist form, so they speak of a living reality, secured in the past. Paul does not speak of these in terms of future blessings; he affirms that though we were dead, our resurrection and exaltation with Christ are not merely potentially secured and reserved for future enjoyment, but are for our pleasure and satisfaction in the here and now. Paul’s goal in telling us this is not merely that we might know this doctrinally or theologically, but in truth and life.
On the surface it might appear that these three main verbs all describe the same experience, but in fact, just as Jesus’ quickening in the tomb, and subsequent resurrected life and ascension were three distinct actions, likewise we are not only made alive, but raised and enthroned with Him as well. We not only are quickened to life, but there follows a resurrected life. Upon being quickened, we do not continue to live in our graves bound in grave clothes, but are resurrected to a life among the living – and then beyond that a heavenly life – seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
Just as the spiritual death described in verse 1 is real and personal, so the life described herein is not some theological abstraction, but is as real a blessing, as our spiritual death was in actuality, a curse. The life given corresponds to the death described, so as the death described is spiritual, so the life is as well. So when Christ was raised from the dead, all of His people were in actuality, spiritually quickened and raised as well – we know this by faith, not by sight, but it is no less genuine an experience.
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