Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Beneath Us

“But God…hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 4, 6

         The last four verses of chapter one of Ephesians tell us exactly where Jesus Christ is right now: at the right hand of God in “heavenly places...above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion…” This is as it should be. On the other hand, you and I, as Blood-bought children of God, are there too. This is the grace of God. When God raised Jesus from the dead (1:20), He “raised us up together” with Him (2:6). We may not be there bodily, but we’re there literally. This is not a contradiction. The verses in chapter one about Christ are more about His position of power than His seating arrangement. Because of where He is, verse twenty-one says, all things are “under his feet.” This is a given, wouldn’t you say? Are you beginning to get the picture now, as far as you and I are concerned? We are “in Christ Jesus,” so we, too, are in a position of power. With that in mind, may I point out just two things that are beneath us?

SATAN: If you flip over a few pages in Ephesians to the last chapter, you’ll see that our greatest battles are fought against him and his minions “in high places.” If we had to fight him from where we walk daily, we’d be at great disadvantage. Everyone knows those who hold the high ground have the more favored position over someone fighting an uphill battle. Ah, but “heavenly places” trump “high places” every time! In point of fact, we’re out of his reach, unless God wills otherwise (Job). So when we succumb to his attacks, we can be sure we have not taken advantage of our advantage. And it’s beneath us.

SIN: “For sin shall not have dominion over you…” (Rom 6: 14) There are fewer things more intimidating and daunting than the temptation to sin. As the saying goes, “I can resist anything but temptation.” And the fact that it can come camouflaged as something so seemingly minimal as a lapse in intercessory prayer (1 Sam. 12:23) only makes it harder to overcome. However, when we see sin for the Christ-killing thing it is, and our spiritual sensibilities make us long to draw away, we can feel overwhelmed by its sheer force. But this verse says, though it will always be a part of our lives (1 Jno. 1:8), it need not have dominion over us. When we yield to its demands, it’s not because we’re ill equipped to meet them; it’s because we’ve temporarily left the high ground, and we are dealing with them on equal footing. That, my friend, is a losing battle, and one we need not fight. It’s beneath us.

         In one of the Mary Poppins stories, she and the children make a day trip to visit her uncle Albert, whose one idiosyncrasy is that when he thinks of something truly funny and laughs heartily, he floats to the ceiling, and remains there until he can think of something truly sad. As you probably remember, Mary, the children, and Bert, the chimney sweep all end up on the ceiling; and it’s not until they realize their visit must come to an end that they all slowly float back down to the ground. It’s a thing of mindset—happy or sad.

You and I, as believers, have “floated to the ceiling,” so to speak. We’re “seated in heavenly places.” But unlike the people in the story, nothing can ever make us “float back down.” Our place in the Kingdom of God is reserved forever. But we can allow our mindset to keep us “grounded” in a bad way, in our Christian lives. That’s what Romans six, seven, and eight are all about. We’re far above the likes of Satan and sin. They’re both beneath us—literally—and the sooner we believe that and take advantage of our position in Christ, the sooner we’ll begin to resemble the conquerors we truly are in Him.

We’ve got the high ground; let’s use it!

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