Below is a portion from the sermon I preached this week…I’ve been encouraged to blog my message, so I will break it up into a series of posts this week. I pray you will be edified by the Word of God.
God has ‘raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places…in Christ Jesus…’(Ephesians 2:6)
When God the Son took on human flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, one of the most beautiful aspects of the incarnation, is the fact that God the Son, was choosing to identify with his people. In ways, and honestly in a way, that is a bit of mystery to us…Jesus took on our identity, and gave his people his identity. I think that’s why we see Jesus telling us to ‘abide in him…’ and that he will ‘abide in us’. I think that’s what we see happening in the baptism of Jesus…I think that’s what we see happening as Jesus is lead into the wilderness…And I think (at least in part)that’s what Paul is getting at in Romans 6:3-8:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
I also think this is what Paul is getting at when he tells us that our life is ‘hidden with Christ in God”…in Colossians 3:3, and in verse 4 of Colossians 3, Paul says, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
So, Jesus, when he came to earth, he was identifying himself with his people.
Let me try and do a better job of explaining what I mean here…When Christ walked the earth, he lived the sinless life that we could not live. Christ, was perfectly righteous in the sight of God the Father, because we couldn’t be. When Christ went to the cross, he suffered the punishment for the sins of his people…and because of this…his people didn’t have to bear the punishment for their own sin…Christ did what we could not and what we cannot…And the beauty of it is…that because of Christ’s righteousness, because of his sinless life and obedience…because of Christ’s identifying with us, his people…we’ve been credited with this life and obedience.
When Christ went to the cross, he took on our sins…So all of our sin, was transferred to Christ. In a very real sense, our old selves died with Christ on the cross. Our sinfulness, our sins, died with Christ on the cross…
I think that’s what we see very plainly in the Romans 6 passage I quoted just a bit ago. And because our sin, our old selves, died with Christ on the cross…when Christ was made alive…when Christ was resurrected…we too were resurrected. When Christ was made alive, we were made alive…
And now, that’s what we see Paul getting at here in Ephesians 2:6…Our identity now as Christians is tied up in Christ. When Jesus was raised up and seated in the heavenly places…that’s where we as Christians, that’s where the church , the people of God are.
So, where were we? We were dead in our sins(Ephesians 2:1-3)…But now, our sins have been crucified with Christ on the cross…Our old selves are dead…Now, as Christ has been raised up, so too…we as Christians have been raised up. We’ve been seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places…
At one time our identities were wrapped up in the world…we chased after worldly pleasures…we followed after the spirit of the world…even after Satan himself…yet now…we are in Christ…we’ve been made new in Christ…we’ve been given a completely new identity.
Praise be to God for that…Amen?