Past, Present, and Future
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Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:5-7)
God lives in the glory of timeless eternity, but His work touches your life in the here and now, in the present day. In this brief and glorious passage from Ephesians, the Apostle Paul touched on God’s work in our life – in the past, in the present, and in the future.
In the PAST, we have been made alive together with Christ. Jesus shared in our death so that we could share in His resurrection life. The old self was crucified with Jesus at the cross, and now we are new creations in Jesus with the old things passing away and all things becoming new (2 Corinthians 5:17). But Paul was compelled to remind us of something else, that this is the work of God’s grace (by grace you have been saved), in no way connected with what we might earn or deserve. Our salvation (rescue) from spiritual death is God’s work done for the undeserving.
In the PRESENT, we sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We have a new place for living, a new arena of existence – we are not “those who dwell on the earth” (as the book of Revelation often calls those separated from God), but our “citizenship is in heaven” (as in Philippians 3:20). Notice that Paul did not say that we sit in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus – that will happen one day, when we are resurrected. Rather, we sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Since our life and identity is in Jesus Christ, then so as He sits in heavenly places, so do we.
In the FUTURE, God will continue to show the exceeding riches of His grace to us. God will never stop dealing with us based on grace, but He will forever continue to unfold its riches to us through eternity. This is not a crazy, hopeful wish; it is the sure promise of a faithful God. You can count on it.
All of this is a heritage that those who are in Christ Jesus can cling to. This is God’s work done for His believing people, and in Jesus we should lay claim to it. This is for you in your Messiah and Savior, Jesus Christ:
– In Jesus, we can live free from the guilt and pain of the past.
– In Jesus, we can live with surpassing power for the present.
– In Jesus, we can live with a secure hope for the future.
How many of the anxieties of your day would simply pass away if, right now, you took hold of what God has promised for your past, present, and future?
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