Study of Ephesians Day 3: United in Christ
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV
What does it mean to be united with Christ?
We are united with Christ because of His love and mercy.
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are no longer slaves to sin but can be overcome by the power of God.
Yesterday we looked at the condition of our hearts before Jesus came and rescued us. When we were dead in our sins and transgressions, Jesus came to us. Just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, our dead hearts have been raised from the grave of our sins. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we get baptized. Our baptism shows us the beautiful picture of what happens in conversion as we are buried in the likeness of His death and raised to walk in the newness of life.
We have been crucified with Christ, and our sin has been put to death. (Romans 6:5-11 and Galatians 2:20) In these verses, Paul tell us that we have been made alive in Christ and raised with Him. Just as we were crucified with Christ, we are also presented with Him and seated with Him in the Heavenly realms. Wow, what does this mean? How can we be raised with Him if we are still on Earth? Paul is really trying to tell us that as a child of God, we are inseparable from Jesus. So although we are here on Earth, we are united by the one Who’s already reigning in heaven. So even though we face many trials and tribulations, we are sure that we are in Him, and He’s in us, and nothing can separate us from His love.
Paul assures us in Romans 8:25-39 NIV, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Friends, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Jesus’s blood seals us. It’s a one-time deal. But being united with Jesus changes the way we live. Why? Because our flesh was dead and through Jesus, we are made alive; therefore, we are called to live a life worthy of His calling. We can no longer give into our flesh desires; instead, we are to live a life worthy of His calling. Therefore, we are called to seek the Kingdom of God first and crucify our flesh daily. Is it easy? Absolutely not! But, when we put Jesus first and let Him lead us, the Holy Spirit will teach us and lead us to live a life worthy of God’s calling.
Beloved, Jesus paid the penalty. Sin put us in prison; it locked the door behind us. But then, Jesus came to bail us out to pay the fine. Friends, someone needed to die for our sins (past, present, and future). So, Jesus came and offered Himself as a living sacrifice. He paid the penalty of our death and set us free.
So, what will we do? Do we stay in prison even if we were set free, or do we accept the bail or remain in prison and bondage for the rest of our lives? I know I didn’t stay in that prison. I got Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and ran out. But being set free and forgiven is not a blank check to continue living the life I lived. My life needed to change.
I wish to tell you the change occurs overnight. But, no! Although my heart accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, I must yield daily to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to change and mold me to Jesus’ image. My pastor Joaquin always told us, “Our hearts are transformed when we accept Jesus in our heart, but the transformation of the mind requires time. It needs to allow the Holy Spirit to show us who we are in Christ, who He is, and how much He loves us.
So, friend, how does our knowledge that we have been united with Christ change how we live? Who do people see when they see you and interact with you? Do they see the old you, or do they see Jesus living His life through you?
Father, thank you for reminding me that you chose to save me no matter how messed up my life is. I am a new creation, and I’ve been saved by grace. Not because of anything I’ve done but because of what Jesus has done for me. Thank you for your unfailing love, grace, and mercy. Lord, continue to transform me so that others can see You living your life through me, Lord Jesus. In your name, I give all praise, amen!
Lucado, Max (2013). God Will Use This For Good. Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas Nelson, Inc.