—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.—Ephesians 2:6-7
In the first 10 verses of Ephesians 2, Paul’s primary focus is on our spiritual condition before Christ (death) and the means (by grace you have been saved) by which our spiritual condition is changed. The change from death to life is not simple or easy, nor is it natural. We know this: man cannot bring anything from death to life. We experience the opposite, and that is natural. From life to death is the daily experience that the obituary page proves to be true. But God (v. 4) does the unnatural and brings us from death to life. And this is all by grace (v. 8).
So why does Paul insert verses 6-7 between verse 5 and verses 8-9 as he continues on this theme of grace? What does he want us to see?
I think he wants us to be spellbound by, and in awe of, the immensity of the chasm between spiritual death and life that was brought about by grace. Paul is helping us build a category in our mind of the incredible reality that is true for those in Christ Jesus. We are (in one sense, already) and will be raised up and seated with Jesus…and we know where Jesus is. He is seated at the right hand of God, and is interceding for us (Romans 8:34) at this very moment. How can we wrap our minds around the reality that we will be seated next to the Creator of the Universe, who spoke all of creation into existence by a Word (Hebrews 1:2-3)? We will be next to the one who is high and lifted up, wrapped in the splendor of holiness, in majesty, strength, and beauty (Psalm 96:6, 9). It is simply too much for me to comprehend.
I remember being 14 and sitting in the back of our family’s station wagon on the way home from vacation. I didn’t want to be in the back. I wanted to be in the driver’s seat. I wanted to be in control of our vehicle. I remember thinking, Lord, please don’t come back until after I get my driver’s license. I was missing something big. My ultimate goal was driving. I obviously had missed an encounter with the God of splendor, majesty, strength, and beauty. I had no category for God’s immeasurable riches. Dear Christian, it will take all of eternity for God to show you His immeasurable riches of His grace.
We can all imagine a father bending over his child, pointing him to see something amazing. What does God want us to see? What does He want us to hear and experience? Himself and His immeasurable riches! We will not be B-O-R-E-D in heaven, because God is not a boring God, nor is anything He has created! His praiseworthy deeds will be unfolded to us throughout eternity. This will cause us to sing of His praises forever! (Psalm 75:9)
What are your thoughts about heaven? What do you think you’ll do there?
What did Paul mean when he said “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21)?
Why do our kids need to hear about the wonders of heaven? I would like to recommend a great resource for families, Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn and Linda Washington. Here’s what it says about heaven:
Predictable? Boring? Endless years of the same old, same old? No one would look forward to that! Well, I’ve got some good news for you…Heaven is not like that at all. No way!
Have you ever read any of the books about Peter Pan and wished you could live in a beautiful, magical place like Neverland—but without Captain Hook and all the mean pirates? Well, Heaven is a better place than Neverland any day. How do I know? From what the Bible says about it.
That why this book provides another view of Heaven: as a place worth thinking and talking and dreaming about. In fact, once you understand what the Bible really says about Heaven, you can’t help but look forward to living there!
Heaven for Kids (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2006), xxv-xxvi