But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-6
There is an evident contrast here with the preceding verses of this chapter.
At the beginning of this chapter the apostle had purposed a different construction: “And you,” he wrote, and, no doubt, intended to continue at once: “hath he quickened together with Christ.” Of Christ, and of God’s exceeding great power of salvation revealed and wrought in Him as He raised Him from the dead, and exalted Him far above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, of this glorious Head of the Church he had written in the preceding chapter. And now he was about to describe the riches of salvation the Church has in that Christ: “and you”. . . .
But as he thinks of that exceeding great mercy of God whereby He quickened believers, he cannot but divert his thoughts to the depth of misery from which they have been delivered.
O, it is, indeed, a great love, a marvellous grace that quickened us with Christ.
And to measure at all the greatness of that mercy we must remember where we were when it found us, in what depths of misery we had been submerged when it began to draw us up on high. And you. . . .who were dead through trespasses and sins! Such was our condition. And in these trespasses and sins, in the sphere of them, having our delight in them, we walked: we thought and desired and planned and willed and spoke and acted; quite according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. And having our conversation among these children of disobedience, we walked according to the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling its desires: enmity against God; and thus we were children of wrath, none better than “the others”!
Quite worthless we were, or rather, worthy of damnation.
Desperate was our condition.
There was no ray of hope, as far as we were concerned; nor did we even look for one!
And you. . . .
Quickened, made alive!
He hath quickened us. . . .together with Christ!
He hath raised us up together, and He hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ!
O, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
The three terms belong together, are intimately related: quickened, raised up, made us sit in heavenly places!
We were dead, and He hath quickened us, made us alive. In the same sense in which we were dead, we are now living. Dead we were in trespasses and sins and unto righteousness; alive we are now against sin and unto righteousness. Dead we were so that all our thinking and willing and desiring were motivated by enmity against God; dead in darkness and unto light; alive we are now so that we mind the things of the Spirit in the love of God.
Yes, but the new life whereby He quickened us is not a return to the old life, only delivered from the dominion of sin. It is resurrection life. For He hath raised us up together with Christ. And the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is no return to our earthly, mortal existence, but an advance into immortality, the state in which death hath no more dominion over Him, the life of perfect freedom that can be enslaved nevermore. It is the life incorruptible, powerful, glorious, as far above the life which Adam knew in his original state of integrity as heaven is above the earth, victorious, eternal life, life that can never die! And to be raised up together in Christ signifies that we become partakers of that resurrection life of Him Who is the Head of the body, the Church!
Hopelessly dead in sin; quickened unto eternal life!
By the exceeding great power of God Christ was set at the right hand of the Most High in heavenly places. He is exalted. He reigns. He has all power in heaven and on earth. And when God quickened us together with Him, and raised us up together with Christ, He also exalted us with our Lord and Head, so that we are with Him in those heavenly places, partake of His heavenly glory and mighty dominion!
Quickened unto righteousness, raised unto immortal glory, exalted unto victorious dominion!
All with Christ, in Him!
He is the ground of it. For we are by nature children of wrath that are worthy of eternal death. But He is the incarnated Son of God, Who laid down His life for us, and by this voluntary sacrifice of love obtained for us the forgiveness of sin, eternal righteousness and life.
Through His obedience unto the death of the cross, death forever lost the right to have dominion over us!
And He is the principle of it!
For He was raised as the firstborn of the dead, preparing the way for all His brethren.
And He was made the quickening Spirit.
As such He is the Head of the body, the church, that through Him the whole body may be quickened!
And in Him and with Him they live forever!
He hath quickened us!
And He hath raised us up together with Him, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ!
The quickening and resurrection and exaltation of believers with their Lord Jesus Christ is presented here as an accomplished fact.
Partly, this fact is an object of our faith.
We lay hold of it, so that we can appropriate the language of the Word of God here as our own, by that faith which is an evidence of things unseen, the substance of things hoped for.
For surely, it does not yet belong to the things that are perceived that we are quickened together with Christ, that we are partakers of His glorious resurrection life, and that we reign with Him in heavenly places. We are as yet on the earth, not in heaven. And we are earthy, not heavenly. And we are not glorious, but full of troubles and afflictions; not victorious, but often utterly defeated; not reigning in power, but oppressed by the enemy. And we still lie in the midst of death, bearing about with us the body of this death, mortal, corruptible, weak, and in dishonor. Nor is it true, according to all appearances, that we are delivered from sin’s power. For, while we have a delight in the law of God according to inner man, we find another law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin. . . .
O, wretched men that we are!
Yes, but from this depth of shame and misery, from this darkness of death in the midst of which we lie, we rise victoriously by faith! We look upon our crucified Lord, Who shed His lifeblood for our sins, and laid His life on the altar of perfect love before the face of God for our transgressions, Whom God raised from the dead, and in Whose exaltation to the right hand of power in heaven God revealed His exceeding great power; and we believe that God hath quickened us with Him, hath raised us up together, and made us to sit in heavenly places together in Him!
By faith we know that this glorification with Him is very really an accomplished fact.
For by faith we know that we are in Him, that He is the Head and we are the members of His body. We are in Him by an act of God’s sovereign mercy, for He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. In God’s eternal and immutable counsel He and we are inseparably united, so that He is responsible for us, His work is imputed to us, what He does we do, what is done to Him is done to us. With Him we are united in His death, so that when He died we died; with Him we are united in His resurrection, so that when He was raised we were raised; with Him we were united when from the mount of Olives He ascended into highest glory, so that we were taken up in Him!
When Christ was raised, the body was quickened, raised up together with Him; when He was made to sit in heavenly places, the body was exalted together with Him, because it is forever in Him!
And by faith in Him we lay hold upon the accomplished fact of our being quickened and glorified with Him!
Partly, too, O, very much in part, but, nevertheless, very really, this quickening with Christ is a fact of our present experience. There are, indeed, those that would deny this. According to them, the Word of God here and in other, similar passages speaks only ideally. Christ alone is quickened, raised, exalted; and of us this can be said only in as far as ideally we belong to Him, and lay hold upon Him and all His benefits by faith. The realization of this glory and life is all to come in the future. But, surely, we are also now quickened with Him, raised from the dead, exalted with Him in heavenly places. If it were not so, He would be a Stranger to us, and never could we even lay hold on Him by faith.
He dwells in us by His Spirit.
By that Spirit He quickened us, and instilled within our hearts the beginning of His resurrection life! Principally, we are very really dead to sin and alive unto righteousness. And our life is hid with Christ in God, so that we seek the things that are above. New creatures we are. We reign with Christ even in the midst of defeat. Old things have passed away, all things are become new!
Partly, this accomplished fact is still an object of hope!
For the complete realization of all this glory, the full manifestation of it, cannot come until He shall be manifested in glory and we shall be revealed with Him at His coming. For, even though, nay, because of the very fact that we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we now groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body!
For we are saved in hope!
But hope that is seen is not hope! For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it in patience!
For what is now true only in principle shall be fully realized when He comes!
We are quickened and we shall be quickened!
We are raised and we shall be raised together with him!
And our still unseen sitting with Him in heavenly places shall then be openly and universally manifest!
Death shall be completely swallowed up in life!
For ever and ever!
For of His great love wherewith He loved us all this glory is the revelation and realization!
He loved me, I know not why. . . .
Or rather: He loved me, and I know that it was not for any goodness or excellency that I possessed of myself, or as a response to the love wherewith I loved Him; but only for His own name’s sake. The reason, the ground, the motive of this wondrous love, which I can never fathom is purely divine; it is hid in the depth of the divine heart; it is sovereign; it is free; it is eternal. . . .
By grace I am saved!
By grace He elected me, knew me with a divine love, whereby I was wonderfully engraven in the palms of His hands. By grace He united me with Christ, His only begotten Son, By grace He beheld me in Christ, eternally, before the foundation of the world, justified, glorified, transformed according to the image of His Son, a proper object of His great love!
And for that love He blessed me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
O, let us not overlook the beauty of this expression: for His great love! It does not mean the same thing as through His great love, or by His great love, or out of His great love; but it means on account of His great love wherewith He loved us! That love was the divine cause, hid in the unfathomable depths of the divine heart of God, of His act of quickening us with Christ, of raising us up together, and making us to sit in heavenly places together with and in Christ! That love was there. It was there eternally! It was there, in the heart of God, immutably. And it was great! A mighty, an unquenchable fire of love it is! It is eternally active. And, though this expression is far too human and too weak, we may say that this great love must be satisfied! God seeks and realizes the satisfaction of His own love in us!
O, marvellous, incomprehensible love!
For that love, on account of it, to satisfy it fully, He quickened us, He raised us up, He made us to sit together in heavenly places with Christ!
O, yes, that eternal love is the ultimate reason and cause of all!
It is the fountain, too, of the riches of His mercy!
For God is rich in mercy! He is blessed Himself, the infinite fulness of blessing. And He wills to make us blessed, too; blessed as He is blessed, in the sphere of perfect holiness. That will and strong desire to make us blessed with Him in His mercy. It reveals itself to us as great. For we were in the depths of misery and death, children of wrath, enemies of God, hateful and hating one another. But His love is immutable, and His mercy never faileth, and He drew us out of the depth of darkness and death into the glory of eternal light and life!
Riches of mercy!
Revelation of that great love wherewith He loved us!
The greatness of which was manifested in the death of His Son!
And the power of which is realized in our being quickened together with Him!
O, my God!