This concept is impossible to understand for people who do not follow Jesus; it is difficult to grasp for many who do believe that Jesus is the Christ. But it is something that frees you from the past and releases you from the powers of the world. Verses 1-3 read,
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Paul says that before we were dead in the wrongs we lived in, we were followers of the prince of the power of the air whether we knew it or not. Who is the prince of the power of the air? It is Satan, he rules the world, he rules the spirits, and as this passage says, he rules the lost, the sons of disobedience. But he is not king because he is not sovereign over all. Remember from yesterday’s reading, only God our King of kings is sovereign over all. Satan cannot be called even an earthly king because his power is only what people give him. He is the prince of the power of the air and he will never be king. Jesus referred to Satan as the prince or ruler of this world when teaching his death and resurrection to the people. John 12:27-32 reads,
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
You see, Satan’s timeline was decided the moment Jesus was resurrected, though he still acts as ruler of the world and prince of the power of the air, he lost, his timeline began its decline and will end in his defeat (Revelation 20:1-3 and 7-10 ). His power is limited. But when it comes to believers, his power is nothing; he is not our prince, we have Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Lord, Jesus Christ as our Sovereign King forever and ever. But there was a time when we were slaves to the prince of this world, there was a time when we followed the course of this world with a timeline that bore the same decline as the enemy’s.
We were like everybody else, we lived for our passions, lived to satisfy our flesh and find happiness in the world. The world is naturally a hedonistic place, even those who do not consider themselves to be self-indulgent are seeking to be happy by some means. And we were like them once, we were blind to the power that ruled us. We were dead in sins, deaf to the truth, and blind to course of our lives, just like everybody else.
But, remember, God stepped in. He had chosen us and so He did not let us stay blind, deaf, and dead in slavery to the prince of the world. Verses 4-6 tell us,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
God is rich in mercy and His love for us is great! Great means abundant, deep, far surpassed, long, and plenteous. God doesn’t just love you, He has abundant deep, surpassing, long, and plenteous love for you. The word love, agaph, means love feast, the equivalent in Hebrew also translates to love feast and is akin to the love of a father for his child. He loves us so much that even though we were pleasure seeking sons of disobedience, He chose to make us alive together with Christ. He didn’t give us life and expect us to somehow go at it alone. He united us with Christ, He saved us. We were sinners, we didn’t deserve it, we didn’t do a thing to earn it. God is abounding in mercy and saved us by His grace. That in itself is awesome! But in addition to rescuing us from slavery to Satan, he made us alive together with Christ, and He raised us up with Christ. We are raised up with Christ, not only in His Resurrection, but actually seated with Him in the heavenly places!
Remember from Ephesians 1 when the Holy Spirit resurrected Jesus, He “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21). Believer, you and I are seated there with Him! We are no longer dead under the power of the prince of the power of the air; we are alive with Christ and above the prince of the power of the air. He has no power over us. In fact, if you remember yesterday’s devotional, you will recall that you have power and authority over him.
We are seated in the heavenly places with Jesus. We are above the circumstances of the world. We live here on this earth, in the world and yet we are not of the world, we are citizens of Heaven, we are there, perfected already. But on our current timeline, we still exist, live, and walk on the earth. We are surrounded by the brokenness, the circumstances, and the walking dead. Why? Jesus loves them too and He is allowing you to take part with Him in bringing His chosen to Him so they too can be raised to new life and freed from the bondage to which they are ignorant. Why? So we can glorify the Lord. So we can be made more like Him. When Jesus prayed for us before His crucifixion, He said,
And all of them, since they are mine, belong to you; and you have given them back to me with everything else of yours, and so they are my glory! 11 Now I am leaving the world, and leaving them behind, and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your own care—all those you have given me—so that they will be united just as we are, with none missing. 12 During my time here I have kept safe within your family all of these you gave me. I guarded them so that not one perished, except the son of hell, as the Scriptures foretold.
13 “And now I am coming to you. I have told them many things while I was with them so that they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your commands. And the world hates them because they don’t fit in with it, just as I don’t. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from Satan’s power. 16 They are not part of this world any more than I am. 17 Make them pure and holy through teaching them your words of truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world, 19 and I consecrate myself to meet their need for growth in truth and holiness. (John 17:10-19 TLB).
We are in two places at once, in the world, yet not of the world, and seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. God loves us deeply and He is rich in mercy and wants to bless us. Verses 7-9 of Ephesians 2 continue to tell us why we do not just stop living in the world when we’re saved.
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
God’s kindness, His grace and mercy, they are what lead people to repentance, to answer God’s call and be saved (Romans 2:4). As you are sanctified, as you live and people see how good God is to you, how He carries you through all circumstances, how merciful He is to you, and how through Him you are merciful to them, they are led to Christ. They are able to hear the Gospel and see it lived out in your life all because God is so good and shows you the immeasurable, incalculable, immense, and infinite riches of His grace in kindness toward you.
Be real, don’t try to live as if you’re perfect, never tempted, never making a mistake. How can people see God’s kindness revealed in a perfect person? Live truthfully, showing that you are sanctified, that you are evermore like Jesus each day because of God’s great love and not because you are doing a program to be a better person or doing good things, or trying really hard to be good. You are saved because of God not because you are following the law or being a good Christian. It is His grace 100%, not anything you do or have done. That way you can’t tell anyone that you are saved because you’re good when no one can be good enough to be saved. You can’t brag about how you deserve the good life you lead, the wonderful things you’ve been given, or the person you have become. It is all God and none of your endeavors.
Verse 10 continues,
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Your timeline began before the foundations of the world, when God decided to create you. He decided very specifically to create you, not just another member of the human race, but you. You are His workmanship, knit together in precise and detailed manner to be who you are. And He made you so that you could do good things. God worked on you, His good work, so that you could do good works. You don’t them to earn salvation, you do them because you are saved, because you are seated with Christ and He does good works. It is only natural that in your new life, new identity, and new position that you would be like Christ and do those wonderful things that show you belong to Christ and He is good rich in mercy and great in love.