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A New Vantage Point

Evening and Morning

Have you ever noticed the creation account in Genesis?  It was on my mind the other day and something stood out to me as I read it.  On each day, after God had created something and saw it to be good, it reads, “And there was evening and there was morning…” one day, a second day, etc., (NASB Genesis 1:5b, 1:8b).  Evening and morning.  It stood out to me that it doesn’t read, “And there was morning and there was evening…”

This caused me to think about the crucifixion account as well.  When Christ was crucified, on the day before the Sabbath as evening was approaching, the Jews went to Pilate and asked for the legs of the men they crucified to be broken so they would die and could then be taken down from the crosses so that their bodies could be taken away before the start of the Sabbath (see John 19:31-42).  I find it interesting to know that the Sabbath actually begins at sunset (evening).  It doesn’t begin as the sun rises (morning).  And so the days of Creation and the Sabbath are all described as beginning in the evening.  So the start of the day is actually what we consider to be the end of our day as we begin to prepare to lay down and rest.  Why is this significant?

In Our Flesh

In Ephesians 2 Pauls tells us that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, that we “…formerly walked according to the course of this world,” and that we “…formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath…” (Eph. 2:1-3 NASB).  In our flesh it is all about us working and doing, but we see that all of it is only according to the ways of the world and the lusts of our flesh and mind.  There is no life there.  It is all death.  In ourselves we toil and strive, but accomplish nothing but what was in our nature, wrath.  But then Paul tells us of something extraordinary.

Made Alive, Raised Up and Seated

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:4-9 NASB).

Did you catch it?

Most of us have missed a very important truth.  We see that  we have been made alive with Christ.  We see that we have been raised up with Christ.  But do we see that last part?  We were told to walk out this new life.  To try to be a good Christian by reading your bible, by praying, by witnessing, by doing good deeds.  We were then told to serve God.  To go and do things for God.  We were told to be workers in the kingdom of God.

No!

We were seated.  We were seated.

What does it mean to be seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus?

For us to understand what it means to be seated with Him, we must first understand what it means for Him to be seated.  The author of Hebrews tells us that, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3b NASB) and “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:11-14 NASB)

Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, in heavenly places because His work was finished.  It was completed.  His one sacrifice, for all time, perfected, for all time, those who are sanctified.  He sat down because He ceased from His work.  He ceased from His work because it was finished.  In ceasing from His work He took His rest.  Just as when creation was completed God rested on the seventh day from all of His work, so Christ had completed His work and rested.

And so, we were seated, “with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6 NASB).  Why were we seated with Him?  We were seated with Him because our work was finished. Our work?  Yes!  When we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior something mysterious takes place.  Our old man, our flesh, with all of it’s efforts and works have been crucified with Christ and so they have ceased to be.  They are dead.  But what happens next is a glorious thing.  We are “made alive” with Christ, raised up with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.  We are made alive IN Christ.  So our old man, our old flesh no longer lives, but we live in Christ because we were raised with Him when He was raised, and the first thing that happens in this new life we live in Christ is that we are seated, meaning we were made or caused to sit down.  Why is this significant?

Our Position

Let’s look again at Ephesians 2:8 & 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:4-9 NASB)

Because we are in Christ, when He was crucified, so we also were crucified.  When He was raised, so we also were raised.  When He sat down, so we also were seated.  Being seated in Christ shows that we are in a new life.  Our old life, working in the flesh, is done.  We now live in Christ, and the first position for us in this new life is a position of rest, being seated in Christ.  This is why the scriptures tell us that we were saved by grace through faith, and NOT of ourselves.  Our new life in Christ is NOT a result of our own works.  “Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order.”  Life in Christ does not begin with doing.  It begins with resting.  “Let me repeat: No Christian experience begins with walking, but always with a definite sitting down.  The secret of deliverance from sin is not to do something but to rest on what God has done.” (Quotes from Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, pgs. 2 & 10)

Christ wants us to grasp onto this awareness so much that He seated us with Him in the heavenly places, IN Himself to show us that there is no work for us to do to live this new life, His life.  He tells us from the very beginning, REST.  Rest, because He completed all of work.

A New Vantage Point

I believe this is why the scriptures read, “And there was evening and there was morning…” and why the Sabbath begins at sunset (evening) and doesn’t end until sunset (evening) the next day.  The Lord has given us a daily reminder that our life in Him comes at no effort of our own, but it comes as we rest in Him.  The days are intended to start with rest in Him, not with busyness or service, but with rest.  This is why we lay down to rest in the evening.  A reminder to us to start our life in Him with rest.  Consider how our daily perspectives will transform if we begin to live in the awareness that with each evening as we prepare to lay down to rest, we are actually beginning a new day in Him, in stillness, in quiet, in peace, and in rest.

Related Posts

Root Before Fruit by Milt Rodriguez

Why I Gave Up Trying To Live The Christian Life by Frank Viola

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. James says that faith without works is dead

    Like

    • Indeed, he does Tylor. And that is true.

      However, I think you may have missed the point of this post.

      I am speaking specifically to the school of thought that I witnessed in Christianity as I was growing up, and even to this day.

      That school of thought being what the Church, generally speaking, has taught to new believers as pertaining to what being a true follower of Christ means. When we become a follower of Christ we have eaten of the Tree of Life, which is Christ, Himself. But then many are immediately ushered over to another tree and told to eat of it’s fruit. We are told to be a good Christian we must plunge head long into a rigorous life of reading this, doing that, praying for this long, talking about Christ to this many people, etc. This activity, if not done in and through the indwelling life of Christ, is nothing but a continuation of living life by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Many believers barely know Christ at all, much less how to live by His indwelling life. And I am careful to note that serving Christ does not replace knowing Christ. For it is in knowing Christ that we begin to learn what it means to live by His indwelling life, and in living by His indwelling life will come the works to which James is referring.

      Thanks for reading Tylor.

      Like

  2. Beautiful insights Toby! Blessed.

    Like

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