“…and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
The Son of Man has been raised up and has entered into the glory, the very glory of God. The above verses make this clear. However if we look closely we can see that the focus of this passage is not the Father’s glorification of Christ, although that certainly took place. Rather it is the Father’s exceedingly great power towards the believer, and our understanding of that power and knowing this work and its results. The truths surrounding redemption are little known by believers today. When the believer looks for Christ and sees the cross, we should know that He is not there. When we look for Him in the tomb, He is not there as well. Is He in Galilee walking around with His disciples? He is not. We know Christ no longer according to the flesh if we are looking with the eye of faith (II Cor. 5:16). We should always walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
In the counsels of God there is a Man in Glory
God has exalted a Man into glory: the Son of Man has been glorified, and is now sitting at the right hand of God. How important is this? It is the means by which many others will be brought into glory.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.”
Many sons into the Glory – Heirs of God, Co-Heirs with Christ
It is through Jesus Christ that many sons are brought to glory. He is the firstborn (Rom. 8:29, Col. 1:18) and the forerunner (Heb. 6:20), gone before us into the presence of God. But the incredible truth of scripture is that it is all for us and on our behalf (Heb. 9:24), and all because of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. If He is the firstborn from the dead, then there will be many others raised in Him. If He is the forerunner into the glory behind the veil, it means that many more will follow Him there. If He is the Beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14), it is because there are many new creations in Him and by His work (2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15). Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, is the One who brings many sons to glory. And we will be brought there because the believer has been made an heir of God and equal heirs with Christ.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The Believer brought into the same position as the Glorified Son of Man
For the believer, nothing can compare to the glory that God will place us in. We will be in it as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:27). Every individual believer will be there as a son in the house of the Father (Matt. 13:43). We also see that there is an inheritance to be given by the Father to all those in relationship with Him as sons – this is Christ and His brethren (John 20:17). This passage in Galatians confirms the same.
“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Through Christ all believers have been made heirs of God the Father. It is the Father’s love set on us and His very own counsels choosing us in Christ before time began (2 Tim. 1:9) that has given us this inheritance. The following two verses show this truth.
“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
The idea here is that the believer has been made fit by God to be a partaker of the inheritance. The Father has qualified us by enabling us in Christ. The believer has been brought into the very same position with the Father that Christ has, as the glorified Son of Man. He is our God and our Father (John 20:17). And we have been made accepted by the Father in Christ (Eph. 1:6). Also in Ephesians we read:
“…in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,”
In Him means the believer is in Christ. But it was the Father’s purpose and counsel of will that placed us there in Christ. There we have obtained an inheritance, the very same one that Christ will be given, for we are Christ and we are, as believers, in Him eternally. We see something else in Ephesians.
Every true Believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit – the guarantee of Sonship and Inheritance
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Every true believer has been sealed with the Holy Spirit. This is the Father’s stamp of authenticity on the many sons. This seal identifies those that are His. The Holy Spirit dwells inside every true believer. For us this seal is the guarantee of the inheritance. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is the down payment of all future glory. We also have Christ in us, dwelling in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17, John 14:20). Christ in us, the ever present hope of glory (Col. 1:27). And we further know that all scriptural hope is sure and steadfast (Heb. 6:19).
It is a wonderful thought and meditation that the Father has so blessed the believer in Christ. Co-heir with Christ of the Father is a privileged position. We wouldn’t be able to believe such a thought if it wasn’t the declared counsel of God. But it is all true. We must remember that in all things Jesus Christ holds the preeminence (Col. 1:18). He is the Head of creation as having created it all (Col. 1:16). He is the Head of the Body, the church, and this as the Son of Man – the firstborn from the dead, redeeming us through His death, His blood being shed (Col. 1:14, 18). These two things have been reconciled back to God by the Son of Man: all of creation and all believers (Col. 1:20-22).
But the reconciling does not place these two things in the same position. Creation — all things that were created – is the original right of possession of the Creator. We see that all things were created through Him and for Him (Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2). But when man was given dominion over the works of His hand, the first Adam only brought defilement and cursing upon it. The second Adam comes in and through His death brings all things defiled back to God in reconciliation (Col. 1:20). All things are described in greater detail by the following scriptures in Colossians;
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
“…and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
When the Son of Man reconciled all things, it was all things in heaven and earth. It was all things visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, etc. This is the inheritance of the Son of Man. This is what we are co-heirs of, all things, all of creation reconciled. We do not yet see all things put under His feet as a physical reality, but His work as the Son of Man gave Him the title to it. We are in Christ, a part of Him, His Body and co-heirs with Him of all these things. The distinction between the two things reconciled in the first chapter of Colossians is that all of creation is the inheritance, while believers are the heirs of it with Christ. We see a similar train of thought in Ephesians;
“…having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,”
In this portion of Scripture we have everything we have been discussing. There are the counsels and purpose of God, all things in heaven and earth gathered into the Headship of Christ, and an inheritance given to those in Christ according to God’s counsels. In Him we have obtained an inheritance. Simply, all this is in Christ and for all those placed by God in Him.
The Holy Spirit gathers the body of the Glorified Man
1 Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
We have shown previously the importance of believers seeing with the eye of faith Christ at the right hand of God, as the glorified Son of Man. It has always been the intention of God, in His counsels before the foundation of the world, to gather a body to be associated and united to this glorified Man. When Christ sat down at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent from heaven to this earth to accomplish the gathering of the body, and the sealing of the believer. This is what is taking place now.
All mankind existed in failure in responsibility before God in the first Adam; all falling short of the glory. But God had His own counsels concerning the believer before time began. The revelation and accomplishment of these counsels had to wait until the Son of Man laid the foundation for it, finishing the work of redemption. All our failure in responsibility we have accumulated in our relationship with the first Adam, Christ has met. He bore our sins and was made sin for us on the cross, and yet, glorified God in the midst of it.
The Believer’s association with Christ, the Son of Man
In the first chapter of Ephesians we see these very counsels of God revealed. We see God’s thought and purpose, to have the believer with Christ and like Christ, His own Son in glory. These are truths now that we possess. The believer is associated with the second Adam in glory, and so, we will eventually be made like Him. We are not there yet, in the glory, but He is there, in His resurrected and glorified body. He is at the right hand of God as the forerunner and the first born from the dead. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it does not yet appear what we will be, but we know that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is (I John 3:2).
Allow me to further show this association with Christ in Scripture. The believer was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:6). We died with Him (Rom. 6:8, Col. 2:20, 3:3). And then we were buried with Him (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12). After that, the believer was raised from the dead with Christ (Col. 2:12, Col. 3:1, Eph. 1:19-20, 2:5) by the exceeding greatness of the Father’s power. The life we have is not ourselves, but Christ living in us (Gal. 2:20, Col. 3:3-4). But, as I’ve mentioned before, this was not the end of God’s counsels towards us. When Christ was seated at God’s right hand, exalted above all principality and power, the Father, at the same time, exalted His body, the church, with Him. We are the fullness of Christ, all things put under the feet (Eph. 1:20-23). These things are already accomplished in title.
In Christ the believer has title to these blessings and truths now
“Because whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brethren.
But whom he has predestinated, these also he has called; and whom he has called, these also he has justified; but whom he has justified, these also he has glorified.”
The language here is in the past tense as already accomplished from the Father foreknowing all the way to the believer’s body being glorified. It is already finished as to God’s mind and purpose, and in Christ we have been given the title to it all. Only one portion of the above passage is yet future for the believer – to be conformed to the image of the Son. And this is a hope that is sure and steadfast as we see earlier in this same chapter:
“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
The believer has received salvation now, but all our hopes remain to be fulfilled as a finalizing of our redemption. We were saved (past tense) in this hope (future). We have the title to it already, in a certain sense; we are in Christ and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:4-5
“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.”
The Holy Spirit, as given to us by God, is the deposit and guarantee of the future redemption of our bodies. There is a future event in God that will fulfill and finalize our salvation, by which we will be brought to the heavens and the house of our Father (John 14:1-3) and into the very presence of the invisible God, into the glory. But how could this happen in these earthly tents and with most of the other bodies corrupted in the grave? It seems impossible. No, the corruptible must put on incorruption, and the mortal put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:53-56). As we said previously, this event, for the body of Christ, will be resurrection or change.
Our present bodies – Our last connection to this Earth
Hopefully we can see then, that our last and final connection to this earth and to the first Adam, is our physical bodies. Therein still resides the sin nature passed on from Adam to all mankind. When sin entered in, death came in as well, as the very fruit of it (Rom. 5:12). Sin in the flesh is what makes the body mortal, subject to death. But the future event I speak of, for all true believers from the entire time of the church on the earth, is the changing of our bodies by the sovereign power and grace of God. Mortal puts on immortality, corruption puts on incorruption, and the power of death that Satan holds is defeated on our behalf (Heb. 2:14-15, I Cor. 15:53-56). How is this? Well, certainly God has the power to do as He pleases. This event is the removal of sin from the flesh, from the physical bodies of believers. Is this not a necessity? The believer, brought into the very presence of God must have sin removed from the flesh. This is what is meant by the Father predestining us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This is the glorification of the bodies of all believers. The event is called the rapture and is described in detail by Paul here – 1 Thess. 4:13-18.[Christians have two general areas of responsibility while they are left here in this world. One is faithful service to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, using the gifts and talents we were given when He went away (Matt. 24:45-51, 25:14-30, Luke 12:42-48). The other is the constant watching and expectation of the Lord Jesus coming for us to catch us up to meet Him in the clouds and taking us, as glorified in body, to our Father’s house in heaven. Those who hold this blessed hope and imminent expectation keep themselves separated from the world — see 1 John 3:1-3. The church is the bride of Christ. Our duty is to be constantly looking for the bridegroom — Matt. 25:1-13, Luke 12:35-38]
Our physical bodies are our only connection to this earth, as believers. We are partakers of the heavenly calling in Christ, but again in title and purpose, and not yet a completed physical reality. Every member that ever was in the body of Christ still has their physical body on this earth, whether in the grave or still alive. That is why the scriptural doctrines concerning the church always place it on the earth (clearly seen in Eph. 4:4-16).
But you say there are believers in heaven. This is a blessed truth, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). But this is not the believers hope and constant expectation, nor God’s counsels for the church. We do not want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:4). This is our proper hope. This is God’s designs for the believer, to be conformed into the image of His Son. Our bodies have to be glorified. They must be made fit to be brought into the heavens, and into the glory of God.
It is my hope that you will grab hold of these truths and never allow them to fade from having a presence in your thoughts and faith. We are, as believers, always and in everything, associated with Christ. We are His body, a part of Him; flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone (Eph. 5:30), and fellow brethren with Him in the house of His Father. We are as Christ. Christ is our life. When the Father looks at any believer, He sees them in Christ, clothed with the righteousness of God, and accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). When Christ was raised from the dead, we were raised with Him in the same power and purposes of the Father (Eph. 1:19-20, Eph. 2:5). When the Father thinks of the inheritance He will give to His Son, every believer is in His thoughts, according to the counsel of His will, as equal heirs having obtained the inheritance, to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:11). The only part of Christ we do not share in is His divinity. With these understandings, other truths from God’s word await illumination by the Spirit.
The Church eternally existing in the Heavens – the manifold wisdom of God
“…that he might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.”
“…and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
His manifold wisdom is now displayed by the existence of the church, the centerpiece of His mystery hidden, but now revealed. It is into these things that angels want to look (I Pet. 1:11-13). They stand in amazement of God’s revealed counsels towards us, and how God’s holiness and righteousness was glorified by bringing man into His glory. It is in man that the angels learn what God does in His ways and counsels, for the simple reason that in these counsels the Word of God became flesh, became man—that He who created angels does not take up angels, but takes up man (Heb. 2:16).This taking up of man was when he was a sinner, in order to display in him the glory of God. It was all the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. He has truly brought many sons into the glory. And the Father has placed us in Him. In the ages to come the Father will show towards the believer His surpassing riches of grace.
“Father, I desire that they also whom you gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”