In his article “Total Depravity”, Scott essentially defined depravity as a person’s natural inclination towards sin. I’d like to pick up my article on our position in Christ as Christians off of that basic definition. In Ephesians 2, verses 4 and 5, we read,
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
I like the wording the NIV uses there… We were dead in our transgressions. Now, if you’re like me, you read this verse and you’re like “Uh… What are transgressions?” Google defines transgressions as “an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offense”. So basically, our transgressions are our offenses against God’s commandments or our sin. So a paraphrase could be “we were dead in our sin”. Generally… when a person dies, they don’t come back, they don’t get another chance at life. So when this verse tells us that we were dead in our transgressions, I think it’s saying something along the lines of “You’ve passed the point of no return”. Thankfully, as we read the rest of the verse, our death doesn’t have to be the end for us. We’re told that God made us alive with Christ because of his great love for us, that we’re saved by his grace. Since we know that as sinful human beings our natural inclination is to run towards sin, we know that aside from God, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now and you most certainly wouldn’t be reading it. Our innate desire is to pursue whatever brings us the most glory. So there must be another factor…
“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight . In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—“ (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Let’s read that verse through a few times in order to let what Paul’s saying register and make sense in our head. We’re told that He CHOSE us in Him before the creation of the world. In other words, we’re chosen. And we’ve been chosen for over six thousand years, long before any of us were born. So yes, we’re totally depraved. I don’t think there would be any way for us to have a relationship with Christ if it were up to us. But thankfully, it isn’t. God has pulled us towards Himself, towards a relationship with Him. I think that’s another part of the grace that He has given us. Not only has He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him, but He has personally pulled us towards pursuing that relationship.
Verse 10 of Ephesians chapter 2 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
It doesn’t end with Him merely choosing us to have a relationship with Him. God has also chosen us to do good works, good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do. Now to me, that’s pretty cool. Not only have I been chosen by God before the creation of the world to have a relationship with Him, but my Creator has prepared good works for me to do. Any ministry I’m involved in? Yeah, that didn’t happen by chance. God’s been preparing it and has planned it for, well, eternity. Do you want to know something a little crazy? This still isn’t the end of our position found in Christ! When we accept the gift of salvation that God offers to us, we receive the Holy Spirit. Now, this in itself is pretty awesome. I mean, God is literally dwelling in us! But something I didn’t realize until reading through the first three chapters of Ephesians in order to prepare myself for writing this post is that the Holy Spirit acts as a deposit (or a guarantee) of our inheritance, that we will spend eternity in Heaven. When we receive the Holy Spirit, God is essentially making a covenant with us that we will enter the gates of Heaven. Before I close up, I’d like to share one last part of our position in Christ as Christians.
In Ephesians chapter 2, verse 6, we read, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
I’m gonna be straight up with you… This is a very confusing verse. We’ve been raised up with Christ? What exactly does that mean? Essentially, this verse means that positionally, we have already been raised with Christ to exaltation. It’s a done deal. There’s no losing that position.
Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
We’ve died with Christ, we’ve been raised with Christ, and now we’re exalted with Christ. So as a believer, what’s my position in Christ? I’ve been chosen by God to have an intimate relationship with him, had good works/ministry prepared in advance for me to do, been given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of my inheritance (spending eternity in Heaven), and been exalted with Christ.