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 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus...Ephesians 2:4-6
The most important truth in all of Christianity is stated right here: We are made alive together with Christ. Notice that Paul says
with Christ three times: We are
made alive with Christ. We are
raised up with Christ. We are made to sit with Him. He has come to live in us, and He has joined himself to us, and we are one person with Him. That is the most important fact upon which to build all the rest of Christian faith and experience--this great, tremendous statement that we are made alive with Jesus Christ.
Do you remember how the Lord himself taught that? He said,
I am the vine; you are the branches (John 15:5a). Can you tell where the branch ends and the vine starts? No. They are one plant, sharing one life together. So from here on our identity is no longer
in Adam but it is
in Christ. We are no longer just ordinary human beings. We are new creations, begun again, linked with the life of Jesus Christ.
Later in this letter Paul likens the church to a body, of which Christ is the head. Have you examined your body lately? Have you noticed that your fingers don't come off if you merely twist them a half-turn and pull? They are tied to the body, and they share the life of the body. They are not attached by any mechanical process, but rather they are an organic part. These figures are all given to us to show us the intimate way we are united to Jesus Christ, to tell us that He is our life.
So never think of yourself in any other way, because the whole work of the enemy is to get you to disbelieve that and to go back to thinking that you are just an ordinary individual, struggling on through life, trying to make it the best way you can, needing to mobilize all your human resources to try to get ahead of the other fellow and to achieve as much of the fulfillment of life as you can. Any time you believe that, you go right back to acting as you once did--back to the misery, back to the heartaches. You can escape that only when you come back again to this central truth--we are alive in Jesus Christ!
There is one final thing to notice here. These verbs are all in the past tense. This is something that has happened, not something that is going to happen. It has already occurred when you believed in Jesus Christ. You don't have to work toward it. It is not something that great saints achieve after years of effort. It is something that is already true, and every Christian has this experience. We were made alive in Jesus Christ. We cannot be the same again. Even if we try, we won't be able to. This is why I sometimes say to people who get discouraged with their Christian life,
Well, quit then, go back, try not to be a Christian. See what will happen. They can't do it, and they know they can't, because they are new creatures, made alive in Jesus Christ.
Father, thank You for this great truth. I pray that You would make plain to me that this is who I am and that I will never be able to handle life alright until I understand this.
Experientially, the most important truth in all of Christianity is that we are: made alive in Christ. Considering this reality, have we discovered His life which is our life?