Monday, March 02, 2009

Today's Invisible Reality in the Heavenlies only In Christ.

On Ephesians 1:3-24

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3).

Remember that all these blessings are available to us in the realm that Paul calls the heavenlies. He is not referring to heaven here; he does not mean going to heaven when you die. We get such distorted concepts of heaven! Heaven, as most people envision it, is not an attractive place to me—damp, rainy clouds; unstrung harps out of tune; and white robes. A good travel brochure could make west Texas look preferable to heaven. And yet most people think that this is what Paul is talking about when he speaks of the heavenlies.

No, "in the heavenly realms" is a reference to the invisible realities of our life now. These realities certainly reach on into eternity, but they are something to be experienced now in your inner life—your thought life, where you feel conflict and pressure, struggle and disaster—that is part of the heavenlies. It is where we are exposed to the attack of the principalities and powers , those dark spirits in high places who get to us and depress us and frighten us and make us anxious or hostile. The heavenlies is not only the realm of conflict but also where God can release us and deliver us, where the Spirit of God reaches us at the seat of our intellect, emotions, and our will. It is the realm of those deep, surging urges that rise within us and create either a restlessness or a sense of peace, depending on the source from which they come. So don't read this as though it were something out in space somewhere. These blessings are yours in your inner experience now if you are in Jesus Christ.

Obviously, all of this comes to us in one great package "in Christ." If you are not a Christian, you cannot possibly claim these benefits, because they are not yours—there is no way you can appropriate them unless you are in Christ. But if you are "in Christ," there is nothing to keep you from having all of them, every moment of every day. That is why it is so important that we discover what they are.

These are much more than mere theological ideas. They are facts, foundational truths that undergird us in every moment of our life. And unless you understand those facts, you can't utilize or benefit from them. In that way they are like natural laws. The laws of nature operate regardless of how we feel—they are impersonal in that respect.

In my experience of doing electrical work, I've discovered that electricity follows a pattern of its own and takes no notice of how I feel at the moment. That can be a shocking experience! It doesn't hesitate to retaliate for any violation of its laws that I commit. It is up to me to discover how it works and then to respect it if I want to utilize it. The same thing is true of these great facts. They will not do you a particle of good if you don't discover what they are and believe them enough to operate on the basis of them.

Father, thank You for these vast truths. I pray that my understanding may be made equal to them. I can't grasp them properly apart from the work of Your Spirit, and I pray that You will open my eyes and help me to see that these things are true indeed.

from a devotion based on Ray Steadman's writings.

1 comment:

two and a half fish guy said...

Psalm 27 : 13 "I would of been despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." NASB. The goodness of the Lord (heavenly realms) are revealed in this world but we are often deceived and do not pay attention to them.

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