Think you need to wait to be resurrected? Think again.

by Apr 17, 2013

We just finished a four-week teaching series on the Resurrection. We celebrated the fact that we’ll be raised from the dead just like Jesus, and live in a resurrected world called the New Heaven and New Earth, enjoying resurrected relationships with God and others.

But what if our resurrection isn’t just a future event? That’s what Paul seems to be saying in Ephesians 2:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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. (Ephesians 2:4-6)

In other words, God raised Jesus from the dead, and somehow, he did the same thing for us at the very same time. If you put your faith in Jesus, God actually brought you to life 2,000 years ago! You were saved 2,000 years before you were even born. Just as Jesus Christ was physically resurrected, you were spiritually resurrected along with him.

Most of us don’t want to believe it, but we used to be “dead in the trespasses and sins in which we once walked” (verse 1). We were dead men walking. As one scholar said it… “The most vital part of man’s personality—the spirit—is dead to the most important factor in life—God.”

Many people in Hawai‘i would say, “That’s not true – I’m very spiritual! I paddle out in the ocean, and I feel God all around me!”

OK, so you paddle out. Then what do you do after that? “Well, I yell at the kook who dropped in on my wave.” And after that? “I get in my car and yell at the guy who waited until the last minute to merge so he could cut into line!” And after that? “I go home and yell at my wife because she spent $400 at Macy’s!”

You’re dead! Here’s how you know you’re dead: you keep doing the same things. You’re powerless to change. Just like a dead guy. He can’t do anything about being dead.

But God made us alive together with Christ, and “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (verse 6). So the death and resurrection of Jesus wasn’t just an event that happened 2,000 years ago on the other side of the world. If you put your trust in Jesus, it’s something that you yourself experienced. You were in Christ Jesus for the whole thing!

It’s like a baby being in the womb of his mother. Everything that happens to mom, happens to baby. Everything the mom eats and drinks is what baby eats and drinks (and in our fallen world, everything mom smokes and shoots is what the baby is ingesting too). Sometimes you won’t see the effects for years, but the life of that kid is going to be affected by what his mom experienced when he was inside her.

In the same way, God put us in Christ so we could experience everything he did. And here’s why God did all that:

So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)

God wants to advertise his kindness and grace to the world… through us! We’re his PR department. But only if we’ve fully experienced the riches of his grace, and allowed him to raise us with Christ Jesus.

Here’s how Shai Linne and Alister Begg explain it: