In the previous four-part series from Ephesians 1.19ff, God’s Indescribable Power, we looked at Paul’s attempt in articulating the immensity of God’s power. It is absolutely indescribable and unfathomable to the human mind. In an effort to give content to its understanding, Paul gives two examples of the mighty working of God’s power – first in Christ (Ephesians 1.20-23) and second in us (2.1-10). Contained within Ephesians 1.20 are three perspectives we want to investigate.
… 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 realms.
The purchase of the cross is YOU! God has had one end game in mind, you. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, you have been redeemed and made free from the bondage of sin and death. It is in the death of Christ that we find freedom from the power of sin. We no longer have to be its slaves. We are free in Christ! Take a moment and read these tremendous passages on our purchase:
In the Hebrews passages above, we discover the death and resurrection of Jesus not only frees us from sin (9.26) but He is our sanctification (10.10) as well the author and finisher (completer) of our faith (12.2)! William Law once rightly said, “The purchase of the cross wasn’t merely forgiveness but Pentecost.” What he means is that forgiveness isn’t the total desire of God in our lives. Yes, He has forgiven us, but He wants to create Pentecost within us (the outside God getting inside – the filling and controlling of our lives by His Spirit) – THIS is Christianity and nothing short of it counts. The reason Jesus had to ascend to the right hand of the Father was in order to give us the Spirit in Pentecost. There has been a tremendous purchase on our behalf demonstrating God’s mighty power (raising Jesus from the dead).
Jesus wasn’t merely raised from the dead, Paul writes He was then seated at the right hand of the Father. Throughout the Bible, the right side is incredibly important. It is known as the side of blessing, sacredness, authority, power, correctness, rescue, war, righteousness, marriage, wisdom, strength, and judgment. For example, when a father wanted to bless his son he would extend his right hand and place it upon the head of the son. A king extends his right hand holding his scepter to make rulings and show his authority.
Not only is the right side the side of strength, power, and authority, it is also the side symbolizing intimacy, oneness, and dependency. When a bride gets married, she turns and holds onto the right arm of her new husband as they walk down the aisle. This is symbolic of her dependency and intimacy with her groom. Her weak side (left) is leaning against his side of strength (right). As she leans her head upon his right side, she is symbolically depending upon His strength but also leaning in an expression of relationship and oneness. So the same is true with Jesus.
Jesus has been placed at the right hand of the Father. We find in Ephesians 1.21-23 that it is the position of absolute authority, control, and power. Everything comes under the feet of Jesus; nothing can touch Him. But it is also the position of dependency and intimacy. Throughout His entire life, Jesus has been dependent upon the sourcing of the Father. Jesus said things like, “I don’t speak my own words, I don’t do my own acts – only that which the Father is saying and doing in and through me” (paraphrase). During His thirty-three years, He was leaning upon the Father’s right side, so the same is true in the heavenly realms – He is maintaining His position of intimacy with, dependency upon and responding to the Father.
Will you surrender your right in order to lean and depend upon Jesus as He leans and depends upon the Father? Will you be as intimate with Jesus (bride and groom) as He is with the Father? This lifestyle of intimacy and dependency is the heart of Christianity.
This position at the right hand of the Father is in the heavenly realms. This phrase heavenly realms is used five times in Ephesians. While God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at the same time, somehow in the heavenly realms it is as if there is a concentration of His presence – for the heavenly realms is God’s abode. I have often described the heavenly realms as the true reality. We assume we are living in reality for we see it all around us, but this is merely a shadow and haze of what the real reality is. In the heavenly realms, everything is unveiled and you see clearly the glory, the majesty, the light of the Father. Nothing is hidden. It is from this realm that blessing pours forth, authority and power oozes forth, and the spiritual battles take place (see Ephesians 1.3, 1.20, 2.6, 3.10, 6.12). Paul declares that we too are seated in the heavenly realms IN CHRIST – do you have such a perspective, where the spiritual is more real than the physical all around you?
Our place is in the heavenly realms positioned IN CHRIST at the right hand of the Father because we have been purchased. Is this reality the testimony of your life? May we declare, embrace, and experience what the writer of Hebrews wrote when he said:
… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher [perfecter] of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.