Five Fantastic Facts

Ephesians 1:23 - The church is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 2:6 - God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:22 - You are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 3:10 - The manifold wisdom of God is now being made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 5:32 - This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Some Christians have the idea that when you are born again you get a ticket to heaven and "fire insurance" and that's about it. To be sure, that is more than enough to be an "unbelievable bargain" but there is even more to our salvation--much more! The book of Ephesians is loaded with facts about the whole "package" that God gave to us when we became Christians. These facts are fantastic in their magnitude. If it wasn't for Scripture they would be practically unbelievable because they so boggle the mind. Let us look at five of these fantastic facts, and as a result praise God for His infinite love to us.

Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What does that mean? Let's break this fact down by phrases. "Heavenly places" is not some place in the universe but rather the heavenly state or new realm of spiritual experience and activity into which we are brought upon conversion. "In Christ Jesus" has to do with our status before God now that we have entered "heavenly places". Because of our identification and association with the risen Christ by faith, God now sees us in Christ. This is our status or standing or legal position before God. We no longer stand as guilty or condemned sinners before the holy and righteous Judge of this universe. The Judge now sees us as righteous because we are "in Christ Jesus". This is not our own righteousness (obviously!), but rather Christ's righteousness which is imputed to all who are "in Christ Jesus".

"Seated with Him" further defines our status or position in Christ. We can see from Ephesians 1:20-22 that the main idea of Christ being seated (enthroned) is His exaltation and supremacy and authority. The fact that we are "seated with Him" means that positionally we are now associated with Christ in His exaltation. Now this is a fantastic fact! What a position we have in Christ--and what far-reaching implications. Can there be any question as to our secure and permanent salvation if we are already enthroned with Christ in glory as far as God is concerned? No wonder we are urged in Ephesians 3:12 to have confidence and boldness to enter into God's presence, for that is our present position in Christ. (See also Hebrews 10:19.) Let us walk in the light of this fantastic fact.

Another fantastic fact is given to us in Ephesians 1:23. Here we are told that the church, which is the body of Christ, is the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Before we explain this fact, let it be known that the four remaining fantastic facts all deal with Christians collectively. Our exalted position in Christ (2:6) seems to be an individual matter, but these other facts have to do with the church as a whole. Whenever the church is mentioned in Ephesians, it is the universal church that is in view and not the local church. All true Christians everywhere constitute the universal church--not some particular organization or denomination.

Ephesians 1:23 states that the church (universal) is the body of Christ and is the fullness of Christ. As a physical body is the full complement of its head, so the church is the full complement and expression of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is head over the church, not only because He is sovereign over all (1:22), but also because we are His body. As the body of Christ, we are the means by which our Head expresses Himself in this world. What a fantastic fact--but what a responsibility! We are inseparably linked to the One who "fills all in all". Christ is not only the Source and Sustainer of His body but of the universe as well. (See also Ephesians 4:10 and Colossians 1:17.) As individual members of the body of Christ, let us relate to one another and to this needy world in ways that fully reflect the thoughts and interests of our Head.

A third fantastic fact is found in Ephesians 2:20-22. Here the church is likened to a building under construction. The foundation has already been laid. Now individual Christians are being "fitted together" like building blocks according to God's blueprint. The blueprint is of a "holy temple in the Lord". The temple is not complete yet but the building is "growing" towards that goal. It is significant that the word "growing" is more of an agricultural term than an architectural term. The church is a living building, composed of "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5). Thus membership in a local church is not what makes a person a part of the building. Life in Christ is essential for living stones. Organic union is necessary. The church is an organism and not an organization.

The most fantastic aspect of this unfinished organic building is that God dwells in it--now! The church with all her faults and failings is even now the dwelling place of God on earth in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We are not yet the glorious temple that God intends us to be forever, but already we are the home of the Spirit of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we see that our individual bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, but here in Ephesians we further see that together we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (See also 1 Corinthians 3:16.) This tremendous spiritual truth should be worked out practically in our Christian living. We should not think, for example, of any man-made building with stained glass windows as the residence of God. God is in the midst of His people wherever they meet--"sanctuary or storefront". Furthermore, as the home of the Holy Spirit, we should give Him the right to move around as He desires. Let us not "box Him in" by limiting His freedom of expression to only a few "official" stones in His building. 1 Peter 4:10 says that He has given special gifts to every living stone. (See also Ephesians 4:16 and the word "every".) Finally, since we are being built into a "holy temple" of the Holy Spirit, let us be a holy people.

In Ephesians 3:10 we have a fourth fantastic fact. The church is said to be God's object lesson to unseen powers. What is all this about? The scriptures indicate that angels have access to the spiritual realm called "heavenly places" which was described above. Ephesians 6:12 indicates that even certain of the fallen angels have access to this realm at the present time. Now at first this seems hard to grasp, but when you think of the spiritual struggles and battles we have (consider your prayer life, for example), we begin to understanda little of what the Scripture is talking about. The fantastic fact is that God is now making His wisdom known to all these powers through the church. Angels are not omniscient. They eagerly observe and learn the wonders of God's infinite wisdom (1 Peter 1:12). Angels saw the power of God displayed at creation (Job 38:7). They have seen many aspects of God's wisdom throughout history as God has dealt with man. But the full wisdom of God is now seen through the church. We are the highest channel of God's wisdom--higher than any other created thing in this vast universe. How do angels learn about the love of God, for example? They cannot experience it as we can, for they are not a redeemed people. Angels observe and learn the love of God through His people. What a lesson in love they learned when they saw the eternal Son of God leave heaven and become Man for the express purpose of giving His life to save sinners like you and me. No wonder the angels are joyful when a sinner repents and is added to the church (Luke 15:10). And no wonder the angels are very interested in how we respond to the authority structures that God has set up in creation and in the church. (See 1 Corinthians 11:10.) The church was ordained from eternity (3:11) to be God's masterpiece for the universe. How dare we distort God's master plan?

A final fantastic fact comes to our attention from Ephesians 5:32. This verse is the climax of a heavy exhortation to husbands and wives regarding their responsibilities to one another. We are informed that the relationship between husbands and wives portrays the relationship between Christ and the church. The fact that this relationship is a "mystery" does not mean that it is something mysterious. Whenever the Old Testament uses the term "mystery" it is referring to truth which was hidden in Old Testament times but is now revealed. (See Ephesians 3:4-5 for the scriptural definition of "mystery".) The fact that the church is the bride of Christ is a fantastic thought. We not only have the life of Christ as His body but we have the love of Christ as His bride. As the beloved bride of Christ we have His care, protection, concern, intimate fellowship and unending love. What more could we ask for? And what a model on which to pattern our own marriages!

We've looked at just five fantastic facts from Ephesians. There are others. Read the entire book and see how they build on one another. Growing Christians receive a spurt in growth when they digest the fantastic facts of Ephesians.

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