(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
In the last Gem we explored Getting High, not with drugs, but with God! It was based on Isaiah 40:31 in which we are told “…those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” But Paul, in Ephesians 2:4 through 6 tells us we can get even higher than an eagle can fly:
...God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Do you see the height we can possess in Christ? “…God…made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus….” In this sense, we are already in heaven, seated with our Savior! Is it possible to get any higher? I don’t think so. But, if we are to mount up with wings like eagles, there are conditions that have to be met! And these conditions, which have made us alive together with Christ, are spelled out in Ephesians 2:1 through 3:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Ephesians 2:1 – We must be made alive! “But,” you might say, “I am already alive! I am a living, breathing human being!” True, you do have physical life. But do you have spiritual life?
- Paul tells us, we “…were dead in trespasses and sins….” The human spirit, which was part of the design of God for human beings in His own image (see Genesis 1:26, 27), and which by design dynamically connected us to our Creator, was cut off by disobedience, and being cut off from God, that human spirit died and remained dead!
✡ The LORD, in Genesis 2:16 and 17, gave Adam this pro- hibition: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ✡ When Adam, tempted by his wife, Eve (see Genesis 3:6) ate of that forbidden tree, he died – spiritually! ➔ He didn’t die physically for many more years (see Genesis 5:5). ➔ But He died in spirit immediately upon dis- obeying God! That death is shown in Genesis 3:8, when, “...they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden...[they] hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God ....”
- And Adam, being the federal head of the human race, passed that rebellious sin nature, and the death that it caused (both spiritual and physical) to every son and daughter born since then! (see Romans 5:12).
- We were walking (living) according to the course of this world! “Well,” you might say, “what is wrong with that? After all, most of the world’s population by far is doing just that!” However…
- We were walking (living) according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience! It is the same prince that in the gospel of John is referred to as “…the prince of this world…” three times (see John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Of the 17 Bible translations on my computer Bible study application called e-Sword, 11 of them translate prince as ruler! (Strong’s Greek Dictionary and Thayer’s Greek Definitions both agree). How is it that Satan became the ruler of this world?
✞ According to Genesis 1:28, God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” But when Adam disobeyed the LORD and bowed to Satan, he gave that dominion, that ruler- ship over the earth to the devil! ✞ How else, in his tempting of the Lord Jesus in Luke 4:5 6, and 7, could it have been written... ...the devil...showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said..., “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. There- fore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” ✞ But Jesus, through His death on the cross and His resurrection, reclaimed the deed to all the earth and its people! As it was announced in heaven in Revelation 11:15, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
- “…we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind….”
✞ What do “...the lusts of our flesh...the desires of the flesh...” look like? Paul describes them by another title, “...the works of the flesh...” in Galatians 5:19 through 21. He lists 17 characteristics – and he doesn’t even exhaust the descriptives with these 17! Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewd- ness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambi- tions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.... ✞ It is a wicked and sinful list! And those characteris- tics manifested in every mother’s child (in one way or another) will keep us out of heaven and send us to hell! For Paul ends the list of the lusts of the flesh with these words: “I tell you...that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
- “…we all once conducted ourselves…fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind….” The Greek idea of the mind is close in its meaning to the Hebrew term the heart. And this is what is said of the human heart in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
- “…we all were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
Now if I stop here, and unless you go back and read the first part of this Gem, it would leave us with no hope of redemption. But I encourage you to go back and read the first part, for it’s the good news from Ephesians 2:4 through 7, which I reproduce here once more:
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up together
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
That in the ages to come
He might show the exceeding riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us
in Christ Jesus.