Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, who
is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Did you know that is where you are? Did you know you were in those heavenly places in Christ? I think God has the most amazing way of speaking in the Scriptures. He expresses Himself in ways that is difficult for the human mind to grasp. We have discussed prophetic perfect in the past. When God speaks of something that has not yet happened in history as though it already is, that is prophetic perfect. Paul speaks of that in Romans 4:17, “…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” That is the way God speaks and expresses Himself. He calls things that are not as though they are.
You might say, “I didn’t know I was up there in those heavenly places, having been raised up with Christ.” Actually, that is what is happening to us now. We are in the process of ascending to those heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In another place Paul said, “We have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16). That doesn’t mean that every Christian presently has the mind of Christ. Who really does have the mind of Christ? Who is Paul referring to when he makes that statement? He is speaking of himself and anyone else who happens to have the mind of Christ. We must not assume that we have something we do not have, for that closes the door to receiving it. Neither should we think in absolutes. Just because you have the mind of Christ today doesn’t mean you will always have the mind of Christ. What you have from God must increase or you will lose it. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Matthew 13:12. Do you understand what that means? If you are progressing in what you have, more will be given to you. But if you are not progressing, you will lose what you have.
Now, back to the elevation. We are in the process of being raised up with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That is, if our relationship with the Lord is increasing. This being raised up with Christ is not speaking of something that will take place in the future. Neither is it a literal ascension. God is not interested in taking us up in the sky somewhere. He is interested in lifting us up spiritually so that we might dwell in Him, in His world, in His eternity.
Ephesians 4:9-10 Now this,
“He ascended” – what does it mean but that He also first descended into the
lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.
That is happening now. That is speaking of the same thing as our text in the second chapter. He is descending into the lower parts of our earthen nature and then ascending. Thus, we ascend together with Him into the heavenly places of His world. This is what we should be involved in right now.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
The Greek word translated “bodies” is soma, which means the whole man – body, soul, and spirit. Therefore, Paul is saying to present the whole self as a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We are all conformed to this world to some degree until we have been transformed by the renewing of our minds. This transformation does not take place instantly. At least to this point it hasn’t. The Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoo, which means a change of life form as the worm is changed into a butterfly. We are becoming a new species – a divine species. It takes place through the renewing of the mind. The carnal mind is God’s enemy. The fleshly mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Romans 8:7. Therefore, we must be transformed by the renewing of the mind. The metamorphosis must take place in our mind; in fact, in our whole man – body, soul, and spirit.
Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Do you realize how much your mind is your enemy and God’s enemy, too? It hinders and limits your walk with God.
Man functions horizontally; that is, the human mind is geared to operate on a horizontal time line. Anything that has a beginning and an ending is in the realm of time. Not so with God; He is eternal. There is no beginning or ending with Him. He does not live in the time realm, and He is not limited by it. So while the natural man is on a time line our spiritual progress is vertical. As we grow spiritually, we are ascending – that is vertical movement. Now, why is there always resistance to spiritual growth? It is because the human mind refuses to think vertically. It only operates on a time line. Now we see why the mind has to be renewed.
The mind of Christ functions vertically. He was always in-tune with the Father. John 3:13 says that Jesus Christ was in heaven and on earth at the same time. He lived in the realm of time and the realm of eternity at once. In other words, He was not limited by time even though He was living in man’s world. For example, the Word says that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Yet He healed people before He had received the stripes on His back. His crucifixion was already a reality in the realm of eternity, although it had not yet taken place in the realm of time. This is why He could make statements such as “I am not of this world” (John 17:14), “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30), “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and many more. To have a renewed mind is to have the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ is our access into the realm of eternity.
Our being raised up with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus is vertical movement (Ephesians 2:6). It is not that we are lifted up off the earth, but we are ascending from glory to glory (II Corinthians 3:18). If you are beginning to see the vertical movement in the Word of God, if you are becoming aware of the realm of eternity - even if only a very little – then the process of your mind being renewed has begun and you are ascending. When you start taking everything you previously thought God was going to do in the future and accept them as a present reality, then you are thinking with the mind of Christ. The fleshly mind of man cannot operate in that way.
It can’t be a pretend thing. It has to be a reality. You cannot discipline your mind to think in the Christ-realm. It has to be renewed – transformed!
Copyright © 2004 by Henry DuBose