English 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Just two points today:
1. Everything Paul is saying is in the past tense. We are already "seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus". This is difficult to process. When I look around, I don't see anything that looks like the throne room of God. There is a lot of beauty around me, but not THAT beauty. Paul's point isn't that spirituality reality is some kind of fantasy world in which we deny the reality around us. Instead we acknowledge a higher and deeper reality that is behind and above everything we see around us.
If we go on a journey, for example, if we get in my car to drive to Chennai, we can get on a road just about 100 yards from our home and don't have to change roads to get all the way to our destination. As long as I don't make any wrong turns, and stay on that highway, we'll get to our desired end. But we don't know for certain we'll reach there until we've arrived. There are many events that might interrupt the trip. I could get sick and be unable to drive. We could have a flat tire. The car could break down on the way. Our arrival is not inevitable.
In the Kingdom of God, time is different. God lives outside of time. For Him our departure from Earth and arrival in heaven are simply varied points on a completed journey. The outcome is certain.
For us, the journey is in process. For God we are already there. For us there are possible sidetracks that may prevent the desired conclusion-the outcome is a question mark. For God there are no unanswered questions.
This is related to the resurrection. For us, as soon as we are conceived the process of life as well as death is initiated. Even while we are knit together in the womb of our mother, the elements that will bring our lives to an inevitable end have started. We are born to die. Yet Paul said we have been raised with Christ.
For us, we are still on earth, making mistakes, getting distracted. For God, we are His colleagues in the heavenly business of joy. This is the final purpose for which He has called us. Yet there are many steps to getting to that final purpose-and those steps are the purpose for which He placed us on this planet.
2. We are here for a purpose.
We are His workmanship. Literally, we are His work of art. Art is created for the purpose of communication. Traditionally, the message was conveyed from the artist to the art consumer. Some recent art claims to have no purpose, so that that observer or consumer of the work creates the meaning herself. But God has a message to give the world through us-and that message is His character. We are created to reflect His glory, His love, His goodness, His truth, His mercy. We are God's love letter to the world, written as the poetry of God, and that poem has the story of His love. He invites us to cooperate in the creation of this magnificent and grand work.