"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4)
As Christians we look forward to a time when Jesus will come back for us and we are united with him. We frequently sing songs to that end... "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!" While it is okay to look forward to this time, the reality is, that we have already been united with Christ and we are currently living a new life in Him. The Bible teaches that these things concerning a new glorious life are past tense. Meaning that they have already happened and we are living a present tense version of this truth. Born again believers currently have a new life in Christ Jesus, it is not something we are waiting for.
Paul teaches us in Romans, that when we died with Christ, we were also raised with him. This took place the moment that you accepted Christ as your Savior. He said the same thing in Ephesians 2, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus..." ( Ephesians 2:4-6 ). Ephesians concurring that this event happened in the past and is not something we are waiting for when we all get to heaven.
I remember the first time I read this and took notice of it. It caused me to stop and meditate on these verses until I understood what Paul was saying. Understanding came when I looked at these passages with spiritual eyes because that is the only way for this to make sense. Understand that there is more to life than just what you can see, touch and experience in the natural world. We are made up of one-third spirit, one-third soul and one-third body. ( I Thessalonians 5:23 ) Now your body is just the physical shell of who you are. It will go along with whatever you let rule you. Your soul, for simplicities sake is your consciousness. Your attitude, your thoughts, your personality, it is everything that makes you unique. Your spirit is what gives you life. It is the part of you that is sealed and redeemed and raised with Christ and seated in the heavenly realm. When you are born again, you currently possess this new spirit of Christ and if you currently possess it, then you have it. If your spirit was raised with Christ to newness of life, then so are you. It is one-third of your make -up.
Therefore, since this is accomplished in your spirit, you cannot look at what you can see. You have to go along with what you know to be true. For instance, do you feel saved or do you know? If I look at the physical realm then I look like a filthy sinner. That is why I cannot look there to know that I am born again. I have to look into the my spirit and see the righteousness that God has bestowed upon me. Then, I can look in to the word and confirm what I know in my spirit. I know it is who I am because the Bible tells me so. If I rely on feelings and letting them dictate what I know, then I am in trouble. I will doubt my salvation, I will question whether or not I'm worthy of it, I will focus in the areas that I fail constantly. But if I am settled and assured in the truth of what God has said, then physical circumstances do not matter... you can't talk me out of the fact that I am saved. Overall, the church has done a good job of teaching this, so that we understand when we ask Christ into our lives, we are saved and our circumstances and unworthiness do not matter.
However, this same process is true for this truth. The fact is, you have been raised with Christ Jesus and are seated with him in the heavenly realm. You have a new life through association with him. If I look around and decide this isn't true because of what you see, then you will get into unbelief and doubt and that will keep you from experiencing this new life that Paul is talking about. In your spirit, you are raised with Christ and have new life. To the degree that you think, believe, and act like who you are in your spirit, to that degree you will experience the life of Christ in your flesh as well.
There is no need to sing a song celebrating a future event that has already taken place. We can look forward to heaven, but God wants us to experience eternal life right now on this earth. Jesus said in John 17:3, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." ( John 17:3 ) and since we can experience Jesus, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in this world, then we can rejoice in where we are right now, seated with Christ and made alive through his death on the cross. We don't have to wait until we get to heaven to experience this.
So how do we practice this? Paul said in Colossians, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3) We can experience this resurrection life that Paul describes by adjusting our minds and setting our hearts on kingdom things, where Christ is the center. And then you will see the result of this truth in the natural realm. See how important this is? Today, I pray that you are so blessed by this revelation. May it change your entire life. God bless you!
Original article published October 15, 2009.