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From Chris's Heart

March 2009
Quickened With Christ
by Nick Harris

In Revelation 3:20-21, the risen Christ speaks these words:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him... to him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne."

This verse is on my mind because, when you receive this addition of the Roar, I will have just returned from seeing the location in which the church to whom these words were spoken was located, Laodicea. As I stood in that place, these words virtually overwhelmed me.

In Revelation 3:20-21, the risen Christ astounds us by assuring us that if we are overcoming the world in this life, we will be seated together with Christ in his throne, not when we die, but now. That is the height, the apex of life for any believer. When we are seated with Christ "in" his throne, we have reached a place where the cares of this world can no longer reach us.

The question is, of course, how do we get to this place? Since it is the Easter season, the answer should be especially clear to us. It is this: to get to this place requires a series of steps. The first step is to accept the fact that we were born in a state of spiritual death. At our physical births, we were all dead "in trespass and in sin." Listen to how Paul describes us:

"And you 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 desire of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath just as the others." (Ephesians 2:1-3)

What Paul is actually saying here is this: when we were in “trespasses and in sin,” a state of spiritual death, we allowed the world to set our agendas. In this state of death, we were not the sons and daughters of God, we were, what Paul calls, the children of disobedience. In this condition we were attached to this world and the world was attached to us; we could not break free from the grasp of sin.

What that means is this: we were cut off from God. There was no communion or communication between God and us. Paul uses a poignant imagery to describe our condition: he compares it to being imprisoned. Living in the condition of sin is like living in a prison.

However, Paul explains that God did not stand outside this prison that we were in and shout at us to come out. It is a prison, so we cannot just walk out, not even if we try. And we could not free ourselves. And Satan, the warden of that prison was not about to release us.

So, what God did was this: He entered into this prison of ours with us, even though He had never broken the law Himself. He did this by becoming a human being. He came into our death row with us, and once He was inside our cellblock this is what Paul said He did:

"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 all live together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in 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." (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Here is where we see the connection between Revelation 3:20-23 and Ephesians 2:4-7. In both places we have the promise of being seated with Christ. But before this event could ever happen, there had to be a jailbreak. Before we could be seated with Christ we had to get out of this prison.

And how did He get us out of this prison? He went to the gallows, to an old rugged cross, and there He paid the debt that we owe to God. He did this for us and He did this as us. Then, after this, His Father responded by issuing a pardon to you and to me, and if we receive that pardon we can walk out of that prison as free men and women. But we must receive that pardon to be seated with Him in heavenly places. But that is not all that we must accept. We must also accept the fact that you and I were crucified on that cross with Him.

Of course, Jesus appeared to be alone on the cross, but according to the word of God, you and I were actually hanging there with Him. Do you remember the words of the apostle Paul? He writes, "I was crucified with Christ." And he was, and so were we.

We must also remember this fact: Christ was not just crucified on that cross, He also died on that cross, and when He did He paid the penalty associated with sin, and He did so forever. Also, remember this: the Sin for which He died is the condition of Sin, Sin with a capital S. It not the things we do, or fail to do, sin with a little s. It is a condition into which we were born. The penalty for being found in that condition of Sin is death---eternal death---everlasting separation from God.

What Jesus did at Calvary was this: He took our sinful condition and He took the penalty for having been found in this condition upon himself. That is what I mean when I say that Christ died for our condition of Sin. And because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for that condition, we are now “dead to Sin” as far as its penalty (death) is concerned. You see, the penalty has already been paid.

Then, when the dead body of the Lord Jesus Christ was taken down from the cross, it was buried in a tomb. But it is equally important to understand that you and I were present in that tomb with Him. We entered that tomb through our baptism into Christ, and we bear public witness to our baptism into Christ by submitting ourselves to baptism in water. It is our way of witnessing to the fact that we have been buried with Christ.

But, if we stop with our burial with Christ, we are still dead. We have been crucified, we have died, and we have been buried, but we still have no life in us. And that is where the next step comes into the picture. We need life in us, and God provided the means for us to have that life. Paul explains that fact to us in Ephesians 2:5. He writes, "But you has He quickened," or “made alive.”

The Greek verb translated into English as "quickened" or “made alive” is very interesting. It is the verb SUNEZOOPOISEO. The exact meaning is "to be re-animated," or "to have life restored in conjunction with another party." In other words, another person is responsible for that person being reanimated.

The way I would translate this word would be, "for us to have died, and then to have someone come along who gives his or her life to us so that we can live." You see, on the third day that the body of Jesus was in the tomb the Holy Spirit entered that sepulcher. Once He was there, He entered into the dead body of Jesus Christ and brought His divine life into that dead body. In other words, the Holy Spirit brought the life of God, ZOE, into the body of Jesus Christ.

So what does this have to do with you with me? Remember, now, according to Romans 6:2, we were in that tomb with Christ in a spiritual sense. There, Paul writes, "Therefore, we are buried with Him through baptism." But if we have been born for a second time, the Holy Spirit did the same thing for you and me that He did for the Lord Jesus Christ. One day, He entered into our spiritually dead bodies and placed within us the life of God, ZOE.

Suddenly we become new creations! We are born for a second time. It is the same thing as being quickened. It is then that we come to be seated with Christ "in" his throne. Happy Easter to all of you.

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