4 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, 7 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 NKJV)
The conjunction, ‘but’ in this passage is important for all believers. It signals that God did not leave us to ourselves- dead and depraved. The conjunction, ‘but’ signifies a shift, an intervention. It is God alone who took dead men like you and me and made us alive in Christ. God intervened to show us the exceeding riches of His grace and because of His great love for you and me. We possess all that Christ accomplished for us.
Because God raised Christ us, we will be raised up. Because Christ is seated in the heavenly places, we too will be seated in the heavenly places. And this is not our own doing. We do not deserve this kind of treatment and we never will. God hasn’t dealt kindly with us because we are His treasure or because we deserve it. He has dealt kindly with us because of Jesus Christ alone. God is graciously giving us everything Christ deserves, and He gave Christ everything we deserve- punishment and wrath for sin. So believer, praise God today for dealing with you according to His only begotten Son and live in response to His kindness.
Joey Tomlinson (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, and pastor at a local church in Newport News, Virginia. He blogs regularly on broadoakpiety.org and hosts a weekly podcast called The Broad Oak Piety Podcast with another local pastor in the community.