“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4)
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:5)
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:6)
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)
For some people, watching television is a way of keeping up with the news and the world events. They rely on it for reports of weather, sports, and other current happenings. But most people rely on television-watching for entertainment purposes – sports, movies, game shows, sit-coms. In all respects, television has a prominent place in our lives. Of course, much of modern television programming is focused on holding your attention rather that entertaining you. But if we were to make a study of older programs, we may be able to learn a life lesson, or surprisingly, a spiritual truth.
When I was younger, a favorite television program was “The Beverly Hillbillies.” For those readers too young to remember, the show followed the antics of a family of mountain folk who accidently discover a deposit of crude oil on their property. Of course, great wealth and riches ensue; and the family is convinced that “Californy is the place you oughta be,” since that’s where rich people live. Proving that a change of environment and circumstances does not always affect a change of character, our hillbilly hosts entertain us with their backwoods ways in the midst of big city living.
Now, many of you are wondering where the Spiritual Truth is in this scenario. What do the saints of God have to do with a family of country folk who have received great wealth without earning it or knowing what to do with it?
I’m glad you asked.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:16-17)
“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5)
As Children of God, we are joint-heirs with Christ. We have inherited a Kingdom, with all its riches and glory, “…the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). No good work could earn this inheritance, because it is a gift of God’s Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). And so we recognize its unearned, unmerited quality. We meet this gift of grace with rejoicing, because God has taken an unwarranted action to meet us with His love. Much like the Beverly Hillbillies, we were in a state of spiritual poverty, “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1); but God has bestowed the abundance of His riches on us.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” (Colossians 1:12)
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Colossians 1:13)
The Bible tells us that, as Children of God and joint-heirs with Christ, we are made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God has “translated us” into His Kingdom; with all the riches, rights, and responsibilities of our position in Christ. We have been delivered from the power of darkness, sin, and death; and we have been ushered into the glorious light of Jesus Christ! Sin and death has no more dominion over us, as we now sit in heavenly places, ruling with Christ, as we are seated with Him in His throne (Revelation 3:21). Praise the Lord; this is a present reality with progressive realization as we grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt [a type of the world, sin, death, and destruction], to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” (Deuteronomy 4:20)
As a present reality with progressive realization, our position in Christ is one which grants us immediate Life in the Blood Atonement and Spirit Baptism. But there is a yet further abundance of Life (John 10:10) which comes in our daily walk with the Lord as we experience His grace sufficient for every need, and His power to perform His work. We mature as Children of God, becoming perfect even as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Sadly, many of us make this transition into our place of riches much like the Beverly Hillbillies. We pack up all our old junk and bring it with us into our New Life, fully expecting to need it and falsely evaluating its worth.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
While there was comic value to the Beverly Hillbillies’ attempts to maintain their old way of living in their new life; there is nothing humorous about a Child of God who, acting like a Heavenly Hillbilly, tries to maintain his Old-Man ways in his New-Man Kingdom. We have been delivered from darkness and made to sit in heavenly places. With our New Life comes new desires (to please God); new friends (the Household of Faith); new perspectives (spiritual discernment); new habits (praising God and loving the brethren) – in all points we become a New Creature. Our heart, our affections, should seek those heavenly things, where we are seated with Christ on the right hand of God.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” (Hebrews 12:28)
In summary, we have seen that God, in His Sovereign plan and purpose, has chosen us, the unworthy and sinful. Through His grace, He has given us spiritual life, an inheritance with Christ, and a position of privilege and authority in Christ’s Kingdom. We’ve been delivered from the power of darkness; and now glory in the Light of Christ. This position and privilege is a present fact with a progressive effect as we are conformed to His image. But rather than give diligence to this growth process, many of us are held back by our old-man weights and besetting sins – we are hanging on to our old junk, living below our position in Christ.
Child of God, does this sound like your New Life in Christ? Are you still hanging on to your past fears, doubts, worries, shames, and habits? If so, there is comfort and assurance in Christ. Are you still hanging on to your pet sins, allowing them to run wild in your life? If so, there is deliverance in Christ. Are you soiled by unclean living? If so, there is cleansing in Christ. Rather than continuing to live like Heavenly Hillbillies, let’s throw away all our old junk and begin to live like citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom, realizing the riches of our inheritance in the saints of God.