Devotional: Up is down
One day I found myself in an elevator in a large hotel on the ground floor which was getting ready to go up. I looked at the buttons that selected the floor and I saw that there was a button which had a letter on it ‑ the letter "B." And I was inwardly asking myself, "Well, what does "B" stand for?" It was like immediately the Holy Spirit gave me an inward answer and He said this, "'B' stands for basement, baptism and burial." And I saw it so vividly. When we step into Christ we don't begin by going up but we begin by going down. That is the whole law of spiritual progress everywhere in the universe. If you want to go up you start by going down.
We step into Christ by faith and we go down with Christ into the basement, which is baptism, which is burial. We're identified with Him in His burial, but out of His burial we enter into His resurrection. Then we just press whichever button we want and we go up to that.
Today we’ll begin to look at how this truth that I've illustrated from the elevator is more fully unfolded in various passages of the New Testament.
First of all, I'd like to turn to Ephesians chapter 2 verses 4 ‑ 6:
“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.” (NIV)
There's one key word there which is the little word "with." It's "with" Christ, "with" Christ, "with" Him. It's our identification with Christ that makes all the difference. And in the light of that identification, it says that God brings us through into three successive experiences that we share with Jesus.
The first one is God made us alive. When we were dead in transgressions and sins, God made us alive. Second, God raised us up. He resurrected us. The third, it says, "God seated us with Him ‑ still with Him." Now, where is Christ seated? We know the answer. He is seated on the throne with God. So if we are seated with Him, where are we? We're on the throne.
The New English Bible says, "God enthroned us with Him..." That's the truth. Now that's where you can go in that elevator if you press that button. "Alas," as a friend of mine said, "so many Christians never realized the possibilities that are open to them through their identification with Jesus." But Scripture has given us this that we can get a hold of. God has made us alive with Christ, He has resurrected us with Christ, and He enthroned us with Christ. In other words, when we enter into Christ through faith, when we share with Him in His burial, then we are entitled to share with Him in everything that followed burial ‑ in being made alive, in being resurrected and in being raised up to the throne of God. Isn't that amazing?
Thank You, Father, that not only am I made alive in Jesus, resurrected in Him but that I’m also raised up to Your very throne. Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for everything You’ve done for me! Help me to understand more and more, through Your Holy Spirit, what it means, so I may always live, more and more, for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!