Last week we begin a six-part series on the New Testament Book of Ephesians—a book that begins with a glorious list of God’s blessings and a peek at his glorious attributes. But Ephesians also warns us about a real character named Satan. He rebelled against the Lord of Glory, and cast this world into darkness—an eclipse of the light of God’s kingdom. During this brief moment of cosmic history God is permitting his divine glory to be eclipsed by our enemy, Satan. But the outcome is not in doubt. The victory was won 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem called “Golgotha”. During this stage of history, there is a battle going on in a realm called “the heavenly places”—a concept that is critical for you to understand if you wish to live a successful Christian life. That’s where Satan and demons are lurking and active, but God and Jesus also are there, and all of our spiritual blessings are there (Ephesians 1:3, 20 and 6:12). In the dim light of this spiritual eclipse that engulfed our world, nothing is as it seems. Satan is our true enemy, but he tricks us into thinking that our struggles are against the flesh-and-blood people in our lives: our spouses, our children, our bosses and coworkers, our siblings, parents, and neighbors. Our weapons for fighting our true enemy, Satan, also don’t look like what we typically think of as weapons. Satan’s main technique is deception and accusation, and so the weapons we use against his lies are the truths of the gospel. God chose us for salvation before the world was made! In Christ we are declared “holy”—even though we still sin! We already have every spiritual blessing which exists.
Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers so that they can’t see the truth of the gospel, so that they will not be saved (2 Corinthians 4:4). To unbelievers, biblical truths appear foolish. But the human condition is even more serious than spiritual blindness; we all start out spiritually dead, and obeying the devil (no matter how moral someone appears) Ephesians 2:1- 3. According to 2:11-12, we were excluded, disenfranchised, godless and hopeless. But the most hopeful two words in Ephesians occur right after he says all those dark, dismal things: “but God” (2:4)! In fact, Paul said that the Christians in Ephesus were no longer dead and alienated form God. Paul called “saints” (1:1). We were dead, and enslaved to Satan. But those who have trusted in Christ as Savior, are made alive and are raised up, with Christ. Why would God do such a kind, costly thing for rebels such as us? Because he is rich in mercy; because of his great love for us. Throughout eternity this will show-off the surpassing riches of God’s grace in kindness (2:4-7).
But there’s more! God has seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (2:6)! There’s a lot going on in those “heavenly places”:  Satan and demons are there,  God and Jesus are there,  we are there,  all of our spiritual blessings are there, and  all of our struggles are there. All of this is spiritual—invisible. But we who have believed are no longer blind (2 Corinthians 4:4). We believe what God says. We see with the eyes of faith, so we see Jesus in a way that spiritually blind, unbelieving people don’t. Have you crossed over from death to life? Are you seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus? Are you enriched with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places? All of our struggles are spiritual at root, but a spiritually alive person fights them from the place of victory—seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
The solution for our sin-problem lies beyond us; it’s impossible for us to solve. Remember: but God! Our sins need to be forgiven by God—nailed to Christ’s cross—for us to cross over from death to life (Colossians 2:13-14). Our only role in this is faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is not of ourselves, not as a result of works, so none of us may boast. Faith means “trust”, “confidence”. It is nothing that we do. Ephesians shows that faith is not of us, not a result of our works, not our own merit. Nothing. Zero. If you are not absolutely confident that you’ve received God’s free gift of forgiveness, cleansing, of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, don’t put it off— until you do, you’re blinded by Satan and enslaved to do his will.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- If you are not absolutely confident that you’ve received God’s free gift of forgiveness, cleansing, of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, read Would You Like to Know God Personally? If you have an unsaved loved-on, prayerfully and lovingly take the initiative to share it with them.
- Review the five truths about who and what are “in the heavenly places”. Make sure that you believe what God says about this invisible realm; it holds the key to all spiritual victory.