But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7, ESV
I love reading Ephesians and feasting on the many truths Paul shares under Holy Spirit inspiration. One of those truths Paul gives us is the authority of believer.
Paul clearly communicates in Ephesians 2, that the authority of the believer is firstly, rooted solely in God’s grace bestowed on believers through Christ in God’s sovereign plan.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10, ESV)”
The authority of the believer is not: how many demons have you cast out; how many souls you’ve saved; how many sick people you’ve helped to recover; and so on. These are merely works that often become a Christian’s litmus test for spirituality, but lead to false foundations. Even Christ says in Matthew 7 that many on that day will say, “Lord, Lord, did we not…” Salvation based on works is bartering, not redemption. True authority for ministry through signs and wonders comes through understanding your position in Christ.
Paul also communicates in Ephesians 2 the value of the believer is based in Christ. We are God’s “workmanship” or “poema”. We are God’s creative pleasure. Poetry or other creative arts are a way to express and idea, emotion, or thought in creative art form. God designed us in a unique way in His image to express his ideas, emotions, and thoughts in Christ. Our natural human nature leads to death and despair. In Christ we demonstrate life, hope, love, and freedom. This expression of creativity is called Worship. Worship through singing, music, creativity, evangelism, and serving all express the abundance or overflow of God’s ideas, thoughts, and emotions that we experience in His presence.
The authority of the believer is also stated in Paul’s expression of how God has seated us with Christ in heavenly places. To sit with Christ is to submit to His authority. To sit with Christ is to trust Him. To sit with Christ is to have His vantage point or perspective. Sitting with Christ is not about our accomplishments or successes, but recognizing that our inadequacies would never allow us to take the throne at God’s right hand: only grace would unlock the door and potential found in Christ for our lives.
While seated with Christ, God provides us an opportunity to enjoy the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. What would eternal and omnipotent riches of grace look like? Not only have we enjoyed redemption, sanctification, justification, glorification, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and all of the other blessings of Christ, but for believers, there is to come additional immeasurable riches of God’s grace to be enjoyed. Heaven is heaven because of the riches. The richness of Heaven is not found in its financial worth in gold, pearls, and precious jewels, but rather in Christ himself. God has created all of these things to be enjoyable, but only the Creator himself is endless pleasure.
In order to recognize and understand our authority as believers, we must first begin where God begins with all things–Christ himself.