“That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).
God has shown his loving, warmhearted kindness to us. Therefore, we can wake up shouting, “Hallelujah! God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit want to be near me.”
Every Christian will face temptations and hardships, but in the midst of our trials, we are able to abound with thanksgiving because of his everlasting kindness toward us. Paul tells us this is exactly why God has made us to sit together with Christ.
One of the great blessings that becomes ours when we are made to sit in heavenly places is that we enjoy the privilege of acceptance. “He made us accepted in [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). The Greek word for “accepted” here means highly favored. That is different from the English usage, which can be interpreted to mean “received as adequate.” This signifies something that can be endured, suggesting an attitude of, “I can live with it.” That’s not the case with Paul’s usage. His use of “accepted” translates as, “God has highly favored us.” We are very special to him because we are in our place in Christ.
You see, because God accepted Christ’s sacrifice, he now sees only one, corporate man: Christ, and those who are bound to him by faith. In short, our flesh has died in God’s eyes. How? Jesus did away with our old nature at the cross. So now, when God looks at us, he sees only Christ. In turn, we need to learn to see ourselves as God does. That means not focusing solely on our sins and weaknesses, but on the victory that Christ won for us at the cross.
The parable of the prodigal son provides a powerful illustration of the acceptance that comes when we’re given a heavenly position in Christ. You know the story: a young man took his inheritance from his father and squandered it on a sinful life. Then, once the son became completely bankrupt — morally, emotionally, and spiritually — he thought of his father and was convinced he had lost all favor with him.
The son returned to his father, repentant and broken, expecting to be rejected but his father welcomed him with open arms of forgiveness and acceptance. “His father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Experience the full blessings of your acceptance today!
We are told that Christ himself has brought us into a heavenly position with him. Yet if that is so, then many Christians are living far beneath the promises God has provided. Think about it: if we are actually living in Christ, seated with him in the throne room of heaven, how could any believer still be enslaved to his flesh? We have been given a position in him for a reason. But many in Christ’s Body have not claimed or appropriated it.
Paul says, “Which [God] worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:20-22).
Most Christians don’t have any difficulty believing Christ is there. We preach, “Jesus is even now on the throne. He’s above all principalities and powers, far beyond Satan’s reach.” Yet we find it hard to accept the following truth: “[God has] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). We can believe Christ is already in the heavenly position, seated with the Father. But we can’t accept that we’re also seated there, in the very same throne room. Yet, Jesus himself already told us, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
To many, this sounds like a fantasy, some theological illusion: “You mean that I don’t have to live my life being hot and cold, up and down? I can keep my intimacy with Christ intact?”
Yes, absolutely! Paul declares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Notice that Paul says all spiritual blessings are bestowed in the throne room. All the riches of Christ are available to us there: steadfastness, strength, rest, ever-increasing peace.
Paul makes it crystal clear: to have the blessings of Christ flow through us, we must be seated with Christ in the throne room of heaven! The only way to the throne-life is by way of a living sacrifice: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
Growing up I never fully appreciated the mantle my father, David Wilkerson, wore in his role as a “watchman.” He spent hours wrestling with God over the difficult sermons he delivered regarding the subject of judgment. As a young man I failed to understand the purpose of prophetic messages. My Bible was filled with underlined passages about grace, peace, and the unity of Christians, not judgment, wrath, and societal chaos.
As Christians, we know our hope doesn’t rest in this world. Right now, the enemy is stoking violence, and troubles have come to our cities more visibly than ever. Some of this is racial, some of it is economic. Satan has gained a foothold through violence, but he never settles for that — he always seeks to kick the door in and take over completely. And I believe he wants all-out war in the streets.
I tremble as I say this. Yet this is just one result of societies that turn themselves over to godlessness. When evil is called good, and good evil, God allows judgment to fall. He doesn’t do this to destroy but so that we may recognize the evil we’ve allowed and turn our hearts and hope back to him.
“Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1). Paul doesn’t say this to scare us. He attributes it all to the sin of the human heart: “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (3:2-5).
That is quite a list of sins. Yet Paul is talking not only to the world but also to us Christians: “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
Satan will continue to spew forth death and only one thing can resist his hell on earth: a church that is able to stand up and speak God’s Word boldly with integrity. Without a holy presence in this darkening world, the world will never know an alternative. Our mission is to preach the gospel of peace and justice, to bring hope where there is fear, and to restore life where it has been destroyed.
It's time to seek the Lord’s face and call on heaven to see a spiritual awakening in our society.
“I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:7-8). David is essentially declaring, “God is always present before me and I’m determined to keep him present in my thoughts. He faithfully guides me day and night. I don’t ever become confused.”
Some Christians say, “The Lord never speaks to me. I don’t ever hear his voice.” I sincerely question this. How can we state that God’s Spirit lives and works in us, yet he doesn’t speak to us? If we say we live and walk in the Spirit — if he is ever-present in our heart, always at our right hand ready to direct our lives — then he wants to converse with us. He desires a dialogue; hearing from us and speaking into our lives.
Perhaps you’re afraid of listening to the “inner voices.” You think you’ll end up being deceived by your flesh, or worse, by the enemy. This is certainly a valid concern for every servant of Jesus. After all, the devil spoke to Christ himself. And he speaks to the holiest of God’s people today.
But all too often, such caution becomes a paralyzing fear that prevents many Christians from launching out in faith, trusting God’s Spirit to faithfully guide their steps. The truth is, those who spend time in God’s presence learn to distinguish his voice from all others. Jesus said of himself, “The sheep follow [the shepherd], for they know his voice … My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:4, 27).
We have a safeguard: Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will never let Satan deceive any saint who trusts fully in his abiding presence. He promises to speak clearly to all who commune daily with him. By contrast, if we don’t step out in faith — if we refuse to trust in the Lord’s guiding presence — we are sure to fall into deception. Why? Because if we don’t allow His Spirit to speak to us, the only voice we will rely on is that of our flesh.
God wants to speak to you today. He may do it through his Word, through a godly friend, or through the Spirit’s still, small voice, whispering, “This is the way, walk in it.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1). What a marvelous word — it’s just overwhelming. God is telling us, “Because of my Word, you will never have to fear. You can have peace like a river and a heart filled with gladness.”
The Lord knows we all face deep needs and troubles. We all encounter turmoil, temptations, times of confusion that cause our souls to quake. God’s message for us here in Psalm 46 is meant for just such times. Of all his wonderful promises, Psalm 46 is the one word we need to obtain his peace like a river.
God has promised us, “In your time of trouble — when you face a persistent, ever-present evil — I will be your very present help.” The phrase “very present” means “always here, always available, with unlimited access.” In short, the abiding presence of the Lord is always with us. And if he is present in us, then he wants continual conversation with us. He wants us to talk with him no matter where we are: on the job, with family, with friends, even with non-believers.
Scripture says, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). It does not matter what the devil brings against us, God’s power in his people will always be greater than Satan’s assaults.
This verse from Isaiah actually refers to the flag-bearer who rode ahead of Israel’s army. The Lord always led his people into battle behind his own mighty standard. Likewise today, God has a glorious army of heavenly hosts who ride forth under his banner, ready to execute his battle plans on our behalf.
How does God bring us help in our troubles? His help comes in the gift of his Holy Spirit, who dwells in us and works the Father’s will in our lives. Paul tells us again and again that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the Lord’s dwelling place on earth.
You don’t have to work up some emotion in order to hear from God. The Lord says, “I abide in you; I am present for you, night and day.”