“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Okay, I know this isn’t a Christmas passage or an Advent passage. But I was reading this Scripture this morning and something hit me that I’ve never thought about. Paul is praying that Christians know the extent of God’s power that is available to us. That power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him above everything.
Up to this moment, the “old tapes” have been rolling in my head and I have understood this reference to God’s power as simply raising Jesus physically from the dead and then taking him to heaven. But this is a reference to the New Creation. The resurrection of the dead was the inaugural event that launched God’s New Age. So Paul is actually referring to God’s power not simply raising a single man from the dead, but the power exerted to launch his future New Creation within the present and enthroning Jesus as King over every principality and power in heaven and earth. That “New Creation” power is “his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
How is that power for us? God’s power has inaugurated and planted God’s New Creation in our present. The center of that reality is Jesus’ enthronement in the heavenly realms. His enthronement is key, especially as it straddles both this age and the one to come. Jesus’ enthronement in the heavenly realms places him over everything for the church, which is his body on earth. In other words, God’s power for us enables God’s people to be the actual embodiment of Jesus’ Kingship on earth as it is in heaven. As we live empowered to be the fullness of King Jesus on earth, we are the continual influence of God’s New Creation within this creation; God’s New Age within this age; the heavenly King’s ambassadors in his outlying colonies on earth.
That’s why everything Paul has said previously in Ephesians 1 is so important. God has blessed his people in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. These blessings flow from the center of that reality in the heavenly realms — Christ’s enthronement — and enable us to be the human embodiment of the New Creation within the old. We are chosen before creation to be God’s holy and blameless stewards, adopted back into God’s family to be his sons/representatives/image-bearers. In order to do this, we have been redeemed and forgiven — rescued from our exile and back into our proper vocation. And he has revealed to us the ultimate context of that vocation, the New Creation in which all things in heaven and earth are brought together and resynchronized under Christ.
That’s why having believed the royal proclamation and good news of Jesus’ Kingship, we are marked with the creative and re-creative breath of God’s New Creation. This is God’s “deposit” guaranteeing our inheritance as stewards of that New Creation by both shaping us and the world around us into greater expressions of that New Creation.
So as we commemorate Jesus’ incarnation this Advent season, we are also challenged to continue his incarnation and to be his body, the corporate embodiment and earthly expression of his eternal kingship until the day he reappears and earth becomes heaven’s perfect mirror.