“[God] raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world [age] but also in the world [age] to come.” —Ephesians 1:20-21, NLT
A question for you: How can Jesus rule over something both present and future?
He is not limited in the ways we are. We have a hard time reigning over our emotions during the morning commute.
The Present Age is where sin reigns and everything is disintegrating.
It began with the Fall in Genesis 3; as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they experienced spiritual alienation from God, emotional alienation within, social alienation from others, and physical alienation from creation. (They were defeated and dejected in every area of life, in place of where they were created to experience joy, peace, and harmony.)
In other words, the present age is when everything is falling apart (eventually) — spiritually and emotionally, socially and physically. Social alienation from one another, and physical alienation from nature/the created world. (Psalm 96 helps us see about what the created world will experience when all things are made right and God heals it.)
The Age to Come will be where total victory is complete. It is both when and where,’ in that when Christ fills all things and we are complete in Him, and the whole created order has been judged and redeemed, then we will be fully in God’s glorious presence.
When Jesus came to earth He brought the power of the age to come, so we can experience it now. In Ephesians 2:6 we read that when we are in Christ we are now seated with Him (in the place of victory we will enjoy in the age to come). Victory is eventual and future, but it is now present and real. We stand in victory as we stand in Christ, for He stands in total victory.
Right now we live between these two ages. We see glimpses of what ‘shall be,’ and even hope for that world to enter our world. The only way we will live with the hope of the world to come is if we are enthralled with the One who is our Victory. Jesus won the fight against sin, Satan, and death. He purchased the life to come by completing the life that is. He is the one we believe in. Our imperfect faith is in the Perfect Savior. As Tim Keller reminds us, “We are not saved because of the quality of our faith but because of the object of our faith.”
Jesus is the one who has redeemed, is redeeming, and one day will redeem all things according to His good pleasure. We cannot want one aspect of this without the others. So, for the person who ‘trusts’ Jesus for eternal life but lives as if this life is all there is — that person does not have Jesus ruling over his or her life. (He is not actively saving this person today, so has this person been saved? Seems like that person will go on trusting in their decision to believe in Jesus, but not actually believe in Jesus.) For that person there is no victory now, so how shall there be victory awaiting in the life to come?
When we recognize how we are alienated from God (in every way possible) through own own choices and desires, and that this dysfunction leads our social alienation from others whom we were designed to love, we will come to realize how broken our whole lives really are. We will begin to recognize what an emotional wreck we are (I am). So, we turn to Jesus. Today. Right now. And again this afternoon, and tomorrow morning. Every day, and every moment we recognize our continual need. We’re disintegrating. He is bringing us back together, reconciling us to God and making us whole. He is our victory. He rules our hearts today. One day He will right all things and rule the world the way it’s meant to be.
That’s how He is able to rule all things in this age and in the age to come.
(Some of these notes from Gospel in Life — Witness: An Alternate City)Photo Credit: lucianotb