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

My theology professor told me a story one time about this piece of scripture. He says this is a story about grace. A man who’s late for work so rushes to his car and starts the mad dash to get there as soon as possible. He’s speeding along and as he’s cruising down the road the red and blue appear in the rear view mirror and he gets a horrible sick feeling in his stomach. He can’t afford a ticket and all of it on top of being late for work. The officer tells him the speed limit was exceeded by 40 miles an hour, hands him a citation and moves on. No matter how you feel about it, the law is broken. So he goes to court to see what can be done. The judge says I’ve thought a lot about it, I see you’ve gotten a couple tickets in the past. I’ve decided to forgive your traffic violation. He replies “thank you,” ” I really appreciate it” and go to leave. Then that same judge pulls him aside and says “Listen I’ve been really thinking. I want to do something for you. I’m fairly well off, here’s a blank check write in there the amount you need to pay off the rest of your car and your bills for the next month.” The man flips his lid. This was amazing. Then the judge says, hey I’ve got a nice house with a pool, we’re going to be grilling out this weekend feel free to come, don’t worry about bringing anything unless you want to bring some friends. The man takes the judge up on his offer and arrives with some friends and the judge provides and his family provide a steak dinner for everyone as they welcome everyone into their home.

Obviously this would never ever happen, but it illustrates something very important. This is a story of mercy and grace. The man broke the law and deserved to be punished. In some states it’s enough to spend the night in jail. The judges chooses to not give the man something he deserves. That’s mercy. Then though he begins to act like a crazy person and gives the man things he doesn’t deserve. That’s what grace is and God gave it to us.

Paul says in that scripture we are seated with him the heavenly places. In English we have a past present and future tense but in greek the originally language it was written in has a bit more flexibility. The tense that this word is in a tense that means now and forever. In other words, when we were saved there was no question whether we were with God and he would give us more than we deserved. It is something permanent.

I grew up in church and constantly felt as if I was either in or out of Jesus’ good graces. I did something good or asked for forgiveness, I was in. Sin, and I was out. But that’s not how he operates. He knows how bad we are, how awful our deeds are. He chose to come and spare us anyway. Then he gave us a place with Jesus Christ, seated with him. It doesn’t matter what you do he’s the one that did all the work. Nothing can change that. Another professor of mine said something that has never left me. “You’re never more righteous than the moment that Jesus saves you because at that moment he covers you with his righteousness.” This week we talked about the blessed assurance. I am sure that my savior saved me and in his grace nothing can take that away.

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