Eph. 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Wait a minute. What IS the exceeding greatness of His power?
Some might take the occasion of these passages to talk generally about Christ’s resurrection but I think Paul is being extremely specific here. Look at what he says. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought IN Christ, WHEN he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places… He’s talking about a power that was wrought in Christ when He was raised from the dead.
This process of resurrection was carried out for Christ by the Father through the Spirit. So what is that power that was wrought in Christ when He was raised from the dead? Resurrection life! Everlasting resurrection life! And that resurrection life was manifest in Christ when He was raised from the dead, and that manifested life is God’s demonstration to us of the exceeding greatness of His power!
But why resurrection life? Well, what can be more powerful than the power of an eternal life following a resurrection? How could we ever quantify how much power it takes to have a life that’s eternal? Who but God has the power to sustain a life that’s eternal? And that eternal life becomes ours the very moment we placed our faith in Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary as a payment for all our sins in His death, burial, and resurrection! Is that not jaw-dropping? Of course, Christ was the firstfruits of that powerful resurrection life, and that is the very same life we now possess in Him! We’re living in the power and the glory of His resurrection life already victorious over sin and death and always victorious in Christ no matter the circumstances. How? Because of our identification with Him the moment we believed.
In Romans 3-5, we’re given the gospel of the grace of God, Then, in Romans 6, we’re challenged by Paul to accept even more astounding grace doctrines by faith. We’re to reckon for ourselves the reality of everything we are now in Christ, everything the Father has made us in His Son. In Romans 6:3-4, Paul writes, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” It’s amazing to me that Paul challenges us at the beginning of Rom 6:3 by saying, “Know ye not?” He’s saying, basically, “Don’t you know? Don’t you understand? Don’t you now realize the magnitude of what Christ accomplished for you, in you, and through you by the gospel? In order for eternal life to become a reality the moment you believe, by logical necessity, you must be dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ!” And that can only be accomplished through the one baptism of the Spirit (Eph. 4:5, 1 Cor. 12:13) the moment we believe.
Paul is saying that the same tenets you accept by faith to become saved are the same tenets you accept by faith to reckon everything you are now in Christ. In other words, now that you’ve reckoned that Christ died, was buried, and resurrected for you, now go reckon that truth for yourself as being dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ. Because the very point of Christ dying on that cross is to have victory over sin and death! You have to become dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ in order for that victory to become a reality in your life the moment you believed! Identification goes hand-in-hand with the gospel because in order for you to become a new creature alive unto God freed from the bondage and condemnation of sin, you to have become dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ, which is only possible through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
So the newness of life after Christ was resurrected, that everlasting life in Christ following His resurrection IS God’s power specifically demonstrated to us-ward who believe as an assurance of our eternal life in Him, as an assurance of the new life we possess in Christ as new creatures, which was accomplished by the same power that raised Christ from the dead. And it’s that same power that raised Christ from the dead that also gave Him eternal resurrection life, power that’s beyond all comprehension, and it’s that same power that identified us with Him through the baptism of the Spirit, which manifested in us the Lord’s very resurrection life. We have His life right here, right now. These truths aren’t meant to give us an assurance of our own resurrection after death. These truths are meant to assure us of the resurrection life we already possess because of our identification with Christ through the baptism of the Spirit.
Just as God demonstrated to Israel His power in His deliverance from the Egyptians when He freed them and parted the Red Sea, so too, God demonstrated to us His power in our deliverance from the condemnation and the bondage of sin. And how did He demonstrate that power to us? In the very eternal life that was manifested in Christ when He was raised from the dead by the Father through the Holy Spirit and that power is now in you. So the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward, the power He displayed to all of us is what “he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own 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 world, but also in that which is to come.”
Of these passages, Arno Gaebelein wrote, “We lift up our eyes and behold the wonders of God’s creation, which He called into existence by His Son and for Him (Col. 1:16). Here in this Epistle another heaven is opened. If the heavens of creation are so wonderful and their depths unfathomable, how much more wonderful are the heavenlies into which Christ has entered, where He now is seated, far above all principality and power and might, and into which God’s grace has brought us in Christ!”