The apostle Paul wrote, in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
That scripture means that if our faith is in Jesus Christ for our salvation, by God’s reckoning, you and I were participants in those very experiences the Lord Jesus had.
God sees us as crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, ascended with Christ, and seated with Him in glory.
In no way does that mean that you or I had anything to do with the payment for our sins.
We all were under the curse and no one under the curse can satisfy the demands of God's holiness. God has always demanded a blood sacrifice for sin. But because God identified us with Christ in His death, all of the righteousness that His sacrifice brought about is credited to our account and consequently becomes our possession. God never sees the believer in Jesus Christ apart from His Son.
1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
It doesn’t go into detail here as to what it means to be baptized into Christ. But Romans chapter 6 gives us the details of what this involves.
In John 14:16-17, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with them and in them. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
Jesus again promised, in John 14:20, that He would be in His disciples. “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And then, in verse 23, He promised that God the Father Himself would also take up residence in all believers. “Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
This is not something we need to set out to prove. It’s a special revelation. We are indwelled by the triune God and all that His Son has done is credited to our account.
Romans 6:3 states that we have been joined to Christ in His death by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
From birth to the grave, Jesus faced constant death threats, but His death by crucifixion wouldn’t come about until “His hour had come.” He accepted His death as an act of obedience to the Father.
When Jesus observed the Passover on the day before His crucifixion, He knew that He was “the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world,” and as such, would be sacrificed.
He considered going to the cross a joy because He was being obedient to His Father. Hebrews 12:2a. “ Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.”
The believer is justified in Christ, and the basis of that justification is through the sinless shed blood of Christ. God sees us as righteous because we are in Christ, so His righteousness became our righteousness.
God doesn’t ask us to understand it or explain it, only to believe it.
Another great benefit of Christ’s death on the cross for the believer is that God sees us as resurrected with Christ. Romans 6:5 tells us that not only were we crucified with Christ, but when Christ was resurrected, we were in Him and thereby resurrected with Him.
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Christ’s resurrection did not limit Him to the physical sphere of this world as it did Lazarus in his resurrection. Jesus entered into a new and heavenly sphere. Through faith in Christ, we also enter into that new sphere to live our life. Galatians 2:20. “It is not I who lives; it is Christ who lives in me.”
Therefore, the Christian life is the life of Christ lived out in the believer, and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, enables this.
God not only sees us as crucified and resurrected but when Jesus ascended into heaven and was seated at God’s right hand, God sees us there, too.
Our destiny is so sure that God sees us as already with Christ in glory! Ephesians 2:4-6: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5. even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Here again, we see that God sees the believer in Jesus Christ as crucified with His Son, resurrected with Him, and seated in the heavenly places with Him.
While we are down here laboring through the maze of this world, God has already established our destiny and our destination. We are one with Christ and in Christ; how can we not be where He is? And the riches that belong to Christ are also yours and mine.
Jesus promised, in John 14:2-3, “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
And, in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Those Scriptures are telling us where we will be spiritually and the state we will be in. When Jesus comes for us, either by death or by the Rapture, we will stand in the presence of the glorified One, sharing that glory.
Our position “in Christ” is not something we can explain in natural terms. It’s a fact to be believed because God’s Word says that is how He sees us.
If we are saved, we are “in Christ,” and have already been transformed into a new creation, ready to meet Christ when He comes to claim His own. 2 Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
However, until Jesus does come back for us, or we go to be with Him, we can expect to be embattled in spiritual warfare with Satan. Romans 8:37-39. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, nothing can reverse that fact. However, Satan doesn’t give up on us when we get saved. On the contrary, he redoubles his effort to try to regain us for his kingdom.
We need to understand the history and the nature of the conflict between God and Satan before we commence our spiritual warfare. The basic principle is this: everything we see in the visible, natural realm is controlled by things in the supernatural, invisible realm.
There will be moves by God and countermoves by Satan, the great imitator. We find this throughout the Old Testament. God makes the first move and Satan counters with his move.
God made the first move when He created the angels. Lucifer, a high ranking angel we know as Satan, countered by rebelling against God, as recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15, and took one-third of the angels with him, as recorded in Revelation 12:4.
God countered that move by creating man in His own image, and "a little lower than the angels." Psalm 8:5.
Satan countered that move by convincing Adam and Eve to disobey God and to follow him, giving Satan control over the earth.
But God countered by providing a blood bought redemptive covering for Adam and Eve so they could return to fellowship with Him.
Satan tried to counter that move by getting Cain to kill Abel. His motive was to cut off the godly line.
That's when God countered through the birth of Seth, so that “men began to call on the name of the LORD.” Genesis 4:26.
Satan tried to counter that move through the birth of Nimrod. Nimrod built the civilizations of Babylon and Syria and gathered the people at the Tower of Babel to build a civilization and a religion in defiance of God. Genesis 11:1-9.
But God countered with a move to Ur of the Chaldeans to call a man named Abram through whom He would establish a nation that would worship Him, the Nation of Israel.
However, Satan countered that move by getting those people trapped in slavery in Egypt so that Pharaoh wouldn’t let them worship God.
God countered again by sending Moses to give Pharaoh the message, “Let my people go,” Exodus. 5:1.
The entire Old Testament is move, countermove, move, countermove, as Satan battled the work of God in this spiritual warfare acted out on earth.
Now don't get the wrong idea from that. Spiritual warfare is not a battle between two equal forces. God is the Creator. Satan is the created one. His eventual defeat was announced in Genesis 3:15, where God promised that One would come who would crush Satan. That One is Jesus. And when God made that move, God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. Satan tried to counter that move by tempting Jesus to worship him while He was in the wilderness. Jesus overcame that through the use of God's Word. Then Satan made a fatal move at the cross, thinking he had gotten rid of Jesus. But God countered that move by raising Jesus from the dead.
And that move became our move! No matter what was going on in the world, the resurrection of Jesus was God's move, and now it's our move in this spiritual warfare.
Now it’s up to us to make that victory real in our life by first putting on the whole armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-18. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 13. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15. and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18. praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”
The key to knowing that this is spiritual warfare is in verse 12.
It’s been said that “Christians are too demon conscious.” The problem is, most of us are not demon conscious enough. Demons are actual spirits and our battle is against the demonic forces of Satan.
I believe in Satan and demons and angels because they are scriptural.
Our real enemies are “spiritual hosts of wickedness” who are the demons who tempt us to follow Satan. People are not our problem. Wicked spirits are our problem.
We may think people are the problem because they're what we see, feel, touch, and hear. But people are just one of the many avenues Satan uses to conduct the battle going on in the spiritual realm. They definitely affect us on earth, but they originate “in the heavenly places,” because that’s where God sees us. If He saw us in the earthly state, they would originate on earth.
John 4:24 tells us that “God is Spirit,” and spiritual warfare is a battle in the invisible spiritual world and it is responsible for the battles in the visible physical world.
If we don’t know how to deal with the spiritual realm, we can't counteract wrong in the physical realm. Man’s attempts to govern the nations of the world are prime examples of that fact.
In Ephesians, Paul uses the term "heavenly places" to describe where the Christian's activities are.
For example, our spiritual blessings originate in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Everything spiritual that God is going to do for us is located in these unseen places.
In Ephesians 1:20, Paul wrote that God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the “heavenly places.”
Ephesians 2:6, also states we are seated “in the heavenly places,” and that’s where we are in God’s sight.
We read, in Ephesians 3:10, “that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”
Each believer is part of the church. It’s through us the wisdom of God is made known to Satan and his demons so we are very much involved in this, and every believer in Jesus Christ has at least one helper angel assigned to them for this reason. Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”
Let’s look at all of this again.
Our blessings are in the spiritual realm.
Jesus is seated there.
We are seated with Him.
Our angelic help is located in the heavenly realms.
We read previously, in Ephesians 6:12, the forces of darkness are also located in the spiritual realm. Their job is to try to cause all kinds of spiritual chaos in our life.
I believe Satan has assigned a demon to every Christian to try to get his way in that person's life and the demonic realm knows our weak spots. The devil knows what will mess up our thinking and what sinful patterns we have developed. Satan will exploit to the fullest our sins and weaknesses that can cause us to live in spiritual defeat.
We are in a battle being waged in the spiritual world, but Satan wants us to try to deal with it in the physical world. The devil wants to limit us to the world of our five senses. He knows that if we function only on the basis of what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, we can't make any real progress in our spiritual warfare.
That’s why the Bible says we have to take our stand against the devil's schemes. He's a thief and a murderer who wants to rob us of the spiritual blessings God has stored up for us and to kill our joy, our witness, and our impact for Christ.
The devil wants us to focus on the physical realm so we don't use the armor of God against him and his forces in the realm that really matters, the spiritual realm.
When we focus on the physical realm, we start seeing other people as the problem and we start blaming them.
Take for example Adam. When God confronted Adam in the Garden, his first words were “that woman you gave me.”
Sometimes we come to believe that the answer to our need is found in some self-help program. Or by changing locations and finding a new job. Or, in many cases, a new spouse. But these things don’t work.
At times, God does allow Satan to test our faith through no fault of our own, much as He did Job and Daniel, and his three companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Most of the time Satan’s attacks come because we drop our guard in our stand against him.
Even though Satan was crushed at the cross and at the empty tomb, he is still very active today. The only reason Satan could take over planet Earth is because Adam and Eve gave him that right by disobeying God and obeying him instead.
If the devil has already been defeated by Christ, and if we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm, and if our real battle is in the heavenly realm, surely our weapons for the battle have to come from that realm.
Paul wrote, in Ephesians 6, that the armor of God is spiritual. That means we can't fight Satan in our own strength and with man’s ideas. We have to fight in God’s power. Use that spiritual armor. Put it on and “stand our ground,” (Ephesians. 6:13.) “Stand our ground” means stay where we are, and we are in Christ. Don't let the devil have his way in our lives.
The fact is there is evil all around us and the battle is raging all around us. But standing our ground, clothed in the armor of God, gives us the victory because we are under the protective covering of God.
It's like being in a big shelter with hard rain hitting all around us. We’re safe as long as we stay in the shelter. Step out of that shelter and we're going to get pelted.
Jesus defeated Satan by His death and resurrection, but Satan is still active in the world. As we saw earlier, no matter what Satan tries, God has a counter measure. The devil's schemes can't harm us as long as we are standing firm in Jesus.
If you have put your trust in Jesus for your salvation,
God sees you as being in Jesus in the safety of the heavenly realm.