I am reading from the book of Ephesians at chapter 2 (NIV), which has a title, Made alive in Christ.In verse 6, Paul goes on to say,

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

What Does Paul mean when he says, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" ?

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    If you look at the Greek, it is not so much that we were seated, as much as it is that Christ was seated, and we were "co-seated in Him", which brings in the very controversial topic of union with Christ, what that means, and how it works.
    – Jas 3.1
    Jul 18, 2014 at 16:04
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    There's also some nice alliteration going on to tie the 3 verbs together from vv 5-6: "together made us alive...together raised us up...together made us to sit..." If I was any good at transliterating I would... It seems like they're intended to be understood together.
    – Susan
    Jul 18, 2014 at 18:40
  • @Jas3.1, what's controversial about the frankly Biblical idea of union with Christ?
    – Austin
    Mar 10 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


All people are descendants of Adam (Acts 17:26). When Adam disobeyed the Lord, he lost access to the tree of life, which would have enabled him to have lived an indefinite mortal life (Gen 3:22-23). This broken access from the presence of the Lord resulted in the eventual physical death of Adam (Gen 5:5).

All descendants of Adam therefore live imperfect, limited mortal lives. Separate from the presence of the Lord, all mortal men continue to commit offenses against both the Lord and their fellow human beings (Rom 3:10 and Rom 3:23). Although himself mortal, Jesus was the incarnation of eternal life, which was from heaven (John 1:1-3 and 1 John 1:1-3). He committed therefore no wrong against either the Lord or against his fellow human beings (2 Cor 5:21).

As such, he was qualified to be condemned for sins, since he had never been condemned by any sin of his own (2 Cor 5:21). Thus the Lord made him to be sin, and therefore he was separated from the presence of the Lord and therefore died (Mark 15:34). But because his eternal life was indestructible (Heb 7:16), death was not capable of containing him (Acts 2:24). In this respect, it was not death that had destroyed life, but eternal life that had abolished death through resurrection (2 Tim 1:10).

In this sense, Jesus reversed the condemnation incurred by Adam, and so Jesus now appears as another (second) Adam who undid or reversed what the first Adam committed. The graph, below, provides the illustration.

Please click here for the full discussion and explanation of this graph in detail.

Therefore those who believe on Jesus lose their condemnation and mortality in Adam, and share the justification and immortality of Jesus, who conquered death.

Thus the "tie in" to Jesus. Those who believe in him are no longer united to the first Adam (condemned and shamed), but are united to the second Adam (justified and glorified). Since the second Adam is gloried in heaven at the right hand of the Father, believers, too, share the positional glorification at the right hand of the Father as well (Rom 8:30). Thus believers are "seated with Him in the heavenly realms."

  • This is good. The only thing I'm not totally sure of is the statement that believers are no longer united to the first Adam... but I realize that's a very controversial objection.
    – Jas 3.1
    Jul 18, 2014 at 18:41
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    @Jas3.1 - We are still the biological descendants of Adam on this earth (physical bodies), and thus we are still exposed to our inherent rebellious Adamic nature. Thus we are to consider our bodies "dead," since we were united with Christ's death on the cross (Rom 6:5-6).
    – Joseph
    Jul 18, 2014 at 21:01

I don't know how figurative Paul's language is or that of John's but I point out that there are elders seated together with the Christ:

New International Version Rev 4:4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

Contrary to common Christian understanding, "elders" are not "rulers" over the people but rather representatives of the people. That is, the fact that there are elders (perhaps 12 representing Israel and 12 representing the assembly) indicates that the people have a voice in the council of God. If that is figurative then the point is that since Jesus is human, he represents us in the divine government.

In other words, the believer is to understand that they participate in the government by representation. The US Congress and British Parliament are extremely corrupt examples of such.

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