The Resurrection and Ascension of the Soul
Ephesians 2:1-7
And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians was, as we have seen, that they might appreciate the mighty power of God to us-ward who believe. This power was first manifested in the person and experience of Christ in raising him from the dead, in exalting him to the Father's right hand, in putting all things under his feet, and in constituting him Head of his Church. We are now to notice a parallel experience of power in the case of the believer.

I. CONSIDER THE RESURRECTION OF THE SOUL. (Vers. 1-5.) In these verses the apostle represents our souls as by nature dead like Christ's body in the tomb. They are not sick through sin, but dead. And the death of the soul is manifested in the corruption of the nature, so that we live as the world lives, according to the devil's desires, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and becoming most deservedly the "children of wrath" like others. All this corruption of the nature is the manifestation of the death in sin. But the Spirit, who raised up Christ's body from the tomb, comes to quicken our dead souls. We are quickened together with Christ. The Father in his wondrous love works this miracle within us, so that we are raised out of death into a new life. Now, just as Jesus entered by resurrection into a new because immortal life, so we by resurrection enter into a new and immortal existence. We feel assured that we cannot die, since we have been raised into the new life with Christ. This idea of the death of the soul is found in the ancient and in the modern classics. In such authors as Plutarch, Cicero, Heraclitus, and Persius, as well as in such a modern as the poet Gautier, it may be found; but in them it is an utterance of despair. It is only Paul who can take it and show how the death can be terminated in the victory of resurrection.

II. CONSIDER THE ASCENSION OF THE SOUL. (Ver. 6.) Not only is the soul raised together with Christ, but it is "made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." In other words, we are made to have an ascension experience as well as a resurrection experience. Now, when Christ ascended far above all principality and power, he must have entered a joyful experience such as this world could never afford. He would never have enjoyed such a delight had he lingered in a limited world like this. In the same way the risen soul is enabled to ascend into a seraphic experience, a joy in the Lord such as was never dreamed of. It is to be feared that many have experienced the spiritual resurrection who have not gone on to the experience of the ascension; in other words, they are living lives comparatively joyless. They do not live as if they were already within the golden gates and rejoicing always in the Lord. But the thing is not only possible, it is pre-eminently desirable. The world would be vastly the better of souls that had realized the ascension.

III. CONSIDER THE BELIEVER'S CONSEQUENT REIGN. (Ver. 6.) For Jesus ascended that he might occupy a throne. And we ascend in spirit that we may be kings of men. It is Christ's purpose that we should be kings and priests unto God and his Father (Revelation 1:5, 6). Now, joyful Christians cannot but influence others for good. They come to their kingdom, and others are glad to submit to their sway. They hold men by the heart and assert a proper sovereignty over others. The reign of Christ is carried out in some measure when we have learned lovingly to reign.

IV. THE PURPOSE OF SUCH SPIRITUAL GIFTS IS THAT THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF GOD'S GRACE MIGHT BE REVEALED. (Ver. 7.) For if we had never died in sin, God's mighty power in raising us would never have been appreciated. If the creatures had never fallen, who would have known the wealth of God's love and power in lifting them up again? The physical universe can only illustrate a small part of the power and love of God. It requires the moral universe as a background to set off the brightness of his redeeming mercy. It is out of a sinful world the greatest examples of Divine power shall be forthcoming. God is rich in mercy; how rich only sinners can illustrate and with some fullness appreciate. Every risen, ascended, and reigning soul is intended to be a fresh example of the exceeding riches of God's grace. - R.M.E.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

WEB: You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins,

The Quickening Power of the Gospel
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