Are You Sitting?
by Shanna Yoder
This article appeared in the Daughters of Promise May/June 2014 edition.
Sit and take a moment to ponder. You may be thinking “Oh, if you only knew, I would simply love to just sit down, but I can’t. I have such and such to do, and so and so places to go. Yes, I’d certainly love to sit, but I just don’t have time.” You don’t have time? Hmmmm.... Don’t they say we make time for the things that are most important to us? I wonder if it’s not so much the not-enough-time factor as the fact that we don’t know where we would sit if we should want to and plus, sitting is so impractical. There are lots of good things to be doing. Yes, we’d much rather be walking...or maybe even running.
Okay, by now you may be wondering just what I’m getting at. Well, I’m talking about spiritual sitting. And just where does the Bible talk about that? Don’t we need to be active in our spiritual lives? Absolutely! I’m not talking about laziness or spiritual apathy. I’m talking about spiritually sitting in Christ. The only part you will need to do is to simply ponder your position in Christ and let Him make it real to you. And in case you should think this matter is of little importance, I want you to know this is important. A baby must learn to sit before he can ever walk. And isn’t that what we must do in our Christian lives as well? We must learn where we sit, and sit there! Then, only then, my sisters, can we learn how to truly and effectively walk. Too often I fear I skip the sitting part. I like to be active. I want to walk first!
Last spring I attended SMBI for the 5th term. There I took a class on Ephesians taught by Elijah Yoder and was thoroughly blessed with a better understanding of where I sit; of my position in Christ. I’d like to share with you a little of what I learned. The first 3 chapters in Ephesians have a lot to say about sitting so we’ll look at a few points from the first and second chapters. I’ll let you explore other places sometime later!
First of all, we are Christ’s inheritance. Before we look at this position in Christ let me give you a quick English refresher. In English, do you remember studying the difference between those verbs that were in the “active voice” and those that were in the “passive voice”? In a sentence with active voice the subject does the action (i.e. I ate the fish), but in a sentence with passive voice the subject receives the action (i.e. I was eaten by the fish). Now, take a look at the first part of Eph. 1:11, “In whom also [speaking of Christ] we have obtained an inheritance...”. When you first read that you may think we are the ones obtaining an inheritance in Christ. This is certainly true, but I’d like to look at it from another view which, according to my understanding, is more correct. In the Greek this verb “obtained” is in the passive voice which means it could be translated this way: “we have been obtained as an inheritance,” or as the Living Bible puts it, “we have become gifts to God that He delights in”. This means, sisters, that Christ knew what His inheritance was going to be (us!) and He still wanted us. Wow! That’s exciting! The fact that Christ is satisfied with you as His inheritance shows the great value Christ places on you. That’s your position in Christ! Aren’t you starting to feel loved and special?
We are seated (right now!) in and with Christ. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Eph. 2:6). Of course this is speaking about spiritually being seated with Christ. It happened when you were saved, but you have not been lowered to earth again since then. You are still there, seated in and with Christ. And on top of that, you’ve been blessed with all the spiritual blessings in those heavenly places! (Eph. 1:3) Imagine yourself sitting with Christ in the heavenly places. Shouldn’t this affect you just a little - how you view what you’re going to do today and tomorrow?
We are saved by grace. Yes, that’s who you are: saved by grace and kept saved by grace! Let me share with you my personal experience with this truth. I was in class one morning at SMBI and during the course of the class I made a feeble attempt to explain my answer to a certain quiz question that had been posed earlier. The True/False question stated that works have “a lot to do with keeping us saved”. Now I knew works had nothing to do with getting us saved, but keeping us saved? “Well... yes”, I thought, knowing that you couldn’t go out and live a life of sin and still claim you were saved. So I argued that the answer should be ‘True’ since I thought works had a lot to do with keeping us saved. After answering the question, I felt as if I’d made a fool of myself, and especially when I later saw how wrong I was. But this rather humiliating experience did really help to ‘drive the nail in’ for me. It helped me see that my view on grace and works needed to be changed. When I saw that old familiar verse in a new light I was amazed and excited. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Eph. 2:8.
Can we really say that God’s grace saves us and all of a sudden we have to start working as hard as we can in order to keep our salvation? Absolutely not! God’s grace saves us and it keeps us saved. That’s where you and I sit in Christ! I realized I had been living with a view of salvation where I had to do good works in order to keep my salvation. When I realized that God’s grace kept me saved I had a new freedom. For the first time I experienced the feeling of wanting to keep doing good things simply out of love and thanks to Christ!
Now, please don’t take me wrong. I am not trying to give the impression that one can get saved, go and live in sin however he pleases, and expect to never lose his salvation. We still have to die to the flesh. That is hard work! But make sure your good works flow from the right motive. To keep the right motive it is vital for us to be spending enough time with Jesus that we know where our position is - saved and kept saved by God’s amazing grace! Then we will be fighting the good fight out of thanksgiving and love, not fear.
I hope that you may be getting just a taste of who you are in Christ. But don’t stop here. You might have to do some actual physical sitting to let God fully reveal to you where you’re sitting spiritually. Be quiet, be still, ponder what He has to say, and revel in your great worth in Christ!
Go ahead. Just sit.