Have you considered how much time you spend sitting? I hadn’t given it much thought until I filled out a survey that asked me to account for the hours in my day. Once I added up the time I sit in front of a computer at work and at home, I realized that I spend most of my waking hours in a chair.
Probably many of us spend a lot of time sitting. But did you know that Christ is also sitting? Hebrews 10:12 says, “But when [Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” Christ is sitting in heaven in a position of honor and glory because he finished everything he came to earth to accomplish.
Christ isn’t the only one sitting in heaven. Ephesians 2:6 says we’re sitting there with him: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms….” Read that again—“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.” According to the Interpreter’s Bible, the writer of Ephesians uses the same preposition after both verbs (raised up and seated.) This conveys the “thought that these are shared experiences, shared both with Christ and with all other Christians….” Our position in heaven is not a future event but a present reality.
How can this be? How can we be living on earth and also be seated with Christ in heaven? There’s no simple answer, but I glimpsed this reality at the beginning of a worship service. After confessing our sins, we sang “God Himself Is Present,” a hymn with lyrics by Gerhard Tersteegen. While I stood in the pew, hymnal in hand, somehow I was also simultaneously united with the hosts of heaven. As I praised God in the eternal Now, I was filled with a supernatural peace.
I’ve never forgotten that experience. More important than any mystical experience, however, is cultivating an awareness that we are seated in heaven in God’s presence every moment of every day. As we remember that we are sitting with Christ in the heavenly realms, we gain a different perspective on the troubles we face here on earth. I think that’s why the apostle Paul could refer to trials like beatings, shipwrecks, and imprisonment as “light and momentary troubles” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Whenever we face uncertainty or situations that tempt us to worry, we can remember our position. We are seated with Christ in heaven. Our access to him is unhindered. We can find rest in his presence.