Justified already, and more to come

After God’s got us into eternity through Christ’s death, he can now grow us up because he’s got us exactly where he wants us, right there beside him. That’s where all humanity now rests, Ephesians 2:6 – “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.”   

What made that possible was Jesus being resurrected from the dead. When he rose to the heavenly realms, the gates were thrown open so that humans could step through those gates too. Because of him we entered the eternal Kingdom of God, our very own Narnia. What gets us there as far as “our part” is Romans 4:24. We simply “believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,” understanding why God raised him – “for our justification,” verse 25.

On believing that – which really wasn’t our part either, because God gives us the belief too (Ephesians 2:8) – God raises us into heavenly realms. Why? For our justification. But weren’t we already “justified by his blood?” Yes, but there’s obviously more justification coming. There’s the initial justification that got us up to and through the gates of the heavenly realms, but now that we’re in the heavenly realms, there’s more justification to come, because this is what God raised Jesus back to life for.    

This other justification is the salvation that Jesus now brings us by his resurrected life, where Jesus now grows us up into his own likeness. And he does it by the same method he used on Israel in the wilderness. He took them on a journey. It involved all kinds of tests and challenges along the way, each of which was designed to strengthen their trust in him, and in trusting him they would grow. It’s the same for us. We’re on a journey through this physical life of ours, full of challenges and tough times, the purpose of which is to strengthen our trust in Jesus, and in trusting him we will grow. We’ll grow to become more like him, and grow in perseverance, character and hope (5:4).    

Somehow, through whatever life experiences we go through, Jesus is able to use them to get us to exactly the point he wants us, just like Alsan brought four very different children through often very different tests and challenges in Narnia to the same point he wanted them, too. Eventually they were ready to be crowned kings and queens. So will we be one day, and by the same method. This is the growing up part of our justification, which Jesus can successfully do for us, now that we’re right there beside him.