Where You Sit Determines How You Walk

Where You Sit Determines How You Walk

Study Guide, February 6, 2022

Pastor Clay Olsen


So when you look up into the sky you see the Sun, Moon, and Stars. But you know what? There’s also a lot of other stuff up there, particularly in our orbital space zone. Like what? Like 8,082 man-made satellites! And each year dozens more are added to those. That’s a lot of satellites floating around the Earth! Last November, in an anti-satellite missile test, Russia destroyed one of their non-working satellites. The only problem is that the explosion sent 1,500 pieces of debris shooting through space. But that only added to the 23,000 chunks of other space debris that’s also out there. And, get this…so not only is there a lot of space junk out there, that junk is also flying around through Earth’s orbit at over 15,000 miles per hour! And I thought ‘pot holes’ were bad. Space-ships really have to watch out for space junk!

So whenever you are looking into the sky, add that little reality check to the picture of what you are seeing. But also, add this next marvel, too, to the picture of what can you see when you look into the sky…because, you see, there’s something truly amazing that’s out there. And although it’s not visible by telescope, it is genuinely there, nevertheless. What we are talking about is a ‘seat’ of some sort, a designated spot, a reserved place. And even more amazing, this reserved seat has your name on it. Let’s explore.

We’re going to put several passages of the Scriptures together and then look at the picture they make. 1 Peter 1:3-4- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” NASU

You already have a reservation in Heaven awaiting you. When you turned from following self to follow Christ and you trusted in Him to be your Savior and were thus born again in your spirit, a reservation was made for you in Heaven. Even your name was ‘written down’ in Heaven. Notice Luke 10:20- “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” NIV So your name is written in Heaven because you have been made a member of God’s Kingdom and a citizen of Heaven. And you can rejoice about that every day, right? But now add to that what Paul says in Eph 2:4-6- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” NASU

So every born again child of God already has a reservation in Heaven…their name is written down as a permanent citizen that belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven because of their eternal birth-right…and plus, they already have an assigned place, a seat at the Kingdom table with Christ.

I was thinking of the Knights of the Round Table. Every Knight had a place at the table. And that place was reserved for them…that seat was their place…it belonged to them as special servants of the King. They were named as Knights of the King and were known as Knights of the Round Table.

So even though you and I are still living out the remainder of our time here on Earth of worship and service to our King, still our names have already been recorded, already written down in Heaven. We have a place, a position, a seat at the table reserved with our name on it, just waiting for us to take our place at the King’s table. That is what we are to add to our picture when we look up into the heavens. There’s a place, a reserved spot, a seat somewhere up there with our name already on it. We are already members of God’s eternal family and of His eternal Kingdom.

Now, of course, when we get there, we’ll find out just what this reserved place or seated place symbolizes, or even looks like, along with all the other furnishings of heaven, but as for now…now we can clearly see what our ‘position’ actually is; our position both in the heavenly places and in these earthly places. What do we mean? In Theology this is referred to as ‘Positional Sanctification’. What it refers to is our ‘position in Christ’. In fact, understanding our position in Christ is the key to understanding nearly everything else that brings purpose and peace to our lives. Let’s explain…

As the Apostle Paul revealed, when God saved us by His grace through our faith, He not only raised up our spirit from the dead…He also raised us to a new position…to now belonging to another Kingdom. Remember what Paul said in Col 1:13-14- “For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” NLT In the life of every born again child of God there are things that have already been done, already accomplished, already completed by God. We have already been rescued from the kingdom of darkness…rescued from being separated from God because of the sin penalty that was upon us. We have been purchased by the sacrifice and payment of the sinless Lamb of God, and thus we now belong to Jesus. We have already been forgiven of the debt of our sins and we are ‘justified’ before God…we have been declared right with God. All of that has already been completed. And that’s why our ‘position’ with God is also already complete. Our very soul and spirit are forever untied to God’s own eternal life, and nothing will ever change that! We are now and forever positionally ‘in Christ’…in union with Christ, our Creator and Redeemer and King.

So that is our position…we are ‘in Christ’, united to Christ…forever a child of Christ. So now what comes next…what is to come out of our ‘position in Christ’? What is now to come out of our position in Christ is our practice for Christ…our practice of daily living out our position as Christ’s disciples by what we practice in our lives as Christ’s disciples.

And again, in Theology, this is called ‘Practical Sanctification’. Since we have been forever set apart as to who we are in our position as a royal son or daughter of God’s, now we are to set apart our lives to practice those disciplines, those habits, those values, those responsibilities that our now ours because of who we now are…Kingdom Men and Kingdom Women. In other words, we ‘practice’ the disciplines of the Christian life from our ‘position’ of being ‘in Christ’.

And this also reveals one of the fallacies of ‘behavior based’ religious teaching about Christianity, or ‘works righteousness’ religious teaching. These false religious teachings falsely teach that your practice of the Christian life is what then results in you earning a position with Christ in Heaven. But that is the opposite of God’s grace, and it is a dishonor to Christ’s work as our Savior, because you cannot live out the Christian life until your spirit is first re-united to Christ, first ‘born again’ into union with Christ. And you are then ‘in Christ’ and Christ’s life is ‘in you’. And so then, from your position as a Christian, your position as a family member of Christ’s, you are then freed from your bondage in sin and are now responsible for putting into practice the disciplines of the Christian life.

But again, the relationship with God is a gift of God’s grace. And you cannot earn that, for then it would no longer be grace…it would be wages. But as Paul said in Rom 6:23- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” NLT People do earn their place in Hell, for that is the ‘wages of sin’, but no one earns a place in Heaven…for that is a free gift that was earned for us by Christ alone. As Paul also said, no one can become right with God through the law of works: Gal 5:4- “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” NLT

Remember, a person becomes a Christian by Birth…the New Birth, which is a gift of God’s grace. And you cannot work for a ‘gift’, otherwise you dishonor the Giver and forfeit the gift. But when you do receive the gift of the life of Christ, then you are to practice living out the Christian life in your behavior. But, again, ‘behavior’ is produced from the New Birth…the New Birth is never produced from the ‘behavior’. And that is the difference between the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of Works. And ‘works’ cannot earn salvation because you cannot become a Christian through ‘your works’, but only through trusting in ‘Christ’s works’ of His living a sinless and righteous life in your place and by dying on the Cross to remove the penalty of your sin. Christ died ‘in your place’. That’s why we call Jesus ‘Our Savior’!

All right then…but again, one thing we are saying is that you cannot overstate the need to understand your ‘position’ in Christ, because our position identifies who we are and it determines what we are then to do. Or, our position is to determine our condition. That’s why we said, ‘Where you sit determines how you walk’. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” That is our position. We are already seated with God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And it is from this source that we are to draw on for our security and our strength and our enablement to practice and observe all the things that Christ has commanded us to do.

Why is this so important? This is so important because if a believer does not have a solid understanding of their position in Christ, their ‘Positional Sanctification’, then it will continually interfere with them living out their practice for Christ, or their ‘Practical Sanctification’. If you do not think and work from your ‘position in-Christ’ then you will be thinking and working from the changing condition of your faith instead of thinking and working from the unchanging position of your relationship with Christ. An author of a study on these things put it this put way: “When we concentrate on our condition, we are not living by faith, but by feelings and appearances…if the believer does not know of his position in the Lord Jesus, and how to abide in Him as his very life, there will be but one result. He will struggle in his condition rather than rest in his position.” 1

Only as we think and work from our position, from the fact of our already being seated in the heavenly places with Christ, can the Holy Spirit then grow His fruit in us and work His work through us. Think about it: If you have been troubled about not experiencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit nearly as much as you had hoped…like the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, and such, perhaps you need to consider where the focus of your faith has been. Have you been focusing on your position in Christ as being the source of your identity and your security and your strength for living? Or has the focus of your faith been tangled up in your practice…your condition…focused on your feelings and your performance and your wavering faith?

In most cases, believers are more aware of their unfinished condition than of their finished position! It is no wonder then that they are experiencing only a fraction of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But the enjoyment of the fruit of God’s Spirit is the part of our birth-right inheritance that we are meant to enjoy and experience now. The fruit of the Spirit is one of the things that is to be part of what sets God’s people apart from the world. And yet, so many believers are unnecessarily forfeiting the enjoyment of God’s fruit for their lives because their focus is on their own wavering condition of their faith instead of their permanent position of their relationship with Christ. Mark it down: God’s fruit is only grown when God’s people focus on the source of it’s growth. When we focus on our finished position in Christ and in His finished work on our behalf that He accomplished to give us His free gift of eternal life and seat us with Him as a forever member of His forever family, it opens the flow of the Vine to grow His fruit through His branches…you and me. You see, spiritual fruit grows from our spiritual focus.

Oh yes, work on being more and more faithful to your Savior, but work on it from your finished position in Christ, not from your unfinished condition as a Christian. Fix your eyes upon Jesus and who He has already made you as His own eternal child of God…and then let Him make you more and more like Him in what you think and do in your service for Him. Work out your practice of Christian living from your position as one who is already ‘in-Christ’…already seated in the heavenlies with Christ. Because remember, where you are seated determines how you walk. Friends, determine to focus on your position in your relationship with Christ and watch what it does to your practice and enjoyment of your faith walk for Christ.

  1. The Complete Green Letters, Miles J. Stanford, p. 78