Looking beyond Christ’s identification with us, we find that, in turn, through faith and repentance, we can be identified with Christ—not only in His death, but also in His subsequent exaltation.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4–6 niv)
This is the opposite side of identification. First, Jesus identified Himself with us, the fallen race. He took our place, paid our penalty, and died our death. He expiated our guilt. Then, as we identify ourselves with Him and His death in faith, we are also identified with Him in all that follows His death. Three great steps of our identification with Jesus are stated in Ephesians 2:4–6. First, “God…made us alive with Christ.” Second, “God raised us up with Christ.” He resurrected us with Christ. But it doesn’t stop there. Third, “God…seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.” God seated us with Christ on His throne. He enthroned us in Christ.
Notice those three upward steps of identification with Jesus: we are made alive with Him, resurrected with Him, and enthroned with Him. The way up is down; from the lowest, we go to the highest. God exalts the lowest to the highest, and this principle runs all through Scripture. It is not just a matter of history but the outworking of a universal law: Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. (See Matthew 23:12 niv.)