Discovering Your Identity in Christ – A Study in Ephesians – Part 15

Victory in Christ

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“7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions

10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the

whole universe.)” Ephesians 4:7­10 NIV

This is an unusual passage. It references Psalm 68:18 which says:

“When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from that you, LORD God, might dwell there.” Psalm 68:18 NIV

Psalm 68 was a victory hymn composed by David to celebrate God’s conquest of the Jebusite city

of Jerusalem and God’s ascent to Mount Zion. After the conquest, it was knows that the King

would bring home the spoils of victory and the prisoners.

It seems that Paul is showing the Ephesians that through His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus

conquered Satan and death, and in triumph has returned to God the spoils of the conquest…

namely those who were once sinners and prisoners of Satan.

Some suggest that this passage is saying that Jesus descended to the lower parts of the earth,

namely Hades or the “place of the dead” and that Jesus fulfilled Matthew 16:4, in which He

compares His death and resurrection to Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days and three

nights. If this is the case, before ascending to Heaven, Jesus descended to Hell to lead the captives

into Heaven where they are today. ..

Others suggest that His descending referred to His incarnation, or His coming to earth, or

potentially His descending at Pentecost.

In either case, Paul is communicating God’s victory over Satan and death, and the spoils of

victory. Jesus now has gifts to give His people. We will see that in the next devotion.

Lord Jesus thank You that victory is in You! Amen.

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