A great blessing becomes ours when we are made to sit in heavenly places. What is this blessing? It’s the privilege of acceptance: “He hath made us accepted in [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). The original language for accepted means “highly favored.” Paul’s use of the word accepted in this verse translates as, “God has highly favored us. We are very special to Him because we are in our place in Christ.”

Because God accepted Christ’s sacrifice, He now sees only one corporate man—Christ—and those who are bound to Him by faith. Our flesh has died in God’s eyes. How? Jesus did away with our old nature at the cross, so now when God looks at us, He sees only Christ. In turn, we need to learn to see ourselves as God does. That means not focusing solely on our sins and weaknesses, but on the victory that Christ won for us at the cross.

The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) provides a powerful illustration of the acceptance that comes when we are given a heavenly position in Christ. You know the story: A young man took his inheritance from his father and squandered it on a sinful life. Then, once the son became completely bankrupt—morally, emotionally and physically—he thought of his father but he was convinced that he had lost all favor with him.

The Scripture tells us that this broken young man was full of grief over his sin and cried out, “I’m unworthy. I’ve sinned against heaven.” But then the Prodigal told himself, “I will arise and go to my father” (verse 18). In doing so, he was exercising his blessing of access. Are you getting the picture? The Prodigal had turned from his sin and returned to the open door his father had promised him. He was walking in repentance and appropriating access.

What happened to the Prodigal Son? “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). What a beautiful scene. The sinful son was forgiven, embraced and loved by his father, with no wrath or condemnation. When he received his father’s kiss, he knew he was accepted.