Friday, September 26, 2008

The Ascension

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty

The ascension is the glory of our Lord. He did not rise only to die again. He rose all the way to heaven. When He arrived there, He was seated at the right hand of the Father- the place of all authority and honor.

The ascension is the final step in our salvation. Having conquered death and risen to life, our Lord then ascended to His rightful place. He came from heaven and to heaven He returned. His work is complete. He sits down because, as He said, "It is finished."

There is more. It is through the death, resurrection, and ascension that we find salvation. We are finally and completely reconciled to God.

In the waters of baptism, we are made one with Christ. We are dead and buried with Him and we rise with Him to newness of life. We die to our old way of life and are born again, a brand new creature in Christ. We are meshed together. We are in Christ and He is in us. In His ascension, we are raised with Him to be seated in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). In Christ we are seated with God, the Father, from whom we had been estranged in sin, but now are brought back again through the work of Christ, our Lord.

If this is true, and it is, then we are able to come before our God and Father and make our requests known in our time of need. We are able to feel the nearness of His presence. We are able, as it were, to look into His face. Of course, these awesome realities will not be completely ours until our own resurrection at the end of the ages (we will discuss this ina later post). But for now, we may indeed experience heaven on earth.

This is particularly important to remember because this life is often filled with tragedy and turmoil. It is our faith that enables us, not only to endure, but to overcome the obstacles we face now. This world is permeated by sin, and therefore, by death. But our Lord has come that we might have life- and that in great abundance (Jn. 10:10). His ascension is the means by which we know this life is available and also the means by which we are able to experience it.

There was a time when Christians had their eyes on heaven and were thought of as too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. Today, too many Christians have become very comfortable in this world and look for their rewards here and now. While some former Christians obviously ignored some of the realities of our duties here, a recovery of the heavenly perspective would be a very good thing. The result will be that the the more heavenly minded we are, the more earthly good we will be.

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