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Catechism Class. LD18C, Q49 The Benefits of the Ascension

05/04/2022

Catechism Class. LD18, Q49 The Benefits of the Ascension

The Ascension of Christ

We come to the application of the ascension of Christ, – the benefits that accrue to us, because of the ascension, and in Q49, we find that there are three of them. Q49. How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit us? A. First, he is our Advocate in heaven before his Father.  Second, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, our Head, will also take us, his members, up to himself.  Third, he sends us his Spirit as a counter-pledge, by whose power we seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, and not the things that are on earth.  So, how does the ascension of Jesus into heaven benefit the Christian believer?

Listen to the PODCAST LESSON HERE.

Firstly, he is…

1. Our AdvocateA. First, he is our Advocate in heaven before his Father.

It’s good to pray for one another, and sometimes it is good to ask other people to pray for us. Jesus is YOUR prayer partner, because he, as one of us, as our greatest friend went right into heaven, and he listens to and knows all about us and our needs, and he prays for us, directly in the presence of God the Father!  Romans 8:34 

Because we are sinners though, sometimes, – in fact very often, we let Him down.  Our sinful hearts betray us, and we fail the Lord, and our conscience burns with shame.  It’s at times like that when the devil comes against us, accusing us, telling us that we are lost, that our sins are too great to be forgiven, that we’re not really Christians.  It at that time, that Jesus comes to our rescue, as our advocate He stands before God on our behalf and he pleads the blood on our behalf.  Let’s find this in Scripture.  READ  1 John 2:1  

What do we mean when we say that Jesus ‘pleads the blood?’  Some evangelicals can almost be superstitious about the blood of Christ, shed on the cross for sinners, atoning for their sin. When John talks about having an advocate with the Father, – Jesus Christ the righteous, he is speaking about how our sins are washed away by Christ’s shed blood, so that, when Satan comes against us, we are assured, that it is Christ’s righteousness that makes us acceptable to God, not our feeble attempts to be better people.  His blood avails for me!

2. Our ForerunnerSecond, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, our Head, will also take us, his members, up to himself.

As we have already learned, at the ascension, Jesus took our humanity, resurrected human flesh, into heaven.  There is a a Man in the glory!  Because there is a man in heaven, with real human flesh, that is a sure guarantee to us, that we too can go there, as resurrected human beings, with resurrected human flesh.  Think about this.

  • Jesus is our HEAD.  PRESENTLY We are described in the Bible as being members of the body of Christ, with Jesus as our head – the head of the body.  READ:  Ephesians 5:23  Now, our HEAD, says the catechist, is already in heaven.  In that sense, we are in heaven too, in that we are firstly members of God’s kingdom.  Ephesians 2:4-6  We are, with Christ, seated in heavenly places!
  • Jesus is our HEAD. FUTURE.  The Man in Glory, is preparing a place, an eternal home for us, and we already have the title deeds to that property.  It is ours.  John 14:2  

So that’s a guarantee – a pledge, that because there is one of us already in glory, we will be there too, – in one sense we already are!  But it also reminds us that our eternal life, ahead of us is not as some sort of disembodied souls, floating around in a spiritual state. We will have human flesh and blood, resurrected from the grave, and dwelling in a new heaven and a new earth, with Christ our Head, our Saviour and redeemer.

3. Our ComforterThird, he sends us his Spirit as a counter-pledge, by whose power we seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, and not the things that are on earth.

When Jesus told his disciples that he would be leaving them, as we have already seen, he made them a promise.  He promised that he would send them the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who would be a ‘comforter’ – a helper – to them.  John 16:7-8 That verse gives us quite a good idea of what the holy spirit does for us, in conviction of sin, of the need of the saviour, about the coming judgment.   All of that is summed up by the catechist when he tells us that the Holy Spirit will turn our hearts away from the worthless trinkets of this world, the temporal, worthless earthly pleasures, and instead, he prepares us for heaven, to meet Christ, – in fact he changes our hearts’ desires, so that we hate this present world and long to be with Christ, which Paul tells us, is far better than anything here.  Paul expresses this well in Colossians 3:2-3 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

So, we have looked at the importance of the ascension of Christ, seen its Biblical and historical truth, learned about its theological basis, and found out how it makes a difference in your life and in mine.  In our next lesson, after Easter, we shall move on to Lord’s Day 19, and see how Christ rules his kingdom from his heavenly throne.

© Bob McEvoy

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