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He Ascended to Heaven for Our Good

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 18

What do you mean by saying, “He ascended to heaven”?

That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven and will be there for our good until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?

First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our own flesh in heaven – a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven. Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

 

He Ascended to Heaven for Our Good

Monday, April 24: Hebrews 1:1-14

The Catechism professes that Christ ascended to heaven “and will be there for our good until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.” The Bible describes human life as lived between heaven above and hell below. So, what does it mean that Christ ascended to heaven for our good. Andrew Kuyvenhoven gives a helpful answer. “We live,” he says, “between heaven and hell; we exist between God and the devil; we are attracted to the divine, and we are dragged by bestiality” (p.116). The horrors of war, terrorism, abuse, racism, sexism, slander and corruption, find their origin in hell below, not from heaven above. So, he continues: “It is not our inventions, cultures, and conquests that determine the lot of planet Earth. Our future is decided in the realm of the spirits. Our hope is in heaven... Earth is a place to be governed, and heaven is the seat of government. Where heaven does not exercise its beneficial rule, the forces from the cellular take over” (p.116). The good news is that earth is ruled by heaven (Colossians 1:13-23), that the Ascended Christ equips us to “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-13), and that we are invited to be clothed in the gracious and unceasing protection of God in Christ (Ephesians 6:10-20). The tale of the Lord of the Rings helps us understand the goodness of Christ’s Ascension. When Frodo drops the ring into the fire of the Mountain of Doom, Middle Earth is freed from Lord Sauron’s dark rule. The gospel is even better. Though the battle between the kingdoms of light and darkness is raging today, the Ascended Christ has already won the victory over darkness. Today, no one must live under Sauron’s dark rule. We will learn even more about the benefits of Christ’s ascension throughout this week. For now, however, let’s engage in praise: “The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice” (Psalm 97:1).

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn