Ascended With Christ

“Even when we were dead in trespasses,(God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-7).

This passage describes the believer’s wonderful privilege of being united with Christ, not only in His death and resurrection, but also in His ascension!

Imagine the awesome scene of the Ascension. Luke records it: (Christ promised) “‘But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:8-11).

The believer’s spiritual and positional seating with Christ in glory is no less amazing! Paul admonished, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).

But if we are enthroned with Christ in the heavenlies, why do we often feel down in the dumps? There seems to be a great contrast between our spiritual wealth and our practical walk. How can we possess our possessions and walk worthy of our Savior? F.J. Huegel addressed this topic in his devotional classic, The Enthroned Christian. He wrote,

“That there is in the Gospel a great discrepancy we do well to face squarely. I refer to the high demands of the Gospel on the one hand, and the moral weakness of human nature on the other. The chasm between the two is immeasurable. Why does God’s standard go so far beyond the moral possibilities of man, demanding a perfection which is unattainable? The Sermon on the Mount leads to despair. I am asked to love my enemies. but it is natural for me to hate them. I am commanded to bless those who curse me. The natural thing would be to curse back. Why, in the face of my sinfulness does Jesus tell me that I must be perfect, even as my Father which is in heaven is perfect ? I declare, such a thing is unthinkable, much less attainable. I am told that if I look at a woman and lust after her in my heart, I have already sinned. In a word, I am to be pure even as Jesus was.”[1]

After also noting the despair described in Romans chapter 7, Huegel focused on the resources of Romans 8: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). He explains, “When you realise that you cannot (attain righteous conduct) in your own way, and in your own strength, you are ready to take God’s way … If you begin at the Cross, which is the hub of the universe, it will become easy and every problem will be solved … Here the Christ of God says, ‘You cannot; … Not only is your guilt removed here, but sin is condemned as a principle. The old man is crucified; I took him with Me to the tomb and, as I arose, it is you who arose in Me. As I ascended to the Throne it is you who ascended with Me. You are a new creation. Henceforth your life shall flow from Me and from My Throne.’ “[2]

So, we cannot save ourselves (for it is by grace through faith) and we cannot independently live the Christian life either. Yet the Lord Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

Our Father, we humbly confess the in our flesh “dwells no good thing.” Yet we marvel that in salvation You regenerated us and united us with Christ. What grace You have bestowed upon us to pardon our sin and honor us with a participation in Christ’s present and eternal reign. Illumine us to walk in surrender to Your perfect will, reckoning on the reality of our co-ascension with Christ. In Your worthy name, amen.

[1] F.J. Huegel, The Enthroned Christian, 57.

[2] The Enthroned Christian, 58,59.

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