Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | January 5, 2023 | Pastor's Blog
January 5, 2023
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Arise, my soul, arise;
Shake off the guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne, my Surety stands,
Before the throne, my Surety stands:
My name is written on His hands.
Arise, My Soul, Arise. Charles Wesley (1742)
It is a common practice as the New Year begins for many to look at themselves and determine what they need to do to improve. January 1st is a powerful life-modifying date on the calendar. It is here Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s (1813-1843) often-used quote can help us. Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. Let’s follow his advice by putting our attention on His ascension.
The Bible often answers questions that you and I don’t know enough to ask. It’s a divine book. We should not be surprised. For example. The question, was there any gain or advantage for the Christian when Christ ascended to the Father? That is probably a question frequently asked. How would we answer?
When Christ ascended to heaven, it was His enthronement as the King of Kings. The ascension showed Christ defeated death and assumed His place as the King over all the world. What He said is, therefore, true.
One function of a king is to protect their people from harm. Death is the ultimate enemy. Christ the King defeated death and all our other enemies. But more than this, the condemning power of the law, people, and the evil one is put to rest. Therein with such power and authority, all things work together for the good of those who love Him.
It is here, specifically with condemnation, that in keeping our eyes on Christ, we stay in step with Him and His truth. These days preaching can be no more than a dressed-up list of condemnation, leading people to a well too small to drink from—themselves.
But He is more than King. He, in His ascension, is interceding for us at God’s right hand. One function of the Old Testament function High Priest was interceding for God’s people. Christ, in the ascension, makes continual intercession to the Father for us.
Jesus is King, Priest, and Prophet. That is the preacher of all preachers, Christ, who reveals to us the will of God from His word. It is He, Jesus, who sends His word to our hearts in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the very reason we can understand God's word. Not just its rationale or logic but its significance. The Holy Spirit sent by Christ Himself is opening our hearts to it.
And there you have it. The main and plain advantages of the ascension of Christ and how undeservingly wonderful they are. As our King, He has defeated that which was undefeatable by mere humans. As our High Priest, He is our high intercessor praying to the Father on our behalf, standing before God as our perfection. As our prophet, He revealed to us the will of God from the word of God.
Loved ones, how could mere humans achieve any of this? We can’t. Therefore, we keep our eyes on Christ.
God bless you. The Happiest New Year to you and yours.