Theology 101: Ascension Significance (Part 4 of 5)comment (0)
May 22, 2014
By Jerry Batson, Th.D.
Ascension Significance (Part 4 of 5)
As noted last week, the ascension marked the inauguration of Christ’s high priestly ministry. Two weeks ago we looked at Jesus’ promise in John 7:37–38. Using the imagery of water in that promise, He spoke of the Holy Spirit, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Jesus’ imagery suggests a life of fullness, even of overflowing. Such a life has often been described as an abundant life or as victorious living.
Ephesians 2:4–7 is instructive for us about the relation between Christ’s ascension to the Father and His provision for victorious Christian living. All along we have noted that Christ’s exaltation was in three stages. This passage uses verbs that would describe those stages: He was “made alive” (resurrection), “raised up” (ascension) and “seated” (enthronement). However, the striking part of this is that in this passage these verbs refer primarily to us as believers.
Using a threefold repetition of the preposition “with,” this Ephesian passage declares that God “made us alive together with Christ” (v. 5), “raised us up with Him” (v. 6a) and “seated us with Him in the heavenly places” (v. 6b).
To say that believers are made alive together with Christ is to say that we are in possession of His kind of life — resurrection life. Our new life in Christ is the life of heaven and of eternity. We might even dare to think of it as God’s kind of life. Although at one time we were dead in trespasses and sins (2:1), we can experience victorious living.
Not only do Christians possess “resurrection life,” we also possess “ascension life.” Joined to Christ by faith, our lives have been raised up to heaven, where we even now enjoy heavenly citizenship (Phil. 3:20) with our names enrolled in the book of life, unlike those who are outside of Christ (Rev. 20:12–15). Such benefits as these are altogether due to our union with Him.
Furthermore we share with Christ a position of spiritual authority and security, since He has carried us with Him all the way to the Father’s right hand. He has won for us the final victory — victory over death, sin and Satan. No safer place in all the universe can be found than the right hand of the throne of God.
Joined with Christ
What do we do with such exalted statements? They take us back to where this week’s study began — an abundant, overflowing, victorious life made possible here and now through our spiritual association with Christ. From God’s point of view we are co-raised, co-ascended and co-enthroned. Not only can we know our citizenship is in heaven, since we are inseparably joined with Christ, we can live in this present world with the certainty that our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Our challenge is to live out daily on earth the eternal life already possessed by virtue of our spiritual union with Christ — made alive, raised up and seated with Him, so that we are living not just toward heaven but from heaven, living out of the realities of a life already anchored above, where Christ is ascended and enthroned.