Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ascension and Redemption

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)
The Ascension of King Jesus the Messiah to his throne at the right hand of the Father shows that the problem of sin has been fully dealt with. He has done everything that needs to be done about it. The author of Hebrews speaks about it in several ways in his letter — as atonement, as forgiveness, as ransom or redemption — but here at the beginning, he gathers it all up in the word “purification.” In Jesus the Messiah, we are made pure before God.

This is very much a manifestation of the kingdom of God and therefore very much a part of King Jesus being “taken up in glory.” Paul makes the connection for us in his letter to the church at Colosse, telling how God has “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

The Ascension of the Messiah demonstrates that the power of sin has been broken, for he is now King over all of heaven and earth. The cross and resurrection is the victory over sin, death, the devil and the “principalities and powers” — the demonic influences that lurk behind every evil empire and culture — they have all received the “death blow.”

We have not yet seen the end of it, though, because we are still living in the time when the victory of Christ is being worked throughout, and the enemies of Christ are being put under his feet, so that, in the end, God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:25-28). How is he accomplishing this? Through his body, the Church, by the power the Holy Spirit. That is the point of Pentecost, which followed ten days after the Ascension and is why Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that changes us, and through us, changes the world.