Monthly Archives: May 2010

  • “…and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

    Christ humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the shameful death of a cross, and God rewarded his faithful obedience by exalting him (Phil. 2:9). His exaltation was powerfully manifest for all the world to see in his resurrection, ascension, and placement at God’s right hand (Eph. 1:20; 22). Not even to the angels did God grant this unique privilege (Heb. 1:13). Jesus’ session at the right hand of God, therefore, is the culmination of his saving acts and the full restoration of his exaltation. At God’s right hand Jesus is invested with all of the authority and power of God. To put it as simply as possible: “Thus “to sit” means nothing else than to preside at the heavenly judgment seat” (Calvin). When asked by the high priest whether or not he was the Christ, … Read More »

  • “I believe in the Holy Spirit…”

    No, I didn’t skip Christ’s session at the right hand of God and his coming in judgment. We’ll come back to those. However, I thought it wise for us to skip ahead to the Holy Spirit since today is Pentecost Sunday. By and large the Reformers rejected the liturgical calendar, arguing that it was contrary to the Bible and the practice of the early church; and that it resembled nature’s cycles (Advent/winter/penance; Easter/spring/rejoicing, etc.) more than the Bible’s. That said, the Continental Reformed churches continued to observe five evangelical feast days. No, not Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Fourth of July—the contemporary evangelical feast days. The five they observed were Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost we remember God’s good gift to us, the Holy Spirit. … Read More »

  • “He ascended into heaven…”

    Generally speaking, the ascension of Jesus Christ is given little attention in the church and in the academy and even when it is treated, it is done as “little more than a dazzling exclamation point for the resurrection rather than as a new event in its own right” (Michael Horton, People and Place, 3). Perhaps an illustration: I wonder what last Thursday looked like for you? Did you know that it was Ascension Day? Historically observed by Catholics and Anglicans, Ascension Day is the 40th day after Easter making Jesus’ ascension forty days after the resurrection. In contrast to such scant attention generally given we find the NT writers giving considerable attention to this historic and significant event. For example, Luke ends his gospel by describing the ascension (Lk. 24:50-53) and begins volume two, Acts, by alluding to it yet … Read More »

  • “The third day He rose again from the dead…”

    Christ’s humiliation was intense. He was born under the law (Gal. 4:4), suffered the death of the wicked, bore the wrath of God, had no place to be buried, and was laid in a grave for three days while death seemingly had the victory and the last word. However, as great as his humiliation was, his exaltation was greater! This section of the Creed shifts from his humiliation to his exaltation and teaches us to confess four central doctrines concerning his exaltation: 1)His resurrection; 2)His ascension; 3)His current session at the right hand of God; and 4)His promised return. Today we will consider the first. While we could amass evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, I will here simply remind you of the centrality of the resurrection to the faith we confess.

    Every year the church remembers the triumph of Christ … Read More »

  • “…he descended into hell” Part 3

    Last week we briefly surveyed the interpretive history of this phrase. We ended by noting the way our confessional standards interpret this phrase.

    Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death? Answer: Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which has been otherwise expressed in these words, he descended into hell.WLC Question 50

    You will remember that I suggest that this is not wrong. Hell is reserved for those who possess not the power to triumph over death. Rightly our catechism recognizes that this phrase is intended to interpret the events of Christ’s death and burial. As such it is like a summary statement, casting light back onto the previous statements. It rightly recognizes that there was more to Christ’s redemptive work … Read More »