Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended bodily into heaven. The Ascension is so important that all the major creeds of Christian faith affirm it. Christ’s bodily ascension foreshadows our own entrance into heaven with glorified bodies. 1 John 3:2 tells us:
‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’ (NIV).
Jesus not only redeemed us from sin, but made us righteous in his own righteousness. He not only forgave our sins, but seated us with himself at the right hand of the Father. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-4:
‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on
earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.’
We do not yet see and experience the full glory of our resurrection and ascension with Christ, but Paul tells us that it is no less real. The day is coming, he says, the day when Christ appears, that we will experience it in full.
What will our new body be like? Paul gives us an idea in 1 Corinthians 15:
‘…The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man…When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49, 54).
God did not merely forgive our sins and then leave us on our own to try to be righteous. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (vv. 4-6).
This is the foundation of our faith and hope. God has made us one with Christ so that in him we can share in the love relationship he has with the Father and the Spirit.
In Christ, we are the Father’s beloved children in whom he is well pleased.
Presented by Joseph Tkach
About the presenter:
Joseph Tkach is the retired President and Chair of the Board of Directors of Grace Communion International and lives in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.
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