which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
Acts 2:33-36; 1 Peter 3:22). In John's Gospel there is an emphatic reference to the event: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16:28). In the Epistle to the Hebrews it receives greater prominence than the Resurrection itself (Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 4:14, 19). It was a phrase in one of the earliest hymns of the Church - he was "received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). The sitting at the right hand of God is the immediate and necessary sequel of the ascension from the earth. Several important facts are implied in this heavenly session.
I. KINGLY DIGNITY. This accrues to him from his obedience unto death (Philippians 2:9-11), and is never referred to Christ before his incarnation, but only to the God-Man after his ascension. Yet he was in reality King as well as Priest before his incarnation. If he saved men from the beginning, he was King from the beginning. The dominion of the Mediator was conferred upon him in consequence of his obedience unto death, and was yet enjoyed and exercised by him long before his death; just as he saved men from the beginning by the blood of the cross, as being the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The exaltation he received after death was not an accession of new glory or power, but the manifestation under new conditions of a glory he had from the beginning. This was the position assigned to him in the hundred and tenth psalm, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand." Its fulfillment is manifest in such sentences as the following: - "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and Savior" (Acts 5:31); "He was made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26); he "sits on the right hand of power" (Mark 14:62); he is "now set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Thus, though "crucified in weakness," he "liveth by the power of God" (2 Corinthians 13:14).
II. KINGLY AUTHORITY. Over all the principalities and powers, evil and good, in two worlds; for not only is he far above all these, but God "hath put all things under his feet." He had himself declared immediately before his ascension, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). There is nothing excepted from the vast sweep of his power. All things whatsoever are his footstool. The brow that was once crowned with thorns wears the crown of universal dominion. The pierced hand holds the scepter of the universe. Herein lies the sublime guarantee for the preservation and completion of his Church on earth. He will ultimately triumph over all his enemies (Hebrews 10:13).
III. BLESSEDNESS. This points to "the joy set before him" (Hebrews 12:2), the joy of holy love, because "he has received of the travail of his soul and is satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). It was in allusion to himself that the bright words are used, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).
IV. PERPETUITY. He liveth ever to God without dying again (Romans 6:10). We have to do with a risen Christ who dieth no more, and therefore can be ever helpful, unlike our friends of earth, whose death ends all their relations to us.
V. INTERCESSORY WORK. He is our heavenly Advocate (1 John 2:1). He has entered heaven "for us," now "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). It is this presence of our High Priest which is so helpful to us in our many infirmities, and is the guarantee of our daily pardon in virtue of the great sacrifice on Calvary. Thus, being reconciled to God by his death, we are saved by his life, in consequence of the power which is unceasingly passing forth from the Head to the members (Romans 5:10). The salvation of Christ on earth and in heaven is one inseparable whole. Thus the session of Christ is connected with the peace, the sanctification, the security, the hope of all believers.
VI. LESSONS AND ENCOURAGEMENTS TO BELIEVERS. Our Savior assumes and exercises a lordship over the lives and over the deaths of all his disciples; "for whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8); and in the ease of two eminent disciples, Peter and John, he claimed this lordship, "And if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:18, 22). Therefore all the energy and devotion of our lives are to be given to him. He demands of us a heavenly direction of mind (Colossians 3:2), with a sense of our heavenly citizenship to keep us apart from the sins and vanities of life. We ought to cherish a sentiment of holy fear, on account of our relation to a Redeemer so highly exalted in glory; and yet a sentiment of holy boldness, knowing that our High Priest is on the throne of glory and of grace. - T.C.
And set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality.1. The same power which raised Christ, raises us.
2. God leaves His dearest children to the depth of misery before He sends relief.(1) This He does to glorify His power, which does not so brightly appear until things are desperate.(2) That we may learn the better to put our trust in Him when reduced to extremities.(3) That He may the more endear His benefits to us, He lets us struggle on long without them.
3. God always sends salvation to His people in due time. There is a double salvation.(1) Staving off evil, so that it cannot come near us or touch us.(2) Keeping us, so that it shall not hold us, much less prevail over us.
4. Glory correspondent to humiliation.
(Paul Bayne.)I. THE THRONE OF ESSENTIAL AND ETERNAL MAJESTY, which from everlasting belonged to Christ. Sovereign of all worlds, ruling in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, swaying the sceptre as a right of His own self-existence, which the Father owned, and which the Holy Ghost taught the apostle to call "the sceptre of Christ." Well, then, we are forbidden to find any fault with the manner in which he sways that sceptre. It is a right sceptre. If He sways it to bring a scourge on the land, it is right; if He sways it to bring affliction on any of His people, it is right. If He sways His sceptre to thwart our carnal desires and imaginations, it is right. Now this sceptre of righteousness, this righteous sceptre, which Jesus sways from His high throne eternal in the heavens, set up from everlasting or ever the earth was made, demands righteousness in all the creature performs; and while He bestows and communicates it to all the election of grace, it is so far a sceptre of righteousness that He will execute righteous judgment upon all who live and die haters of His gospel and His truth, and He will extend from the top of His sceptre, as Ahasuerus did to Esther, life, and privilege, and promise, "Whatsoever ye ask shall be done."
II. Look now at THE HUMILIATION TO WHICH CHRIST STOOPED from His eternal, essential throne. "Though He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God," yet He "took not on Him the nature of angels," much as He loved them, and much as He employed them, but He "took upon Him the seed of Abraham," and "humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." Then observe, this stoop of humiliation was for the purpose of establishing His mediatorial kingdom on earth.
III. THE ENTHRONIZATION RESUMED. The Father has raised Him up, having suffered the penalty, paid all, done all, conquered all, rescued all the election of grace from the ruin of the Fall. The Father hath raised Him up — not to go through another scene of poverty, persecution, despising, and ridicule, but set Him at His own right hand, as the emblem of power, and that, too, in heavenly places. Then I view my glorious Christ ascended up to where He was before, and exalted up far above all heavens to fill all things, that from His high throne He may manage still all the affairs of His Church, invested with official authority, insisting on the progress and prosperity of His Church, imparting all supplies of grace, even grace for grace, and having engaged, under solemn responsibility, to bring all His redeemed and regenerated family to sit with Him upon His throne. But there are more heavenly places than one. It is given in my text in the plural. I grant the first meaning to be, on the throne of glory in the invisible world, in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost, having all power given to Him in heaven and in earth, that He may give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given Him, viewing Him there enthroned, and never more to quit the throne. Then observe, He is seated at the Father's right hand, as well as all these heavenly places, to give of His fulness for the reception of His Church; and therefore the apostle said, "Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." Glory to His name, that we have liberty to come as often as we feel our grace vessel empty, and have it replenished, crying unto Him, "More grace, Lord; more grace, Lord!"
(J. Irons.)1. Our Saviour Christ, as man, is taken to have prerogative before every other creature.(1) This being so, what reverence ought we to show Him in all our services about Him whose excellence is so high above every creature.(2) Having one so eminent for our Saviour and Mediator, let us cleave contented to Him, caring to know nothing but Him, accounting all dross that we may be found in Christ.
2. Christ not only as God, but as man also, has power over every creature.(1) What reason have we, then, to subject ourselves to Him.(2) Let this strengthen our confidence that He will subdue for us all our enemies.
3. Christ is crowned with glory at God's right hand before and above all things.(1) This should draw up our hearts to heaven, where He now sits in majesty. Should we have some friends highly advanced, though in parts very remote from us, we would long to see them and make a journey to them.(2) This assures us that all we who are Christ's shall in due time be brought to heaven where He is. The Head and members must be united (John 17:24).
4. There is a world to come, in which those who are Christ's shall reign with Him forever.(1) This should afford comfort to us in the trials and sorrows of this present life.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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