A new Sunday, a new quote from Kevin DeYoung’s recently published commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism, Moody, 2010). This time we quote from his comments on Lord’s Day 18 of the catechism. First, we quote the relevant section of the catechism:
Question 46. How dost thou understand these words, “he ascended into heaven”?
Question 47. Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as he hath promised?
Answer. Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his [c] human nature, he is no more on earth; but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is at no time absent from us.
Question 48. But if his human nature is not present wherever his Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?
Answer. Not at all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and [d] omnipresent, it must necessarily follow that [e] the same is beyond the limits of the human nature he assumed, and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it.
Question 49. Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension into heaven?
Answer. First, that he is our [g] advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also [h] take up to himself, us, his members; thirdly, that he [i] sends us his Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, [j] and not things on earth.”
[a]: Acts 1:9; Mark 16:19
[b]: Heb. 4:14; Rom 8:34; Eph. 4:10
[c]: Acts 3:21; John 3:13; John 16:28; Mat. 28:20
[d]: Acts 7:49; Mat. 24:30
[e]: Mat. 28:20; John 16:28; John 17:11; John 3:13
[g]: Heb. 9:25; 1John 2:2; Rom. 8:34
[h]: John 14:2; Eph. 2:6
[i]: John 14:16; 2Cor. 1:22; 2Cor. 5:5
[j]: Col. 3:1; Phil. 3:20
And now DeYoung:
“You may not think about the ascension again for quite some time, so mediate on this doctrine with me for two more minutes. Think about the implications of Christ’s ascension. The ascension means we are in heaven, right now. Through union with Christ, we truly are not citizens of this world. Colossians tells us to set our minds on things that are above, because our lives are hidden with Christ who dwells there (3:2-3).
The ascension also implies that ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ does not mean inviting a kind of friend or comforting therapist into your life. It means – if we are using the nonbiblical phrase in a biblical way – that we are expressing our desire to be one with the King of the universe. The Jesus who lives within our hearts is sitting exalted at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Most staggering of all, the ascension means that God has granted all rule, power, authority, and dominion (Eph.1:21-22) to a man! Maybe this is why Tolkien made such a point in The Lord of the Rings to emphasize that a man would sit on Gondor’s throne, and the race of men would reign once more. Jesus Christ is exercising the dominion that man was made to have from the very beginning (Gen.1:28) (pp.96-97).