Life on the Highest Plane
Vol. 1: The Person and Work of Christ

Chapter Twelve
Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation — Ascension and Exaltation

There remains but one double span to complete God's wondrous bridge of salvation. The God-man, crucified, buried and risen, must go back to His Father in glory and be exalted to the place of honour and power at His right hand. Only then would His work be completed. At the resurrection Christ Jesus was constituted the last Adam and became the Progenitor of a new order of beings but not until His ascension and exaltation could He actually be inducted into His work as Head of the Church. He must first enter into heaven to present the blood of Calvary's Sacrifice to His Father and then be enthroned by God as "the King of kings and the Lord of lords."

 

THE HOMECOMING OF THE SON

In His glorified body the God-man left the earth and passing through the heavens entered into Heaven itself.

Acts 1:10-11, "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Hebrews 9:24, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

Oh! What a homecoming that must have been! Thirty-three years before the well-beloved Son, who through all eternity had been in the bosom of the Father, had left His home in glory to be born in the womb of a virgin. Earth had never held such an One as He and the world not knowing the worth of the precious gift received Him not. But, having glorified His Father on earth and having finished the work which He gave Him to do, the Son now goes Home. He is marred and scarred by His treatment on earth. Hands and feet and brow all tell the story of the crucifixion on Calvary's tree. The precious body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) is a silent witness to the blood shed on the cruel Cross. Surely heaven had never homed such an One as He. But heaven knew the worth of the treasure it held on that wonderful ascension day and the angelic host, the number of whom was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, praised Him with a loud voice and heaven reverberated with the anthem of welcome that greeted the triumphant Redeemer as He entered its portals.

Psalm 24:7-1O, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shell come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory."

 

THE EXALTATION OF THE SON

The Father awaited the return to glory of His well-beloved Son that He might bestow upon Him the place of highest honour; that He might exalt Him to the place of greatest power; that He might give Him a name which is above every name; that He might crown Him Lord of all.

Ephesians 1:20-22, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."

Philippians 2:9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The exaltation of Jesus Christ meant His enthronement. The eternal Son who once voluntarily had emptied and humbled Himself was now exalted to the throne of God and all power in heaven and upon earth was granted unto Him. The crucified Saviour is now the preeminent Lord.

Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

Acts 2:36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."

 

THE PRESENT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST

There are three tenses in salvation, past, present and future. Three statements may be made regarding the sinner which are apparently contradictory, yet absolutely true; the believer has been saved, the believer is being saved, the believer will be saved. There is a salvation that is to be appropriated in a moment of time by the sinner, that day by day is to be actualized in the believer's life, that some future day will be fully accomplished. The work which the God-man began on the Cross for the sinner He continues on the throne for the saint.

The Divine-Human Mediator
There is but one way of approach to God whether for sinner or for saint and that is by way of Christ Jesus, the divine-human Mediator. The sinner has no way of access to God for salvation except through Christ.

John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

The saint has no way of approach to God for sanctification except through Christ.

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Whether we wish to be delivered out of the bondage of sin, or whether we desire to enter into the fulness of our glorious liberty as sons and heirs of God, we must do it through Christ. Through the mediation of Christ Jesus we obtain life; through the same mediation we obtain life more abundant. Our eternal inheritance is in Him. All blessings promised under the new covenant are hid away in the God-man. The glorified Lord is the depository of all the spiritual treasures kept for God's people. He holds them in trust to be bestowed by Him as Mediator when claimed by faith. The representative Man who was on the Cross as the sinner's Substitute is on the throne as his Surety.

Hebrews 9:15, R.V., "And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

The Great High Priest
Just before Jesus gave up the ghost He cried "It is finished." What was finished? The completion of His work as the Sacrifice for man's sin. He Himself was that Sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:26, "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

But in olden times the sacrifice made for sins had to be ministered by a priest. On the great day of atonement the great high priest alone went into the Holy of Holies to offer the sacrifice for the sins of the people. The sacrifice would have been of no avail had it not been offered by a God-appointed, God-anointed, priest. Christ is the Lamb of God offered as a Sacrifice to put away sin for us. But have we a Great High Priest who can act as minister of the sanctuary and make the Sacrifice for sin avail for our forgiveness, cleansing and renewal? Praise God we have just such a Great High Priest.

Hebrews 8:1, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."

Hebrews 1O:12, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God."

Hebrews 4:14, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."

The Man who was the Sacrifice also offered the sacrifice.

"It is finished" — "He sat down."

The priest in olden times always stood; he never sat because his work was never finished, "for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). So in those sacrifices there was a remembrance year by year of sins (Hebrews 10:3). But when "this man had offered one sacrifice for sins forever," then "He sat down." A perfect Sacrifice for sin had been made; the Saviour's work was done.

Hebrews 7:26-27, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."

But in order that the precious blood of the Lamb might avail for the forgiveness, cleansing and renewal of the believer a God- appointed, God-anointed high priest is needed. Such a Great High Priest Jesus Christ became. In virtue of His perfect life on earth, in virtue of His perfect sacrifice upon the Cross, in virtue of His finished work for man's redemption, the God-man sits at the right hand of God as our Great High Priest. He is there as our Forerunner, having made a blood-sprinkled path from earth to heaven — even into the Holy of Holies — for sinful men (Hebrews 6:20; 10:19). He is there as our Representative before God, "a merciful and a faithful high priest in things pertaining to God." While down here on earth He was tempted in all points like as we are so He is a High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:14-15). He knows our trials, afflictions, disappointments, difficulties, sufferings and sorrows, for He has met and passed through them on earth. Therefore He is able now to succour them that are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

The Sympathetic Advocate
God cannot condone sin nor company with it whether that sin is in the sinner or in the saint. Sin always, everywhere, separates from God. When the believer sins, his fellowship with God is broken, but he cannot restore himself any more than the sinner could save himself. As the sinner needed a Saviour to open a way to God through redemption so the saint needs an Advocate to keep that way open through restoration.

Such an Advocate must be one who sympathetically understands the awful power of sin and himself has felt its tremendous pressure upon spirit, soul and body, and yet one who has been uncompromising in his refusal to yield to it in thought, word or deed.

Such an Advocate must be one who is able to have access moment by moment to God and one who has a remedy to offer God for the things he attempts to make right.

Such a righteous and effectual Advocate the believer has in Christ Jesus. Such an efficacious remedy for cleansing and restoration Christ has in His shed blood.

1 John 2:1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

1 John 1:6-7, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth Us from all sin."

As the sinner is cleansed once for all from the guilt of sin through the precious blood of Christ, so the saint in the same way is cleansed daily from the defilement of sin.

The Faithful Intercessor
God was not satisfied with delivering the sinner from the old sphere of death, darkness and disorder but He wished him to claim and use to the full his possessions and privileges in the new sphere of life, light and liberty. He is not content merely to have a man saved but He purposes to have him saved to the uttermost. God is able not only to lift the sinner from the lowest depths of life on the plane of the natural but also to exalt the saint to the highest heights of life on the plane of the spiritual. For this He has made ample provision in the faithful intercession of the exalted Lord.

Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

The intercession of the exalted Son is the capstone of His finished work. What He made potential through His crucifixion on the Cross He makes actual through His intercession on the throne. "The intercession of the exalted Christ for the saint is the projection into experience of the saving act of the crucified Saviour for the sinner. It is by His work from heaven that we appreciate His work upon earth."

In His last prayer with the disciples on earth, recorded for us in John 17, He unveils the nature and the content of His High Priestly intercession for all believers. He prays for their safety and their sanctification; He anticipates the oneness of life which He as Head will have with them, as members of His Body; and prays for His perpetual presence in them that it may mean the perfection of His life in theirs. "Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us," praying that God's eternal purpose which He wrought out in the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and exaltation of His Son may be perfectly realized in the life of the believer in his complete deliverance from bondage and in his full acceptance of Christ.

In the ascension and exaltation of Jesus Christ God completes the fourth span in the bridge of salvation.

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

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