Lord’s Day Eighteen

Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.

Lord’s Day 18

Question 46: What do you mean by saying,
“He ascended to heaven”?

Answer: That Christ,
while his disciples watched,
was taken up from the earth into heaven1
and remains there on our behalf 2
until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.3

1. Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
2. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 7:23-25; 9:24
3. Acts 1:11

Question 47: But isn’t Christ with us
until the end of the world
as he promised us?1

Answer: Christ is true human and true God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;2
but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is never absent from us.3

1. Matt. 28:20
2. Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21
3. Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:16-19

Question 48: If his humanity is not present
wherever his divinity is,
then aren’t the two natures of Christ
separated from each other?

Answer: Certainly not.
Since divinity
is not limited
and is present everywhere,1
it is evident that
Christ’s divinity is surely beyond the bounds of
the humanity that has been taken on,
but at the same time his divinity is in
and remains personally united to
his humanity.2

1. Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49 (Isa. 66:1)
2. John 1:14; 3:13; Col. 2:9

Question 49: How does Christ’s ascension to heaven
benefit us?

Answer: First, he is our advocate
in heaven
in the presence of his Father.1
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven
as a sure pledge that Christ our head
will also take us, his members,
up to himself.2
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth
as a corresponding pledge.3
By the Spirit’s power
we seek not earthly things
but the things above, where Christ is,
sitting at God’s right hand.4

1. Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1
2. John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6
3. John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5
4. Col. 3:1-4

The doctrine of the hypostatic union is an attempt to explain Godly things with earthly words…and earthly words always fail to fully explain Godly things (but that shouldn’t stop us from trying). The hypostatic union states that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Not half-man and half-God. Not sometimes God and sometimes man. He is 100% God and 100% man 100% of the time.

How does this work? Couldn’t tell you. But I believe what holy scripture has revealed about the nature, or natures, of Jesus. I believe that his physical body is in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father. I believe that his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
is never absent from us.

I love when the Heidelberg writers ask what is our benefit from these spiritual truths. How beautiful it is to see how events like the crucifixion, resurrection, and the ascension have practical implications for our lives and eternities! On top of all that, the answer provided is unmistakably Trinitarian!

We have an Advocate in the presence of the Father.
We have Christ as a sure pledge that he will come for his bride.
We have the Spirit as a Helper and a seal of ownership.

And…

By the power of the Spirit, we will seek the heavenly things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of the Father.

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