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Christ at the Right Hand (2)

P Harding, Newton Stewart

The Pre-eminent Head (Eph 1.20)

In verses 19-23 of Ephesians 1 Paul links the display of the power of God with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. He states that the risen Lord, now at the right hand of God, is far above every form of government and rule in the universe; far above every position and rank in the universe; and far above every name in the universe.

Here the pre-eminence of Christ is linked with "the church, Which is his body" (vv.22-23). The risen Head of the Church is absolutely pre-eminent, with all things under His feet. Although this pre-eminence of Christ in every sphere is not yet displayed, it is nevertheless true and will be fully demonstrated in a coming day. Although the emphasis in Ephesians is on what the Church is to Christ, in Colossians we see that all nourishment and blessing comes to the Church from the risen Head. The quality and character of the life that dwells in Him, the fountain head, flows to every member of His body: life eternal and life victorious (Col 2.19). The wonder of the statement in Ephesians 1 is that there is a sense in which the Church is essential to Christ - "the fulness of him…" (v.23). This staggers the mind and surely captivates the heart when we appreciate that through grace and on the ground of precious blood shed we who were guilty sinners have been brought into such a relationship. If this relationship is ours, surely we ought to order our lives in keeping with it and show our allegiance to the "pre-eminent head" in every department of our being.

The Powerful Attraction (Col 3.1)

In the closing verses of ch.2, the apostle shows that the believer has died with Christ and therefore by death he has been cut off forever from the world. Not only is this true, but in ch.3 the apostle shows that the believer has been raised with Christ and thus brought into a new sphere of heavenly life, although his members are still upon the earth. The full import of these verses is that the child of God should now have his heart in heaven where Christ is. As an exile longing for home, as a compass needle drawn to the north by magnetic power, so the believer should live under the attracting power of heavenly things. The powerful attraction for the believer is the Person at the right hand of God. The apostle states in v.4 that the life of the believer is a person - Christ. He is not only essential for our salvation but also for our happiness, and for a life of holiness and spiritual satisfaction. In the increasing knowledge of the risen ascended Christ is the power for victory. The Christian life is not governed by negative terms but in occupation with Christ. For the child of God, Christ is everything, and occupation with Him alone will ensure a victorious Christian life. However, we remind our hearts that we cannot be occupied with Christ and still practise sin; we cannot be attracted to Him without Christ-like features being developed in our lives; we cannot have an increasing intimacy with Christ and yet be marked by disobedience.

The Precious Sin-purger (Heb 1.3)

There is no doubt that Hebrews 1 is among the great chapters of the New Testament in regard to the Person of Christ. In the opening verses we see the fullness of His revelation; His sovereignty as heir; His ability as creator; His majesty as the brightness of God’s glory; the excellence of His person as the express image; His sufficiency as the upholder of all things; and the completeness of His work at Calvary.

A careful consideration of these glorious truths will be most rewarding. In v.3 the Son, having sat down at the right hand, is linked with the work He accomplished at Calvary. We notice, first, that this work of purgation was accomplished by Him personally - "by himself". None other could have accomplished what He did. The Son of God personally undertook the work of redemption and endured all the suffering and anguish which that involved. Second, the work of purgation was carried out perfectly. He who knew every claim of the Throne of God against sin, met every single one at Calvary. The perfection of the work of Christ is such that not only can sinners be pardoned and justified, but a basis has been laid upon which God will yet bring in "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Pet 3.13). Third, the work of purgation was accomplished permanently; when "he…sat down". Never has the work to be repeated, for it is eternal in its value. The proof of this is that the Lord Jesus Christ is at "the right hand of the Majesty on high (in the heights)". In His ascension the Lord "passed through (into, AV) the heavens" (Heb 4.14, JND) and "far above all heavens" (Eph 4.10) so that He is now "higher than the heavens" (Heb 7.26). The place signified in Hebrews 1.3 is thus the place of supremacy. Surely, then, as we recall all that He endured for us, we bow in adoration and, as we appreciate where He sits, we respond to all His claims upon us.

The Prospective Victor (Heb 1.13)

In this chapter, where we have God speaking, He speaks in Son (vv.1-2), about His Son (vv.3-4), for His Son (vv.5-7), and to His Son (vv. 8-14). In the closing section we see that His Son is:

1. Lord in deity - "Thy throne, O God" (v.8)

2. Lord in supremacy -"above thy fellows" (v.9)

3. Lord creatorially - "Thou, Lord…the works of thine hands" (v.10)

4. Lord eternally - "thou remainest" (v.11)

5. Lord inherently - "thou art the same" (v.12)

6. Lord in authority - "thine enemies thy footstool" (v.13).

He who sits at the right hand of God is the One whose virtues never vary, whose character never changes, whose ability never abates, whose faithfulness never fails, whose perfections never perish, and whose dominion will never diminish. In v.13 we have Psalm 110.1 quoted again, but this time it is in relation to His throne. We see our blessed Lord seated at the right hand of God only until His enemies are all subdued.

He is indeed the prospective victor. One day He will return to this sin-stricken, rebellious earth as King of kings and Lord of lords and overcome all opposition (Rev 19.11-21, 2 Thess 1.7-10; 2.8). Then shall His enemies be made His footstool; then He shall reign in righteousness (Is 32.1). The ultimate will be the subjugation of all things (Phil 2.9-11), and nothing can prevent this.

However, at present this is the time of His reproach in the world. True it is that we shall share in the coming display of the Lord’s glory and reign with Him, but remember that it is our responsibility now to share His reproach (Heb 13.13). Shame on us if we refuse to do so!



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