Friday, 9 September 2016
He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:10
Here, Paul is still referring to the psalm he quoted concerning the ascension of Christ. He just noted that His ascension implies that He had to first descend. Christ did not originate on earth, and therefore He had to have come from elsewhere; He descended to our lowly station. Now Paul speaks of “He who descended…” It is He and not another. The same One who came from heaven, descending to dwell among us, “is also the One who ascended.”
The descent was the incarnation; God uniting with human flesh. After that, he ascended – fully God and fully Man. He did not put off His humanity, but retains it forever. And yet, in this marvelous state, it is He who “ascended far above all the heavens.” The ascension of Christ was a demonstration that He is fully God. In Matthew 28, we see what it means to be in this state –
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
With this power, He ascended. And this was not just “above the heavens,” but “through the heavens.” This is noted in Hebrews 4:14 –
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
The expression gives us the sense of Christ’s movement from sphere to sphere, claiming authority over each as He went. Eventually, He came to His final and most exalted spot, there to rule from the throne of God with His Father. From this highest position, far above the heavens, He rules completely and fully. This position is His in order “that He might fill all things.”
If we think of being in a room which is completely dark and then a light is turned on, we can partially understand Christ’s position. The light shines and it dispels all darkness. Everything becomes clear and the entire room is filled with what was once lacking. We receive the light, the heat of the light, the knowledge of what the light shows us, and so forth. This is what God has done in Christ.
The universe itself was frustrated by sin. There was darkness and chaotic occurrences because the devil had stepped in and fouled things up. The light of Christ, however, shone through the darkness and the darkness could no longer overcome the light. And this remains true. Christ’s light is being radiated out, filling all things according to a set plan. Thus He fills all things. As Ellicott says it –
“Christ, as God, is present everywhere; as glorified man, He can be present anywhere.”
Life application: We may think there is darkness in the world which is gaining traction and somehow frustrating God’s plans, but this is not the case. They are being worked out despite the darkness. He has simply allowed it to continue until the time of His choosing. Christ’s victory assures us that this is so.
Heavenly Father, it seems that there is a pall of darkness on the earth which is taking over and vexing the plans for a perfect world for us to dwell in. But Your word tells us that the darkness is already defeated through the work of Christ. His light is there, radiating out Your plan which is being fulfilled despite the forces of wickedness. What a great hope we possess. What we see around us is temporary and it has an appointed time when it will end. In Christ is victory, light, and fellowship. Thank You for this marvelous hope that we possess! Amen.