STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.
Scripture References: I Cor. 15:3,4. Acts 1:9. Eph. 1:19,20. Acts 1:11; Acts. 17:31.
1. How many parts are there to Christ’s exaltation?
There are four parts to his exaltation. The first part is his resurrection from the dead; the second, his ascension into heaven; the third, his sitting down at the right hand of the father; the fourth, his coming to judge the world.
2. Is it possible to prove that he rose from the dead?
It can be proven by the many witnesses who saw him and talked with him after his resurrection. Another proof is that if it were not so our faith would be in vain as is taught in I Cor. 15:17.
3. Who was responsible for this miracle of rising from the dead?
Christ did this by his own power and Spirit as is taught by such verses as John 10:17,18, Rom. 1:4.
4. What does the resurrection of Christ teach us?
It teaches us to walk in newness of life. Rem. 6:4.
5. Why did Christ ascend into heaven?
He ascended into heaven that he might be returned to the glory he had before the world was formed (John 17:5). By his ascension he also took over, as Head of the church, the destination of all believers.
6. What does Christ do at the right hand of God?
Christ makes intercession for all believers at this place and is also preparing a place for them.
7. When and how will Christ come to judge the world?
He will come to judge the world at the last day. He will judge the world in righteousness, giving to everyone w hat is deserved. (2 Cor. 5:10)
The fourth part of Christ’s exaltation is to judge the world at the last day. As believers, we can thank God that at the judgment we will be declared righteous on the ground of our participation in the righteousness of Christ. The “book of life” will be opened, the book of God’s eternal electing love. It is indeed a day to which the believer can look forward, by faith.
There is a thought concerning the judgment that should cause us to sincerely examine our hearts before the Lord. The secrets of all hearts, the inward states and hidden springs of action will be brought in as the subject matter of judgment, as well as the actions themselves. As professing Christians, this thought needs to be considered.
It is a truth that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9), And yet it is an equal truth that the person who is sincerely saved through faith will show forth the fruits of good works as it is brought out very clearly in the next verse: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” If we claim Christ as our Saviour, the question is pertinent: Are we showing forth good works, are the fruits of the Spirit habitual with us or are the works of the flesh?
A. A. Hodge, in treating the judgment, states of the believers:
“Their holy characters and good deeds … wlll be publicly declared as the evidences of their election, of their relation to Christ, and of the glorious work of Christ in them.” (Matt. 13:43; 25:34-40).
It is important for us to ask of ourselves today, right now, Are we showing evidence of our election, of our relation to Christ, of the glorious work of Christ in us? Jim Elliot once wrote in his diary, ” ‘He makes His ministers a flame of fire.’ Am I ignitible? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame.” Is such our prayer? Will the day of judgment declare it and show forth the evidences of our election?
Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 28 (April 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor