Thursday, July 23, 2020

2020.07.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 4:8–10

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Ephesians 4:8 quote from Psalm 68? What does Ephesians 4:9 teach from the “he ascended” (cf. Psalm 139:15)? To where has He ascended (Ephesians 4:10a, cf. Ephesians 1:20–21)? What does He do from there, verse 10b, cf. Ephesians 1:23, 2:19)?
God’s plan to call each believer to a different part in His church is ultimately a plan to glorify His Son.

But how could His Son ascend? Isn’t He, from all eternity and from the beginning of creation, above all creatures? Ephesians 4:8-9 reasons that, for Psalm 68:18 to be true of God, the incarnation would have to happen.

For God to be able to ascend, God would “first have to descend into the lower parts of the earth.” This phrase in Ephesians 4:9 is borrowed from Psalm 139:15, “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

Isn’t it glorious to know that Psalm 139 is a Messianic Psalm about Christ taking the role assigned to Him—to be made like us? And Christ perfectly hated the wicked, taking His own hatred out upon Himself, for all those upon whom He had set His love.

Having succeeded in a perfectly obedient life and fully atoning death, He not only rose again in victory but also ascended in that victory “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21).

Thus, God has indeed ascended (having first descended), just as prophesied in Psalm 68:18. Hallelujah!

And what is He doing from His glorious seat? Ruling and overruling all things for His church (Ephesians 1:22), which is His body (Ephesians 1:23), the fullness of Him who fills all things (Ephesians 4:10, cf. Ephesians 1:23) and especially fills that church with all the fullness of God (cf. Ephesians 3:19).

Surely, it is a great wonder that God the Son has become a creature, descended into a womb to become a man. But the emphasis in this wonder isn’t upon the humility of His filling a womb in the past. Its emphasis is upon the glory of His presently filling the church from His super-exalted seat in glory (Ephesians 1:10)! There is a resurrected Man (Who is God!) sitting upon the throne of heaven!!

Believers need to see by faith—by being convinced of the truths of these Scriptures—the great glory that is in the church… even a church that yet requires us to be longsuffering toward one another and bear with one another in love (cf. Ephesians 4:2).
When, in our lives, do we fellowship with and dwell upon Him who descended and ascended?
Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH370 “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing”

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