By Rev Dr Edward Goh
During this season of Lent, it is appropriate for us to devote time to contemplate the work Christ has accomplished for us at the cross. What does this work on the cross encompass? The answer to question 23 of the Shorter Catechism is helpful here. It says Christ executes the office of a redeemer in both His state of humiliation and His state of exaltation. What then do the two states consist of? Why should we consider them as one in His work as our Redeemer?
His state of humiliation refers to His incarnation, His earthly life, His death, and burial. His state of exaltation consists of His resurrection, ascension, session, and final return. Without his state of exaltation, Christ’s death on the cross will be the most tragic event in the universe. It will mean there is no salvation, no hope, and no gospel for us in this world. It is His resurrection, ascension and final return that turn his death and suffering into the glorious promises of the Gospel for all who will believe in Him. Death is defeated. Christ’s righteousness is vindicated. He rose to become the head of the Church. The incarnation and the cross become His pathway to glory. The shame and humiliation of the cross become the glorious theme of worship in heaven, as the Lamb who was slain stands at the centre of the heavenly throne room. As He has ascended, Acts 1:11 says He will return to bring us back with Him forevermore. This exaltation, His and ours, is the fruit of the cross. It is our hope and comfort that no disease, pain, trouble, and sorrow can rob from us.
This is so because Christ by His Spirit has united us to Himself, so that we are dead, buried and risen with Him, and now, seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly places. Our baptism as Romans 6 reminds us, points to this spiritual reality. This is the resurrection power that is at work in us, producing the life of Christ within us. This means in our weaknesses, failures, and sufferings, we can become strong in the strength of Christ. We know our ultimate destiny is hidden in Christ, that when He appears, we shall appear with Him in glory. Hence, we can give thanks in all our circumstances. Our grateful heart is the life of Christ pulsating within us, shining through our life and circumstances, that we can be more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. This is the Good News we can reflect on and rejoice in, this season and beyond.