Resurrection, Ascension, and Forgiveness

In the last post we saw the explicit linkage between the cross of Christ and our forgiveness. We now turn our attention to the relationship of forgiveness to the resurrection and ascension of Christ. There are two key texts that draws these themes together, both of which come from the book of Acts.

Text 1


“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation,fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:36-38).
The “therefore” in the text links forgiveness with resurrection. According to Paul, who was the one speaking in the text, forgiveness is now a possibility because the tomb is empty. Christ took upon himself the sin of the world, absorbed the wrath it deserved, and took it with him to the grave. When he rose up from the grave he left our sin there. As a living Savior, he extends forgiveness for the sin he has thoroughly handled. 
Text 2


“The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31).
This text takes things a step further and ties both resurrection and ascension to forgiveness. In fact, in this text, we have cross, resurrection, and exaltation as necessary precursors for forgiveness. The emphasis, however, is on the role of the ascension/exaltation. Notice in the text that the exaltation of Christ was for a specific reason: repentance and forgiveness. Christ was lifted up from the tomb and into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God. He received a rightful seat of authority at God’s right hand in order to forgive.
This gives us a helpful vision of the present posture and purpose of Jesus. Even now he continues to use his power and authority to grant us mercy. He stands ready and able to extend liberating grace to all who would receive. It is as though he is on the edge of his seat looking for every opportunity to grant the forgiveness he so earnestly secured.
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