Audio Video Library
General Beliefs Site Search Time Line
E-Mail Us Web Links Home
 

Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Acts 7:56, "And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand
of God."

Hebrews 1:3, "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all
things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of
the majesty on high;" Hebrews 8:1, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

This morning, we find that certain passages seem more "broad" in scope, while others are "fine tuned"
in their application. Our problems with rightly dividing is when we broaden a fine passage (extend
Scripture beyond its intent) or shorten a broad passage (try to hedge everyone's opinion into our
funnel). May we seek the wisdom to know which is which. Whenever verses speak of "specifics" to a
thing, we find identifiers in the verse that notify us of something either being broadened or honed in. Such
is the case before us in the verses above. At first glance, the phraseology may appear to be minor in
difference. But, some of the identifiers hone in the thought of the application quite firmly that makes it
incumbent upon us to bring out the right application in each. It is most definitely true that teaching a
correct principle by wrongly applying a verse is better than teaching an unsound principle, but may we
seek to not only teach sound doctrine but apply it properly as well.

In the first verse above from Acts 7, Stephen is being stoned to death for preaching the gospel of our
Lord and Saviour. Before he falls on sleep, he declares what he has been blessed to see, and the
sight spoken of includes Jesus "standing" at the right hand of God. The word "standing" is one that not only
carries the thought of action but also something that is not complete but still ongoing. Since there is
something about Christ that is ongoing (even unto this present hour) and yet other things that are forever
complete, we must, necessarily, get the right application. Notice that Stephen is praying and
begging supplication of the Lord during this trying and difficult hour. Since Jesus is our only Mediator
to God (I Timothy 2:5), He is the One that will be hearing and answering that supplication. Therefore,
the sight of Jesus standing at the right hand of God declares to us that He is fulfilling His function as
our Mediator. He was hearing Stephen's prayer, giving him dying grace, and receiving his spirit unto the
heavenly portals. This work continues today as we offer up prayer to God and pass from the scenes of
this life. He still answers prayers, and He will one day receive our spirit at death and lead us home to
glory.

Moving on to the verse in Hebrews 1, we find that our Saviour is not standing at God's right hand, but
He has "sat down." The tense of things (past, present, or future) is always important for proper
Scriptural exegesis. The former verse used "standing" (present tense), while this verse from Hebrews used
"sat down" (past tense). So, while the other is still going on today, the one now in view has been fulfilled
and accomplished. It is not hard to determine from the language that Paul is employing in the opening of
Hebrews that his thrust is not mediatorial work, but rather, it is the language of redemption and
atonement. This work that Christ fulfilled by Himself for our salvation unto God is fully and totally
complete. The simple fact that Christ sat down from this work tells us that there is nothing left to
accomplish. When Christ was crucified some 2000 years ago, He declared, "It is finished." While we
understand that the law age was ended (as signified bythe rending of the veil of the temple), we also see
that the legal work of our atonement was ended as well.

Because our Lord has tasted death for us, we have been spared from our just desserts by the sacrifice of
Himself. But, He does not still suffer in crucified form. While we can crucify Him afresh and put Him to
an open shame by our actions (Hebrews 6), we are not literally bringing Him out of heaven's pure world to
once again be nailed to a cross. Rather, our actions are showing that we are not trusting in His sacrifice
as we should. Paul said that he did not want to frustrate the grace of God by saying righteousness
came by the law. (Galatians 2:21) We cannot stop the effectual grace from coming by our actions, but we can
stunt the benefits of the peace and assurance that come from it. Likewise, we cannot literally crucify
Him again by what we do, but our minds can lead us away from the finished work at Calvary to think we
have something yet left to effect for our own redemption. No, beloved, the simple statements, "It
is finished" and "by himself purged our sins" effectively prove that He has the full right and
privilege to sit down from this work as there is no more of this type of work to do.

The last verse from Hebrews 8 is probably one of the most special ones to me. While there is much to say
on the whole verse, the thought of Christ being "set" at the right hand of the Majesty is where we would
seek to dwell right now. The reason this is so special is that the verbiage in this verse gives us
assurance and sweet rest that the other two are true and will remain so. For example, what if someone
acted as your mediator in an earthly matter and handled your affairs quite well? What if this same
person offered himself as some form of substitute and collateral for any trouble you might incur upon
yourself? These actions would prove quite sufficient for your well-being provided there was none greater
and more powerful that could force your mediator and saviour to cease from these things. The verse in
Hebrews 8 sufficiently proves to us that such will never happen with our Mediator and Saviour. The word
"set" is not the same as "sit" or "sat." While the prior verse implies to us completion and satisfaction,
this verse implies to us immutability and power.

The word "set" is most commonly used today to describe something like concrete "setting up." When
concrete sets, it is in place and firm whether we like how it turns out or not. David used the same word to
describe his position in Christ after being brought up out of the horrible pit and miry clay. (Psalm 40:2)
Since we are set upon Christ (never to fall away), the assurance that we have of this promise is that He is
set on the right hand of God (never to be moved). There is no king, magistrate, power, or principality
that is strong or powerful enough to force Him to vacate His rightful place on His Father's right hand.
None can shake Him, move Him, or coerce Him in any way. Since He is the Sovereign over this creation,
all are in subjection to His power and authority. It is due to this blessed fact that our assurance of
finished redemption is secure. It is due to this wonderful truth that we can offer up prayers and
supplications unto God with the bold hope and consolation that He ever liveth to make intercession
for us.

May we thank God for the position we are in due to His marvellous grace. May we rest in the arms of a
satisfied and immutable Saviour that cannot be deposed from His throne. And may we show forth this thankful heart as we should by offering up prayers without ceasing, walking in newness of life, and keeping the mark of Christ Jesus our Lord firmly in the forefront of all of life's activities and responsibilities.

In Hope,

Bro Philip