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New City Catechism 49.1

This week we begin with Question 49 of the New City Catechism, found in part 3 (questions 36-52), which focuses on the Spirit, restoration, and growing in grace.

Question 49: Where is Christ now?

Answer: Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.

In the Incarnation, God the Son assumed a human nature, uniting divinity and humanity in one Person. Jesus Christ, the God-man, lived a life of perfect obedience to God, gave up his life for his people on the cross, was raised from the dead, ascended into Heaven to the right hand of the Father, and will one day come again to judge and to reign over all. This gospel storyline depends on a truth about the Incarnation that we sometimes neglect to think about, namely, that the Incarnation is forever.

Jesus did not ascend into heaven in order to shed his human nature. Once God the Son assumed unity with humanity, he assumed that unity without end. That means there will always be a man reigning over the cosmos and interceding before the Father for his people. In the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, God fulfills the original destiny of humanity, which was that we might be exalted from dust to glory to reign with him over creation and, indeed, even over the angels (see Hebrews 2:5-9). Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man for all ages to come, is the culmination of God's design for us. The Incarnation never ends.

Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Psalm 8 and Hebrews 1-2. How does the author of Hebrews reflect on the teaching about humanity in Psalm 8? What does this passage teach us about what Adam could have been? What does it teach us about Christ and about our destiny in him?

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