1 Peter 3:18-20
For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh…
The ascension of our Lord was, in one point of view, only a result of His resurrection, and the proper completion of His triumph then achieved. That is, no new work was done by Him after His resurrection which brought about His ascension. It was His pleasure to remain on earth during those forty days, in order to show Himself alone to His disciples, and to establish beyond doubt the fact that He was risen from the dead; but they were only a delay interposed before that triumphant departure whose way was already prepared. First of all, then, the ascension of Jesus was the seal of the accomplishment of redemption. His work which He wrought in our nature was the rescuing it from the dominion of sin, and bringing it into union with God. This His glorious state of final perfection of humanity is not His alone. It belongs not to Him any more than His death and resurrection belonged to Him, as man individual. It belongs, in its actuality and in its effects, to our whole nature, which He bore on Him and bears on Him at this moment. In, and as accomplished in, that humanity thus glorified, does the Father behold all His creatures and all His purposes; in Him it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, and that all things in heaven and in earth should be summed up. O how blessed an encouragement is this, in all our difficulties and under all our troubles. Thou feeble Christian, who believest and prayest and strivest, but hast never laid firm hold on the hope set before thee, who day by day art conning over thine own imperfections, turn thine eyes from looking inward, and look upward on Him where He is. That human Body, pierced but glorified, marred above measure, but also exalted above measure, let that be thy one object of contemplation. There is thy safety; there thy guarantee of God's favour; on that blessed Form falls no frown of the Father's countenance, but an everlasting smile of approval, and under that smile thou, His lowly and fainting member, art included. Fix thine eyes on Him and fear not; in Him thou hast all; through Him thou shalt rise after all thy falls; shalt enter into the kingdom after all thy doubts; for he that hath the Son hath life. I want in my belief which is to sustain me, which is to renew me in holiness, something as present to me as the world and the flesh and the devil are present with me; not only a past fact, however gracious and glorious; but a present fact, which I may look upon as part of this moment in which I live and struggle onward. And I can find this only in the glorified form of my Lord, now in heaven at God's right hand, holding together this world, creating, blessing, vivifying, governing all things. This is no past matter. Far above this earth with her living tribes and her waving blossoms, far above these bright stars which bound the vision of the outward eye, I see that form of Him in whom I live; there is He who is made to me wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; His life is my obedience; His blood is my ransom; His resurrection is my justification. Earth and hell may combine against my weak nature; but there I see that nature standing in the Godhead glorified, and I know that I am safe. Outward appearances may discourage me to the utmost. Both the Church and the world are summed up in and ruled by that glorified One, who reigns above them both. Besides being the seal and pledge of our accomplished redemption, He is, in this His glorified state, our continuing High Priest and Intercessor. There, in the centre of the Father's glory, He rests not idle, nor is He unmindful of those whom He came to save. They are ever borne on His thoughts, and not the least of their cares or wants is forgotten by Him. Through Him, not as an unconscious medium, but as the living and conscious offerer, all prayer is made. Again, our glorified Saviour is the giver of the Holy Spirit. From Him all spiritual influence comes direct, and without union with Him no man has the Spirit of the Lord. And this is a most important consideration. For men are apt to imagine of our blessed Lord as withdrawn from His Church; and the participation of spiritual gifts and spiritual life to be derived from a long succession of secondary instruments, and ordinances of grace; whereas it is by direct contact of every believing soul with Himself in glory, that all spiritual grace and gifts are derived, and means and ordinances are but helps to lifting the soul by faith into realisation of His person and office, and into communion with Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: