The Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Q & A 27-28: Christ’s Humiliation And Exaltation.

Q. 27 Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

A. 27 Christ’s humiliation consisted in His being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.

It was a form of humiliation for the Son, the second person of the Trinity, to be born a man. Added to this was the lowly condition of His birth and life (Lk. 2:7), and being made under the law (Gal. 4:4). Williamson put it this way: “Even though our Lord Jesus Christ as God was the giver of the law, or, in other words, the one who stood above that law which He had given, yet when He became man He Himself was subject to that law. When He became man it was His duty to keep the commandments of God perfectly” (p. 106). This was followed by the miseries associated with being despised and rejected (Is. 53:3).

Ultimately, He took upon Himself this human nature, that He might act as the only Redeemer and Mediator for the elect, enduring in the process God’s just wrath for sin (Mt. 27:46). He suffered covenantal cursing for our breaking of the first covenant in Adam, through the accursed death of the cross (Dt. 21:23; Gal. 3:13; Phil. 2:6-8). This He suffered even though He Himself kept the law perfectly (Heb. 4:15). In fact, it was His perfect keeping of the law that qualified Him to be our substitute (II Cor. 5:21). Finally, He was buried and continued “under the power of death for a time” (Mt. 12:40). We must remember that He did all this voluntarily (Ps. 40:7).

Q. 27 Wherein consists Christ’s exaltation?

A. 27 Christ’s exaltation consists in His rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and coming to judge the world at the last day.

Christ’s exaltation is fourfold-resurrection, ascension, session, and second coming. His resurrection, and all that follows, was as Paul indicated “according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:4 Cf. Pss. 16:9-11; 68:18; 110:1; Mt. 28:6). His resurrection was proof of His victory over death and acceptance by the Father of His work of redemption. His disciples witnessed His ascension up through the Glory-cloud (Acts 1:9), to sit at the Father’s right hand, to reign until the last enemy, death, was finally brought to His feet (Mk. 16:19; I Cor. 15:25-26). On that day He will come a second time in judgment. His resurrection was the assurance of the end in view (Acts 17:31 Cf. Mt. 25:31-32). However, prior to the second coming He continues His work, reigning from heaven as the Prophet-Priest-King. It is with this resurrection authority that He gave the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20). We therefore pray and labour that His kingdom would come, and His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt. 6:10; Lk. 11:2).

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