Anchored to the Throne
Because our Savior ascended to heaven, we have a sure hope.
by ROBERT J. MORGAN
AN OVERSEAS CHRISTIAN asked me a question I couldn’t answer: “Why don’t you Americans celebrate Ascension Sunday the way you do Christmas and Easter?” Churches in other countries, he said, emphasize Ascension and Pentecost, because those days complete the cycle of Christ’s ministry until He returns.
He’s right. The New Testament has a lot more to say than we realize about the ascension of Christ and His return to the throne. As I’ve studied this subject, I’ve found references to Christ’s role at the right hand of the Father in almost every New Testament book.
In the opening preamble of Hebrews, the writer spoke of how Jesus, having provided purification for sins, “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). In Hebrews 4:14, we read, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to our confession.”
Hebrews 8:1 says, “We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to keep our eyes on Christ who “endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
My favorite verse about this in Hebrews — one I’ve committed to memory — is Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.” Like the other verses I’ve mentioned, this one is connected to the ascension. Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this man [Jesus Christ], after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” Because He is high and exalted, ascended and glorified, enthroned and unequaled, we should do something. We should “hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful” (v. 23).
Let Us Hold On To
This verse begins by telling us to hold on! I’ve come to the age where I’m learning to hold on to things — the handrail down the steps, the grab bars in the bathroom, the handgrip on the airport tram, the pew in front of me when my eyes are closed in prayer. I’m not unsteady, but I’m old enough to know that a needless fall can do a lot of damage. The same is true spiritually. In our daily Christian walk, the pavement is sometimes uneven, and the winds can blow against us. The enemy wants us to stumble. Our job is simply to hold on … but to what?
The Confession of Our Hope
We must hold to the confession of our hope — that is, to the hope we profess. Let’s think of it like this. Up there, just ahead of us, is a city with foundations whose builder and maker is God. The city abounds with beauty — with buildings, rivers, streets, parks, and the throne of God. Its habitations are filled with those who have preceded us, and one day soon all our trials and troubles will cease, and we’ll serve Him there forever.
Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
If you’ve been on a ship of any size, you’ve seen the anchors that are lowered into the water to stabilize the vessel. We have an anchor, too, but instead of lowering it into the tide, we swing it around and heave it heavenward. “It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” says Hebrews 6:19. In other words, our hope is anchored on the enthroned Lord Jesus Christ. The invisible rope of faith grips the solid rock, and we hold it as it pulls us forward. But how should we hold it?
Without wavering! To waver is to worry, and that’s why I memorized Hebrews 10:23. In times of worrying and wavering, I quote it to myself. It’s the Lord’s way of telling me to calm down, breathe deeply, look upward, and simply trust the One who resides on His throne as He pulls me through the stressful moments.
Dr. Jarrett Stephens was asked to speak to a group of kindergartners and first graders on the subject of hope. He arrived at chapel with a big rope. Getting up to speak, he tied one end around himself and asked a first grader to do the same with the other end.
“I told the kids that I represented God,” he said. … “I told the kid tied to me to run around and try his best to cause me to move. I outweighed the first grader by more than a hundred pounds! There was nothing he could do to make me budge. The kids all got a kick out of watching their classmate strain to try to pull away from me. He couldn’t because I had him anchored to me.”1
Pastor Stephens told the youngsters that hope has a rope, and the Lord is always at the other end — unmovable, unchangeable, and unwilling to ever let us go.
We hold on to Him in faith, and He holds on to us with His faithfulness.
Since He Who Promised Is Faithful
God’s faithfulness is His absolute determination to keep every syllable of every promise He has ever made. The reason we can hold to the hope we profess is not because we’re strong, trustworthy, or resilient. It’s because He who promised is faithful. When we speak of God’s faithfulness, we’re talking about His integrity, dependability, and utter infallibility. He longs to give us His promises because of His unassailable love, and He intends to keep them through His infallible strength.
The One who ascended to the heavens is watching over us. His Lordship is greater than our hardship. One day soon He will come again for us. Let us, then, hold on to the confession of our hope and not waver, because God has promised and He is faithful.
1Jarrett Stephens, The Always God (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2021), 202.
ROBERT J. MORGAN is the teaching pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, and a bestselling writer. He and Katrina, his late wife of 43 years, have three daughters and 16 grandchildren.