Christ our Intercessor (Part 2): 4 Encouragements for the Pilgrim
As we noted in the last blog post, Christ's intercession is the often forgotten work of Christ in our salvation. We explored in that last post what Christ does as our intercessor. In this post, I want to look at the encouragements we should enjoy from knowledge of this truth. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, Christ "always lives to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25).
First, we should find great comfort in the truth that Christ as our High Priest always lives to make intercession for us. We are never forgotten. In the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law required that stones be fixed in settings of gold on the High Priest's shoulders. One stone occupied his right shoulder and the other stone sat on his left shoulder. And engraved upon these two stones were the names of the tribes of Israel. The Bible calls these two stones "remembrance stones." When the High Priest entered into the holy place dressed in the ephod, God would see all the tribes of Israel inscribed before Him on the shoulders of the high priest. This was meant to remind Him and move Him to have mercy upon His people.
My friends, Christ Jesus--as our High Priest--is in the Holy of Holies and He has our names inscribed upon the palm of His hands. We are ever before His face. He always remembers us. In John 10, He says, "I am the good shepherd, I know my own." We may not be able to see Him right now, but that doesn't mean He doesn't see us. We may not hear His audible voice from heaven right now, but He is far from silent. He is praying for you. And whatever He asks of the Father is granted to you. As He says in John 11:42, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me." The Father always hears Him, His prayers are always effectual, and He is always praying for you. He is faithful and will not leave His post. You have a besetting sin, He knows. You have a troubled marriage, He sees. You cannot seem to overcome the death of your loved one, He hears. He is ever there, crying out on your behalf, showing forth His wounds on your behalf. He is your intercessor. He is your High Priest. That should give us great comfort when the trials seem too much, the sin too great, the loneliness too present, or the doubts too real. There is comfort in knowing that He is interceding for us.
Second, we should derive much consolation in knowing that Christ as our High Priest always lives to make intercession for us. There isn't just comfort, but consolation. He isn't just concerned about our earthly trials, but our eternal trial. In Hebrews 7:25, immediately preceding the proclamation that Christ always lives to intercede for us, is an amazing statement. The writer of Hebrews says, "He is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through Him." If we have to draw near to God, it is implied that we are naturally far from God. This is what Paul says in Ephesians 2, "You who were once far off." Yes, we were far off. We were sinners, alienated, cut-off from God. But now the writer of Hebrews says, we can draw near.
We can draw near to God. Our sins are atoned for. He appears in the presence of God on our behalf, the writer Hebrews says in chapter nine. He is continually pleading the merit of His blood, so I need not fear any condemnation. None. I love that glorious Hymn, "And Can It Be." Have you ever considered the words in that final verse which say, "No condemnation now I dread; Jesus and all in Him, is mine. Alive in Him, my living Head. And clothed in righteousness divine." And then these striking words, "Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own." Bold, I approach the eternal throne. Yes, we can approach boldly through His intercession. Dear Christian, you are no intruder, you are no bother, no imposition. You are a son with full access to the Father, because Christ, our High Priest, stands ever before the throne of God. What consolation we have.
This leads to the third encouragement, confidence. Another, maybe more helpful word is assurance. The reality that Christ as our high priest, always lives to make intercession for us, should give us great confidence or assurance. He ever lives to make intercession for us and so it is not just that we may live without fear, anxiety, or worry about condemnation, judgment, hell, destruction, or death, but that we can in this reality forever. The passage says, "He is able to save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25). That word "uttermost," could be qualitative which would mean He is able to save "completely, fully, or wholly." Which of course is true, but in the context it is clear that what is in view is the temporal--time. He is able to save to the uttermost, meaning "forever." He didn't just save you, but forever saved you.
Christ is not a high priest that dies and thus His intercession for us ceases. His priesthood is eternal, therefore his intercession is eternal, thereby our salvation is eternal. Forever. You are His and He is yours. We can never be cast from heaven. We will never fall out of favor with the Lord. As John says in 1 John, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." He is always there. He never has a sick day, never closes his eyes in sleep, never dies. Our eternal salvation is secure forever. Nothing can change that. Nothing. No trial, no adversary, no upheaval, no argument, nothing.
The fourth is Consummation. The truth that Christ as our High Priest always lives to make intercession for us should lead us to look forward to that delightful consummation. When the high priest entered into the holy of holies, he entered as a representative. And as a representative, he not only enjoyed this communion with God for himself, but on behalf of the people. So even Christ as our High Priest enjoys full communion with God the Father in the heavens, but like the high priests before Him, He represents us. In fact, we are united with Him in a way that even supersedes the bond the ancient high priests enjoyed with the nation of Israel. What is His is ours. We are co-heirs. And so He is just the firstfruits born from the dead. He dwells with God as the firstfruits of his ministry.
There will be a day, when Christ as our High Priest leads us before the Father not just in prayer, but a day that we will see the consummation of His saving work as we bow before Him, gazing upon His glory, and enjoying perfect, sweet, continual communion with God for all eternity. You, dear saint, will gaze upon the glory of God. You will dwell with Him. It is not just that you have unfettered access to Him in prayer here in this life, but that you will have unfettered access to boldly approach His throne in that glorified flesh, when you are raised from the grave. You will bodily be welcome in His presence. It will be realized. His presence before the Father now is a guarantee that this will be our delightful consummation as well.
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