Intercessor/Advocate (Part 1)
“He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
This is a most powerful and encouraging scripture. It reveals at least three important theological truths that should give us great assurance of His saving power, the means by which we come to possess such saving grace, and also the means by which He sustains His saving grace throughout our lives.
“He is able to save forever.” What if the writer of Hebrews, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had written, “He is unable to save forever?” This, of course, would destroy all hope that we could ever possess any assurance of our standing in Christ.
Notice the scripture doesn’t say, or even hint at the notion, that He is able to mostly save, or to save, but not necessarily forever.
No – He is able to save forever. Period!
Who then is He able to save in such a way as this? “Those who draw near to God through Him.”
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6).
Here, John tells us that we cannot come to, or know the Father, except through Christ. Earlier in John’s gospel account, He writes: “No one can come to Me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” (John 6:44).
So we are drawn to the Father through Christ, and we are drawn to Jesus by the Father. The person of the Holy Spirit is the one who does the drawing. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me…” (John 15:26).
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment…” (John 16:8).
The wooing, drawing, and convicting are all the work of the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son both draw us, but it is by the means of the Holy Spirit, the Helper.
We then are saved forever (some translations say, “to the uttermost”), if we have been drawn near to God, through Christ Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.
“But wait, there’s more,” as the TV ads so often proclaim!
We must accept the fact that “He is able to save forever,” for scripture says it is so. We surely must know whether or not the Holy Spirit has drawn us to God and accomplished His regenerative work in our lives. (If you don’t know this, or have any doubts about His transformative, saving power being realized within you; stop right now, humble yourself, confess your sin, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, and surrender your life and your will to Him.)
So then, how can we be assured that we will be kept in right standing in Christ from now on?
Because: “He always lives to make intercession for them (us).”
Do you remember some months ago, when we were discussing various aspects of the Holy Spirit? In one letter I asked: “Where is Jesus?” Scripture showed us in Acts 2:32-33, Acts 7:56, and Hebrews 8:1, that Jesus is now, literally, geographically, and physically at the right hand of the Father.
And what is His ministry in this “right hand” positioning? “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34). “…He ever lives to make intercession for them (us).” (Hebrews 7:25).
The following is written by Dane Ortlund, in his wonderful book, Gentle and Lowly.
“To be justified is to be declared righteous in the sight of God, fully, legally exonerated in the divine court, based entirely on what another (Jesus) has done in our place. But justification is largely a doctrine about what Christ has done in the past, rooted centrally in His death and resurrection. “Therefore, since we have been justified…” (Romans 5:1). He died and rose again, and as we place our faith in Him, we are justified, for He died the death we deserve to die.”
But what is He doing now?
We don’t have to speculate. The Bible tells us. He is interceding for us.
Justification is tied to what Christ did in the past. Intercession is what He is doing in the present.
Think of it this way, Christ’s heart is a steady reality flowing through time. It isn’t as if His heart throbbed for His people when He was on earth, but has dissipated now that He is in Heaven. His heart is as drawn to His people now as ever it was in His incarnate state. And the present manifestation of His heart for His people is His constant interceding on their behalf.”
What a rich and accurate description of Christ’s present intercessory ministry on our behalf! Ortlund later states: “Intercession applies what the atonement accomplished.”
Need we fear or have any doubts in regard to our standing in Christ or the security of our salvation when He is always, ever, and continually praying for us?
And lastly, let’s consider another wonderful aspect of His intercessory prayer ministry. Do you have pressing needs that you continually bring to the Lord in prayer? Health needs? Wayward children or grandchildren? Financial needs? The list is long, and sometimes it seems it’s getting longer.
Think of this. When you’ve prayed your prayers, offered your earnest petitions, and finally concluded with, “In Jesus’ name, Amen”… He still prays! When you lay down in bed at night and in the closing moments of the day, articulate your concerns to Him, exhausting your vocabulary… He still prays! When the sheer exhaustion, both physically and emotionally of once again coming to Him with that same request, feeling as though you’ve been trying to break a very large boulder with a very small hammer, and entertaining the idea of just laying that hammer down… He still prays!
What a Savior! What a friend! What a great high priest we have in Heaven, who: “…Holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them!”