Able to Save
Adapted from a Sermon by J.C. Ryle
"He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." Heb 7:25
There is one subject in religion, about which we can never know too much. That subject is Jesus Christ the Lord. This is the mighty subject our the text this morning unfolds,—Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ’s intercession.
There is an infinite “fulness” in Christ. There are in Him “unsearchable riches.” There is in Him a “love … that surpasses knowledge.” He is an “inexpressible gift.” (Col 1:19: Eph 3:8,19: 2 Cor 9:15.) There is no end to all the riches that are treasured up in Him, in His person, in His work, in His offices, in His words, in His deeds, in His life, in His death, in His resurrection.
We will look into only one branch of the great subject this day. We will look into the intercession and priestly office of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These three points will be our help In opening our text:
I.—You have here a description of all true Christians: they are a people who draw near to God through Christ.
II.—You have the work that Jesus Christ is ever carrying on behalf of true Christians: He always lives to make intercession for them.
III.—You have the wonderful conclusions that the Apostle comes to with respect to Christ’s work of intercession. He says:—“he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
I.—You have first a description of all true Christians.
It is most simple, most beautiful, and most true. Great is the contrast between the description given by the Holy Spirit of a Christian, and the description which is given by man. With man it is often enough to say that a person “goes to church,” or that a person “belongs to this group of Christians or to that.” This is not how the Holy Spirit draws the picture. The Holy Spirit describes a Christian as a man who draws near to God through Christ.
True Christians draw near to God. They are not like the many who turn their backs on Him;—who go “into a far country,” like the prodigal son;—who go away like Cain “from the presence of the LORD;”—who are “alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” (Luke 15:13, Gen 4:16, Col 1:21) They are reconciled to God and friends of God.
They are not like the many who dislike everything that belongs to God,—His word, His day, His ordinances, His people, His house. They rather love all that belongs to their master. The very footprints of His steps are dear to them. His very name is soothing to their ears.—They are not as many who are content with coming to church, or with coming to the Lord’s table. They go further than that. They “draw near to God,” and they live in communion with God.
But more than this, true Christians draw near to God in a certain peculiar way. They draw near to God by Christ, pleading no other plea, mentioning no other name, trusting in no other righteousness, resting on no other foundation than this, that Jesus has lived, Jesus has died, and Jesus has risen again for their souls.
This is the way by which the true Christian draws near to God.
And consider well that the way of which I have been speaking is an old way.
It is well over 6,000 years old. All that have ever been saved have drawn near to God by this way. From Abel, the first saint that entered Paradise, down to the last believer that died this morning, they have all come to God only by Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father except through” Christ. (John 14:6)
And It is a good way.
It is easy for the worldly-wise to sneer at and ridicule it. But all the wit and wisdom of man has never devised a way more perfect, more complete, and that will stand up more firmly to all honest and reasonable investigation. Thought it has been to the Jew a stumbling-block; to the Greek foolishness.
But all who have known their hearts, and understand what God demands, have found the way made by Jesus Christ a good way, and a way that stands the fullest examination that can be made as to its wisdom. In it they find justice and mercy come together;—righteousness and peace meeting one another;—God, a holy God, yet loving, kind, and merciful;—man knowing himself a poor, weak, sinner, yet drawing near to God with boldness, having access with confidence, looking up into his face without fear, seeing him in Christ, his Father and his Friend.
Not least, it is a tried way.
Thousands and tens of thousands have walked in it, and not one of all that number has ever missed heaven.—Apostles, prophets, patriarchs, martyrs, early fathers, reformers, puritans, men of God in every age, and of every people and tongue have all walked in this way. They have had their battles to fight, and their enemies to contend with. They have had to carry the cross. They have found lions in their path. They have had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. They have had to contend with Apollyon. They have had to cross at last the cold dark river. But they have walked safely through to the other side, and entered with joy into the celestial city. And now they are all waiting for you and me to walk in their steps, to follow them, and to share in their glory.
My hope is that each of us would walk in this way. That each would draw near to God by Jesus Christ. Let there be no mistake as to the object which all true ministers of the Gospel aim at. They are not set apart merely to perform a certain round of ordinances; to read prayers, to baptise those that are baptised, to bury those that are buried, to marry those that are married.
They are set apart for the grand purpose of proclaiming the one true living way, and inviting you to walk in it. They ought to labour day and night, until they can persuade you, by God’s blessing, to walk in that way—the tried way, the good way, the old way—and to know the peace … which surpasses all understanding, (Phil 4:7) which in that way alone is to be found.
We pass on now to the second point which we will consider.
II. Our text speaks of the work which the Lord Jesus Christ is always doing on behalf of true Christians.
Let us pay special attention to this point. It is deeply important to our peace, and to the establishment of our souls in the Christian faith.
There is one great work which the Lord Jesus Christ has done and finished completely. That work is the work of atonement, sacrifice, and substitution. It is the work which He did when He suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
He saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, shipwrecked sinners. He saw and He pitied us; and in compliance with the everlasting counsels of the Eternal Trinity, He came down to the world, to suffer in our place, and to save us.
He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance. He did not stand on the shore and see the wreck, and observe poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore. He plunged into the waters Himself. He came off to the wreck, and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity, becoming a man to save our souls.
As man, He bore our sins and carried our transgressions. As man, He endured all that men can endure, and went through everything in man’s experience, excepted only for sin. As man He lived and went to the cross and died. As man He shed His blood, in order that He might save us, poor shipwrecked sinners, and establish a communication between earth and heaven.
As man, He became a curse for us, in order that He might bridge the gulf, and make a way by which you and I might draw near to God with boldness, and have access to God without fear. In all this work of Christ, remember, there was infinite merit, because He who did it was not only man but God. Let that never be forgotten. He who worked out our redemption was perfect man; but He never ceased for a moment to be perfect God.
But there is another great work which the Lord Jesus Christ is yet doing. That work is the work of intercession.
The first work He did once for all. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. It was a finished, perfect work, when Christ offered up the sacrifice on the cross. No other sacrifice needs to be offered, beside the sacrifice once made by the Lamb of God, when He shed His own blood at the Cross.
But the second work He is always carrying on at the right hand of God, where He makes intercession for His people. The first work He did on earth when He died on the cross. The second work He carries on in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father. The first work He did for all mankind, and offers the benefit of it to all the world. The second work He carries on and accomplishes solely and entirely on behalf of His own elect, His people, His servants, and His children.
Have you ever wondered how our Lord Jesus Christ carries on this work? How can we understand and grasp what is the meaning of Christ’s intercession? Here me must walk carefully and not pry into things too deep for us. Yet we can have some idea of the nature of that continual intercession which Christ ever lives to make on behalf of His believing people.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is doing for His people the work which the Jewish high-priest of old did on behalf of the Israelites. He is acting as the manager, the representative, the mediator in all things between His people and God.
—He is ever presenting on their behalf His own perfect sacrifice, and His all-sufficient merit, before God the Father.
—He is ever obtaining daily supplies of fresh mercy and of fresh grace for His poor, weak servants, who need daily mercy for daily sins, and daily grace for daily necessities.
—He ever prays for them. As He prayed for Simon Peter when on earth, so we may infer He prays for His people now.
—He presents their names before God the Father. He carries their names upon His heart, the place of love, and upon His shoulders, the place of power,
—and, as the high-priest carried the names of all the tribes of Israel, from the least to the greatest, when he wore his official robes: He presents their prayers before God. They go up before God the Father mingled with Christ’s all-prevailing intercession, and so are acceptable in God’s sight.
He lives, in one word, to be the friend, the advocate, the priest, the all-prevailing agent, of all who are His members here on earth. As their elder brother He acts for them, and all that their souls needs, He, in the court of heaven, is ever carrying on.
Does anyone here need a friend? In such a world as this, how many hearts there are which ought to respond to that call. How many there are who feel “I stand alone.” How many have found one idol broken after another, one staff failing after another, one fountain dried after another, as they have travelled through the wilderness of this world.
If there is anyone who wants a friend, let that one behold at the right hand of God an unfailing friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let that one rest his aching head and weary heart upon that unfailing friend, Jesus Christ the Lord. There is one living at God’s right hand of unmatched tenderness. There is one who never dies. There is one who never fails, never disappoints, never forsakes, never changes His mind, never breaks off friendship.
That One, the Lord Jesus, I commend to all who need a friend. No one in a world like this, a fallen world, a world which we find more and more barren and dark every year that passes—no one ever need be friendless while the Lord Jesus Christ lives to intercede at the right hand of God.
Does anyone here need a priest? There can be no true religion without a priest, and no saving Christianity without a confessional. But who is the true priest? Where is the true confessional? There is only one true priest,—and that is Christ Jesus the Lord. There is only one real confessional,—and that is the throne of grace where the Lord Jesus waits to receive those who come to Him to unburden their hearts in His presence.
We can find no better priest than Christ. We need no other priest. Why turn to any priest on earth, while Jesus is sealed, anointed, appointed, ordained, and commissioned by God the Father, and has an ear ever ready to hear, and a heart ever ready to feel for the poor sinful sons of men? The priesthood is His lawful right. He has delegated that office to no one. Woe to any one on earth who dares to rob Christ of His right! Woe to the man who takes upon himself the office which Christ holds in His own hands, and has never transferred to anyone!
And we ought to beware of thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ only as one who is dead. There are many who make this sad mistake. They think much of His death, and it is right that they should do so. But we ought not to stop short there. We ought to remember that He not only died, and went to the grave, but that he rose again, and ascended up on high, leading captivity captive.
We ought to remember that He is now sitting at the right hand of God, to do a work as real, as true, as important to our souls, as the work which He did when he shed His blood. Christ lives, and is not dead. He lives as truly as any one of ourselves. Christ sees us, hears us, knows us, and is acting as a Priest in heaven on behalf of His believing people. The thought of His life ought to have as great and important a place in our souls, as the thought of His death on the cross.
III.—I will now speak, in the third place, of the wonderful conclusions that the Apostle comes to with respect to the everlasting intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We need much encouragement and consolation in a world like this. It is no easy matter for a man to carry the cross and reach heaven. There are many enemies to be encountered and overcome. We often have to stand alone. We have at the best of times few with us and many against us. We need comforts and strong consolation to sustain and encourage us, and to preserve us from fainting on the way as we travel from Egypt into Canaan.
The Apostle seems to be deeply conscious of all this in the words he uses. He says—“He is able to save to the uttermost,”—to save perfectly, to save completely, to save eternally,—“those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
So much could be said about this glorious expression. But I will only point out a few of the thoughts which ought to arise in our minds when we hear of Christ’s ability to save to the uttermost. May these thoughts help you in private meditation on this wonderful subject.
1. Think, for one thing, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of the old sins of any believer.
Those old sins will never rise again, nor stand up to condemn the child of God. For what says the Scripture,—“Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Heb. 9:24.) Christ, to use a legal phrase, is ever making an appearance in the court of heaven on behalf of them that believe in Him.
There is not a year, nor a month, nor a day, nor an hour, nor a minute, but there is One living in the presence of God, to appear there on behalf of all the saints. Christ is ever appearing before God the Father on behalf of the men and women that believe in Him. His blood and His sacrifice are ever in God’s sight. His work, his death, his intercession, are always sounding in God the Father’s ears.
The nail-prints in Christ’s hands and feet—the marks of the spear in His side—the thorn-marks on His forehead—the marks of all that He suffered as a Lamb slain, are ever before God the Father in heaven. While Christ is in heaven, the believer’s sins will never rise in judgment against him. Believer, do not think of those old sins of yours with fear. Christ lives, and those old sins will not condemn you. We have an ever-living, ever interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
2. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of all the present weakness of His believing people.
And surely this weakness is very great. There are many of God’s children who know their heart’s bitterness, who bewail with strong crying and tears their shortcomings, their un-profitableness, and the meagre fruit they produce. But, believer, take comfort in the words of the Apostle John: “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,”—ever present with the Father,—“Jesus Christ the righteous,” and “He is the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 2:1) Those weaknesses may well humble you. Those infirmities may well make you walk softly before your God. But while the Lord Jesus Christ lives, those infirmities need not make you entirely despair. We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
3. Think again, that Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of all the trials that believers have to go through.
Hear what the Apostle Paul says to Timothy: “I suffer …. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Tim 1:12) So long as Jesus Christ lives, the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ may be assured that no affliction will be allowed to break off the union between him and his risen Savior. He may suffer greatly and be sorely tried. But while Christ lives he will never be forsaken. Neither poverty, nor sickness, nor bereavements, nor separations, will ever separate Jesus and his believing people. We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
4. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of all the persecutions that believers have to go through.
See what is said of the Apostle Paul, when he met with much opposition at Corinth. We are told that the Lord stood by him in the night, and said, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:10)
Remember what He said to the Apostle Paul at an earlier time, when He met him on the way to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) Every injury done to the believer, is an injury done to the living Head in heaven. And every persecution showered down upon the head of the poor child of God here, is known, felt, and, we may add with all reverence, resented, by our Great Elder Brother, who is ever living to make intercession for us. Christ lives, and therefore believers, though persecuted, will not be destroyed. “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37) We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
5. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of all the temptations of the devil.
Remember that famous passage in the Gospel of the Apostle Luke, where our Lord, speaking to the Apostle Peter, says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32) Prayer like that is still carried on. Those words were spoken as an emblem of what the Lord is ever doing on behalf of His believing people. Satan, the prince of this world, is always going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. But Christ lives, and while Christ lives Satan will not be able to overcome the soul that believes on Him. We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
6. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of the sting of death, and all that death brings with it.
When David remembered that, he said, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” (Psalm 23:4) You and I may die, but Christ still lives. The hour will come when friends can do us no more good, when all that love, and kindness, and affection can do to alleviate pain and make the last journey pleasant, can no longer give us any help. But then the thought that Christ lives—Christ interceding, Christ caring for us, Christ at the right hand of God for us—ought to encourage us. The sting of death will be taken away from the man that leans upon a dying and also a living Saviour. Christ never dies. Through faith in that living Saviour we will have a complete victory. We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
7. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost, in spite of the terrors of the judgment day.
Mark how the Apostle Paul rests on that in the 8th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, in that wonderful conclusion to that wonderful chapter,—a chapter unrivalled in the Word of God for privilege, beginning with “no condemnation” and concluding with “no separation!” Observe how he dwells upon Christ’s intercession in connection with the judgment of the last day. After saying, “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies,” he goes on—“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Rom 8:34-35)
The thought of Christ’s intercession, no less than His dying and rising again, was one ground of the Apostle Paul’s confidence in looking forward to the great day. His strong consolation was the recollection of a living Christ. That consolation is for us as well as for the Apostle Paul. We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
8. Think, lastly, and above all, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost throughout all eternity.
“I am” He says, “the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore.” (Rev. 1:18.) The root of the believer never dies, and the branches, therefore, will never die. Christ being “raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Rom. 6:9.) He lives, that all who trust in Him may receive honour and glory to all eternity; and because He lives, His believing people will never die. “Because I live,” to use his own words, “you also will live. “(John 14:19.) We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead but alive.
Would you know the secret for the perseverance of God’s own people? Would you know why it is that Christ’s sheep will never perish, and no one will ever pluck them out of His hand? It is truly a miracle. When you see the weakness in a believer’s heart, and prayers, and walk,—when you see how a just man may fall, sometimes seven times,—when you see, with all this, the believer’s perseverance, it is really remarkable.
To carry a candle on a stormy night, when winds and gusty blasts are blowing from everywhere,—to carry it still burning, steadily burning, along the street,—this is a wonderful achievement.—To go over a stormy sea in a little boat, to mount huge wave after wave, and not see the water breaking over the boat, and overturning it,—this is practically a miracle. To see a little child tottering along a busy mainstreet, a child some three or four years old,—to see it tottering on and making its way in safety, from one end of a long street to the other,—this is a mighty marvel. But after all, what is this but the life, and history, and experience of every true Christian?
Though he falls, he rises again; though he is cast down, he is not destroyed. He goes on steadily from one position to another. What is the secret of it all? It is the continual intercession of a mighty Friend at the right hand of God: a Friend that never slumbers and never sleeps: a Friend who cares for the believer morning, noon, and night. The intercession of Christ is the secret of the perseverance of the Christian.
Remember the words of the Apostle in the 5th chapter of Romans: “Since, therefore,” he says, “we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God; For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Rom. 5:9-10) Notice the connection: “Being already justified by his death, we shall be saved,”—and saved by what? “By his life,” by His ever living to make intercession for us.
Wise and beautiful is the comparison made by John Bunyan, in the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He tells us how Christian was taken into the Interpreter’s house, and how the Interpreter showed him many wonderful and instructive things. In one place he took him into a room where there was a fire burning, and showed him one ever pouring water upon that fire, and yet the water did not put the fire out. However much water he poured on, still the fire went on burning steadily. Then said the Interpreter, “Knowest thou what this means?” When Christian did not know, he took him behind the fire, and showed him one pouring on oil out of a vessel. This oil fed the fire, and made it burn more fiercely, notwithstanding all the water that was poured upon it. Then the Interpreter told him that this was a picture of Jesus Christ’s intercession. That fire was the fire of grace in the believer’s heart. He that poured on the water was the enemy of souls, the devil. But He that poured on the oil, standing behind the fire, was the Lord Jesus Christ, who by continual intercession and the supply of His Spirit, secretly and unseen by man, kept alive His own work in the believer’s heart, and did not allow Satan and all his agents to be victorious over him.
Would you know the secret of the believer’s boldness in prayer? It is a marvel how a man that feels his sin so deeply as the believer does, can speak with the confidence the believer frequently does. How one that acknowledges he is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, ruined, undone; who often does what he ought not to do, and leaves undone what he ought to do, and finds no health in him; how such a one as this can go before God with confidence, pour out his heart before Him freely, ask from Him what he needs day after day and not feel afraid,—this is wonderful indeed. What is the secret of it?
It is by the intercession of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that the true Christian knows His prayers are made acceptable, and received in the court of heaven. What is the believer’s prayer in itself? A poor, weak thing, unfit to rise above the ground. It is like a cheque without the signature at the bottom. What is the value of that cheque without the signature? Nothing at all. But add to it a few words, a very few letters, traced in ink at the bottom of that cheque, and that which was a worthless piece of paper a few moments before becomes worth, it may be, thousands of dollars, through the signature being attached to it. So it is with the intercession of Christ. He signs, endorses, and presents the believer’s petitions, and through His all-prevailing intercession they are heard on high, and bring down blessings upon the Christian’s soul.
Would you know the secret of daily comfort in all the labour, and business, and distractions we have to go through? We all know that they who have to do work in any secular calling, find the work oftentimes a sore burden to their souls. Oftentimes in the morning they feel, “How can I get through this day without a defiled conscience, without being sorely troubled and tempted to forget my God?” How shall a man get through the day with comfort, fill his office in the world, do his duty in the position to which God has called him? Let him lay hold upon the intercession of Jesus Christ. Let him grasp the great thought, that Christ not merely died for him, but rose again, and still lives for him.
Last of all, would you know the secret of comfort in looking forward to that heaven to which every believer desires to go? There are perhaps few children of God who do not sometimes feel anxious, troubled, and cast down, when they think quietly about the eternal dwelling towards which they are travelling. The nature of it, the manner of it, the employments of it, their own apparent unfitness and un-suitableness for it, will sometimes perplex their minds. These thoughts will sometimes come across the believer’s mind, especially in times of sickness, filling him with heaviness, and making his heart sink.
Now what better remedy is there against these thoughts than remembering the continual intercession of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Christ is gone into heaven to be the forerunner of a people who are to follow after Him. He is gone to prepare a place for them, and the place where He goes is the place where His people are to go before long. When they go there they will find all things made ready, a place for everyone, and a fitting and proper place, too, through the intercession of their Lord and Saviour.
There never will be a time when their company will not be liked in heaven. There never will be a time when their old sins,—the sins of their youth and their backslidings, their wickedness before conversion before the grace of God came into their hearts,—there never will be a day when all these sins will come up against them, and make them feel crushed and ashamed in heaven. Christ will be in the midst. Christ will ever stand interceding. Where Christ is, there His people will be. Where He lives, His perfect merit, His spotless righteousness, His intercession, will make them perfect in the sight of God the Father. They will stand in heaven seen in Christ, clothed in Christ, members of Christ, part of Christ, and so will possess a firm and solid and eternal title to the eternal joys of heaven.
And now a few words of application as we come to a close: a few words of faithful and heartfelt advice that these thoughts may bear fruit in your soul.
1. I would offer advice, first to all who are anxious and troubled respecting their soul’s salvation, and yet do not know what to do.
If you are such a person, I urge you and entreat you and invite you to come into the way we have been hearing of this morning. Come to God by the old and tried way, the way of faith in Jesus Christ. Draw near to God pleading the name of Jesus. Begin this very day to cry mightily to God in the name of Jesus on behalf of your soul. Do not try to plead anything for yourself. You have nothing to plead. Your life, your thoughts, your ways, they all condemn you. Say nothing about yourself but this,—that you are a sinner, a great sinner, a guilty and condemned sinner; but because you are a sinner, you turn to God.
Come to Him in the name of Jesus, saying you have heard that through Jesus a sinner may come near Him. Tell Him that you are a sinner, a great sinner, and an unworthy one. But tell Him that you come in the faith of His promises, in the confidence of His own Bible invitation, and in the name of Jesus, and for the sake of Jesus, and on account of Jesus, you ask to be received, heard, pardoned, forgiven, and accepted. Tell Him that you wish to have your name—even that name of yours connected up until now with worldliness, thoughtlessness, carelessness, and sin—added to the list of God’s dear children.
Will you say that you are afraid to come to God? This is a needless fear. You will not be cast out if you will only come in the way of faith in Christ. Our God is not stern. Our Father in heaven is full of mercy, love, and grace. We know that God is holy. We know He is just. We believe that He can be angry with those who persist in sin. But we also believe that to those who draw near to Him in Christ Jesus, He is most merciful, most loving, most tender, and most compassionate.
We tell you that the cross of Jesus Christ was the result and consequence of that love. The cross was not the cause and reason of God’s mercy, but the result and consequence of the everlasting love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, towards a poor, lost, and bankrupt world. Draw near in faith by that living way, Christ Jesus, to the Father. Do not think for a moment that drawing near in this way to God the Father by Christ, God the Father will not receive you. He will receive you gladly. As the father did to the prodigal son when he ran to meet him, so will God the Father do to that soul that draws near to Him in the name of Christ.
2. In the next place, I would encourage those readers who have walked in the way of God, and yet are afraid of falling.
Why should you be afraid? What should make you fear? What should make you suppose that you will ever be allowed to fall away, while Jesus Christ lives at the right hand of God to make intercession for you?
All the power of the Lord Jesus Christ is gathered on your behalf. He has undertaken to care for all the flock that God the Father has committed into His hand. He is ever at the right hand of God, and will never cease to care for it. Every member of that flock—the weakest, the feeblest member of that flock—is equally dear to the Lord and Saviour, and no one will pluck the least of Christ’s sheep out of God’s hand.
All the power of devils, all the power of the world, and all the enemies of the Christian, will not be able to pluck out of the hand of Jesus Christ one single soul who has been brought by the Spirit’s teaching to true union with Christ, and for whom Jesus Christ intercedes. The days of Christ’s weakness have passed away. He was “crucified in weakness,” (2 Cor 13:4) and was weak on our account when He went to the cross.
The days of His weakness are over. The days of His power have begun. Pilate cannot condemn Him anymore: He will come to condemn Pilate. All power is His in heaven and earth, and all that power is engaged on behalf of His believing people.
3. Finally, let me gladden all who belong to Him, by reminding them that Christ is yet to come again.
The Great High Priest is yet to come down from Heaven, to bless all the people who have believed on Him. One part of His work He did when He died on the cross. Another part of His work He is still doing—interceding for us at God’s right hand. But the third part of the High Priest’s office remains yet to be done. He has yet to come out from the Holy of Holies as the high-priest did on the day of atonement,—to come out from within the vail to bless the people.
That part of Christ’s work is yet to come. He is now gone into heaven itself. He is within the Holy of Holies. He is gone behind the vail. But our Great High Priest—a greater one than Aaron—will yet come out one day. He will come in power and great glory. He will come as He left the world, when He went up in the clouds of heaven. He will come to gather from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, all who have loved His name and confessed Him before men,—all who have heard His voice and followed Him. He will gather them together into one happy company.
There will be no more weakness, and no more sorrow,—no more parting, and no more separation,—no more sickness, and no more death,—no more arguments, and no more controversy,—no more fighting with the world, the flesh, and the devil,—and, best of all, no more sin. That day will be a happy day indeed, when the High Priest comes out to do the third, last part of His work,—to bless His believing people.
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20.)