Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE UNINTERRUPTED INTERCESSION OF CHRIST”

Hebrews 7.25

I once read that the Roman emperor Constantine, who was confused about the gospel and thought that salvation could be obtained by baptism, waited until he was on his deathbed to be baptized. He supposed that baptism could cleanse his sins away, but was terrified about the penalty God would exact for the sins he knew he would no doubt commit after his baptism. His reasoning was to deal with his sins so close to his death so that he would be too weak and too far-gone to commit any sins after receiving baptism. Of course, Constantine completely missed the mark, basing his soul’s salvation on works of righteousness, specifically baptism, to do for him what baptism was never designed to do. Never in God’s Word do we find baptism saving anyone from his sins. Quite the contrary, we always see baptism as a picture of salvation, administered to someone who is already saved from his sins, to testify before witnesses that he is already saved from his sins.

Such was how John the Baptist administered baptism in the Jordan River except when he baptized the Lord Jesus Christ (Whose baptism was something else entirely), and such was how the Apostle Paul explained baptism as a picture of salvation in Romans 6.1-6, after his explanation of how one comes to be saved through faith in Christ in Romans chapters 4 and 5. Unless there are contradictions in the Bible (and there are no contradictions in the Bible), baptism cannot be the means for salvation from sins because salvation is always and ever shown in the Bible to be appropriated by grace through faith, apart from works.[1] Therefore, though Constantine was completely wrong about the place of baptism in God’s scheme of things, not realizing that baptism is for believers and does not make sinners into believers, he did have a valid concern. What about the sins that are committed after conversion? How are the sins that are committed after one becomes a Christian dealt with? Sure, Jesus forgives a sinner’s sins. However, what is to be done by Christ about the Christian’s sins?

Turn in your Bible to First John 1.7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Notice the last phrase, where we are informed that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, “cleanseth us from all sin.” The “us” in that phrase, applies of course to true believers only, those who are really and truly converted to Christ by means of their faith in Christ. The blood of Christ “cleanseth” those of us who are Christians “from all sin.” However, what is meant by this word “cleanseth?” Let me read to you how the famous Greek scholar A. T. Robertson explained the concept conveyed here:

Walking in the light with God makes possible fellowship with one another and is made possible also by the blood of Jesus (real blood and no mere phantom, atoning blood of the sinless Son of God for our sins). John is not ashamed to use this word. It is not the mere ‘example’ of Jesus that ‘cleanses’ us from sin.[2]

 

What about sin since your conversion, Christian? Answering the question what is the blood of Jesus Christ washing sin away, all sin. Further, the verb translated “cleanseth” is of the present active indicative form, meaning that the cleansing of all sin is continual and ongoing. Thus, the cleansing properties of Christ’s blood never ceases.[3] Therefore, we know what happens to a Christian’s sin. A Christian’s sin is cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The question to address now is why and how such ongoing cleansing is possible? To answer those questions requires several intermediate steps. We know that the entire Bible is one connected whole, linked by the scarlet thread of redemption and written by the same Author, the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it should surprise no one that the answer to our questions is found at the beginning, in the middle, and near the end of the Bible. Though we will not turn there, let me remind you from Genesis 14.18-20, of Melchizedek, to whom Abraham gave tithes. Melchizedek was “the priest of the most high God.”[4]

With this in mind from the beginning of the Bible, turn to the middle of the Bible, Psalm 110.4: “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Allow me to state what I will not at this time prove, that the God of Israel is here speaking to His promised Messiah, announcing that His is a priesthood forever after the order of Melchizedek. Jewish people know from this prediction that their Messiah, when He comes, will be a priest. However, He will not be a descendant of Israel’s first high priest, Aaron. That is significant. It is significant, in part, because we know that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of the tribe of Judah, and was not from the hereditary priestly tribe of Levi, as were all the descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest. Now turn to Hebrews chapter 7.

One of the accomplishments in the letter to the Hebrews is establishing that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the unique prophet, priest and king, is a superior priest to any Levite who is a descendant of Aaron. In what ways is the Lord Jesus Christ’s priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, superior to Aaron and his descendants’ in the Aaronic priesthood?

·         First, in Abraham his great grandson Aaron tithed to Melchizedek, showing Christ’s priesthood after the order of Melchizedek to be superior to Abraham, who was superior to his descendant.[5]

·         Second, Christ’s priesthood was more efficacious than the Aaronic order, in that Christ’s priestly activities actually remit sins rather than merely covering sins, washing them away in His blood rather than merely atoning them, which is covering them.[6]

·         Third, the Aaronic priests inherited their position, while God, Who said, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek”, swore Christ’s priesthood to Him.

·         Fourth, Christ’s priesthood is of longer duration, since Aaronic priests all died and Christ lives ever more.[7]

·         Fifth, Christ’s priesthood is perfectly suited to us, since Jesus is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens,” while Aaron and his descendants were all sinners themselves.[8]

It might not seem so significant to you that Christ’s priesthood is in every way superior to Aaron’s and his descendants, but you are not a first century Jewish person whose entire life has been immersed in Judaism as a religious expression, as a history of your people for more than a thousand years, and as a thoroughly integrated way of life with every other person you have ever known. To come out of all that cultural, racial and ethnic identity in favor of embracing Jesus Christ as your savior and being a Christian along with non-Jewish people, and resisting the temptation to give up in the face of discouragement and go back into Judaism, you had to be convinced on top of convinced that Jesus Christ truly is superior; superior to angels, superior to Moses, and as we have just reviewed, superior to Aaron. However, you and I are not Jewish Christians. Therefore, the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ has different appeals to you and me than it has for Jewish Christians of the first century.

To consider but one of the Savior’s appeals to us as our great High Priest, turn to Hebrews 7.25. When you find that verse, stand and read silently while I read aloud. Jesus Christ has an unchangeable priesthood, verse 24. Verse 25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The first half of this verse declares that Jesus “is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” Thus, no sinner can come to God, but must come to Christ to have access to God. Those who come to Christ are saved “to the uttermost.” That is, the Christian’s salvation in Christ is both complete and for all time.[9]

We know the what from First John 1.7. The what is the blood of Christ that continually cleanses us from all sin. The why and how are addressed by the last half of Hebrews 7.25: “he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Christ’s intercession for you, Christian, is without distraction or interruption of any kind. Under the Mosaic Law’s system of ordinances and offerings there was fire always on the altar, though the sacrifices offered were intermittent. Christ’s intercession, on the other hand, is continual. What unspeakable comfort may a poor weak Christian take in this, that Christ Jesus is every moment (take this in), that Christ Jesus is every moment (I say, every moment), presenting to the Father unanswerable arguments for pardon and grace to help in time of need.[10] Sometimes you are so discouraged you feel you cannot pray. Sometimes your prayers are so distracted that you think they have no audience and your words count for nothing. Do not be discouraged. The psalmist was sometimes so distracted that he wrote, “I am so troubled that I cannot speak,” Psalm 77.4. You are not the first to feel as you sometimes do, and you will not be the last. The good news, Christian, is that the Lord Jesus Christ is your remedy. He ever lives to make intercession for you. First John 2.1 reads, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” As well, there is Romans 8.34: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Three considerations related to the uninterrupted intercession of Jesus Christ for His Own:

First, HIS POSITION

An error crept into Christianity after several centuries, along with the rise of the costume wearing priesthood and the corruption of the simplicity of the gospel. Mosaics uncovered in ancient church and cathedral floors and walls depicting Christ’s intercession to the Father on behalf of believers pictured Him with outstretched arms, as if pleading with the Father for mercy and grace to Christians. That depiction of Jesus Christ’s intercession for believers is not true. In fact, as Romans 8.34 reminds us, Jesus is not standing before the throne of God pleading for anyone. He is in fact seated at the right hand of His Father on high. Jesus Christ is presently enthroned and occupies a position of great honor and inestimable glory. He enjoys His Father’s favor and is the most prized jewel of heaven.

He is now where He once was, when the prophet Isaiah saw Him, “high and lifted up.” His train once again fills the temple. He is once again surrounded by seraphims, who cover their faces, who cover their feet, and who fly while crying to each other their appraisal of Him, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”[11] His position bespeaks His relationship with God the Father, as His eternal and only begotten Son. His position bespeaks His power, as the omnipotent Creator and Sustainer of the universe. And His position bespeaks His great glory, this One Who is terrible in majesty.

This is our Intercessor.

This is our Advocate.

This is the One Who represents our case before the tribunal of God. He is the One Who persistently and ceaselessly defends us against the accusations of the Devil, Revelation 12.10.

This is His position.

Next, HIS PERMANENCE

The permanence of Christ’s intercession on our behalf is spoken to in our text: “he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Verse 24 shows us what this speaks to: “because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” Because Jesus Christ never dies, because He continues forever (He is the eternal Son of the living God), He will never leave His priestly office, He will never abandon His position. Thus, He will continue His intercession on our behalf without interruption.

When you have tired, He will not tire.

When you have failed, He will not fail.

When you are inconsistent, He remains consistent.

When you are distracted, He is attentive.

When you are weak, He remains strong.

When you will waver, He remains resolute.

You have never known anyone other than Him who has not disappointed you or betrayed you. Be they friends, loved ones, or family members, your hopes have at times been dashed by their inattention or by their unwillingness to fulfill either a commitment or an expectation you had of them. Such is not the case with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, His permanence as your faithful Intercessor is a normal outgrowth of His Own faithfulness and His commitment to keep His promises. He insists on faithfulness from those who serve Him, and He sets the example for what He demands by being ever faithful Himself. As well, what He says, that will He do. And He promised, in Hebrews 13.5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This is His permanence.

Finally, HIS PERSUASION

What does Jesus both say and do that renders Him effective when He intercedes on our behalf with the Father? Consider First John 2.2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” What does propitiation mean? It means satisfaction.[12] When Jesus Christ took my sins upon His body and suffered God’s punishment of my sins on the cross of Calvary unto death, He was then buried and rose from the dead. His resurrection showed that His sacrifice on my behalf was acceptable to God. Jesus suffered the just punishment for my sins. Jesus was raised for my justification.[13]

Therefore, whenever the issue of my sins is brought up the Lord Jesus Christ, enthroned at the right hand of His Father on high, speaks on my behalf as both my Intercessor and as God’s complete and utter satisfaction for my sins. I read from Romans 8.31, offering brief comments as we make our way through this marvelous and comforting assurance of Christ’s intercession on the believer’s behalf:

31     What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Why is God for us? God is for us because we have trusted His Son, Jesus Christ. God is for us because Jesus is for us.

32     He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

If a man gave you a million dollars, would he begrudge you a dime for the parking meter? Of course not. In like manner, if God has given you His Son, what good thing will He withhold from you? Of course, God withholds no good thing from those who trust His Son.

33     Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Who can succeed against you with Jesus being for you at God’s right hand? No one.

34     Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Is there any fault or sin or transgression Jesus has not already addressed? There is none.

35     Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36     As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37     Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38     For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39     Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This comfort and assurance that Paul glories in is based upon Christ’s never-ending intercession on the believer’s behalf.

The fact that Jesus persuades His Father on our behalf is established. What is the basis of His persuasion? His own blood. Jesus not only shed His blood for the remission of our sins, but the effectiveness of His shed blood continues to this day, First John 1.7, and will continue forever more. What He did on the cross two thousand years ago He continually keeps before His Father on our behalf in heaven.

Are there times that you sigh and groan?

Are there occasions when you have spoken for yourself as well as you can, but it is not good enough?

As well, are there not occasions when you are reluctant or embarrassed to speak for yourself to God?

Keeping in mind that His intercession is to help our weakness, not to excuse our laziness, be encouraged by the uninterrupted intercession of our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. You have a Friend in the throne room of the royal palace of heaven, beloved. He is Himself enthroned next to the Father Who sits on the throne of grace, that throne we are encouraged to boldly approach “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”[14]

Isn’t it wonderful to be a Christian?

Isn’t it important to make sure you are a Christian?



[1] Romans 11.6; Ephesians 2.8-9

[2] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol VI, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1933), page 207.

[3] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 785.

[4] Genesis 14.18

[5] Hebrews 7.1-10

[6] Hebrews 10.4

[7] Hebrews 7.23-24

[8] Hebrews 7.26

[9] Rienecker, pages 688-689

[10] Hebrews 4.15-16; 6.20

[11] Isaiah 6.1-5

[12] Rienecker, page 786.

[13] Romans 4.25

[14] Hebrews 4.16



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org