“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.” —HEBREWS VII. 25.
There is one subject in religion, about which you can never know
too much. That subject is Jesus Christ the Lord. This is the mighty
subject which the text that heads this page unfolds,—Jesus Christ,
and Jesus Christ’s intercession.
I have heard of a book entitled “The Story without an End.” I know
no story deserving that title so well as the everlasting Gospel:
this is indeed and in truth the story without an end. There is an
infinite “fulness” in Christ; there are in Him “unsearchable riches;” there
is in Him a “love which passeth knowledge;” He is an “unspeakable
gift.” (Coloss. i. 19; Ephes. iii. 8; iii. 19; 2 Cor. ix. 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. I take but one branch
of the great subject this day. I am going to speak to you about the
intercession and priestly office of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God
the holy Ghost bless the consideration of this subject! May He, without
whom ministers preach and write in vain, apply the subject with power
to your soul! If His blessing goes with this tract, good will be
done. If His blessing goes not with it, the words that I write will
fall to the ground.
There are three points which I purpose to consider, in opening the
text which heads this tract.
I—You have here a description of all true Christians: they are a
people who come to God by Christ.
II.—You have the work that Jesus Christ is ever carrying on on behalf
of true Christians: He ever lives to make intercession for them.
III.—You have the comfortable conclusion built by St. Paul upon
Christ’s work of intercession. He says: “He is able to save
to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him, because He ever
liveth to make intercession for them.”
I. —You have, first,
a description of all true Christians.
is most simple, most beautiful, and most true. Great is the contrast
between the description given by the Holy Ghost of a Christian and
the description which is given by man. With man it is often enough
to say that such a one “is a Churchman,” or that such a one “belongs
to this body of Christians or to that.” It is not so when the Holy
Ghost draws the picture. The Holy Ghost describes a Christian as
a man “who comes unto God by Christ.”
True Christians come unto God. They are not as many, who turn their
backs upon Him; who “go into a far country,” like the prodigal son; “who
go out,” like Cain, “from the presence of the Lord”; who are “alienated,
strangers and enemies in their mind by wicked works.” (Coloss. i.
21.) They are reconciled to God and friends of God. They are not
as many, who dislike everything that belongs to God,—His Word, His
day, His ordinances, His people, His house. They love all that belongs
to their Master. The very footprints of His steps are dear unto them.
His name is as ointment poured forth.—They are not as many, who are
content with coming to church, or with coming to chapel, or with
coming to the Lord’s Table. They go further than that. They “come
unto God,” and in communion with God they live.
But, more than this, true Christians come unto God in a certain
peculiar way. They come unto 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 hath lived, Jesus hath
died, Jesus hath risen again for their souls.
“I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.”
This is the way by which the true Christian draws near to God.
Reader, the way of which I have been speaking is an
It is well nigh 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 infant that died this morning, they have
all come to God only by Jesus Christ. “No man cometh unto the Father
but by Christ.” (John xiv. 6.)
It is a
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 bear more thoroughly
all fair and reasonable investigation. It has been to the Jew a stumbling-block;
it has been to the Greek foolishness. But all who have known their
hearts, and understood 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. Therein they find justice and
mercy met together, righteousness and peace kissing 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
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:
holy men of our own day,—men like Simeon, Bickersteth, Havelock ,—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 waiting for you and
me to walk in their steps, to follow them, and to share in their
Reader, this is the way I want you to walk in. I want you to come
unto God by Jesus Christ. Let there be no mistake as to the object
which true ministers of the Gospel have in view. We are not set apart
merely to perform a certain round of ordinances; to read prayers,
to Christen those that are Christened, to bury those that are buried,
to marry those that are ruined. We are set apart for the grand purpose
of proclaiming the one true living way, and inviting you to walk
in it. We ought to labour day and night, until we 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 passeth all under
standing, which in that way alone is to be found.
II. I pass on now to the second point which I purpose to consider.
The text which heads this tract speaks of the
work which the
Lord Jesus Christ is ever doing on behalf of true Christians.
ask your special attention to this point. It is one of deep importance
to our peace, and to the establishment of our souls in the Christian
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 unto God. He
saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, ship-wrecked 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
stead, and to save us. He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a
distance: He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and
behold 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, sin only excepted; as man He lived; as
man He went to the cross; as man He 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 wrought 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 upon the cross: no other sacrifice need be offered
beside the sacrifice once made by the Lamb of God, when He had His
own blood at Calvary . But the second work He is ever 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 upon 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 offer all 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.
Reader, how does our Lord Jesus Christ carry on this work? How shall
we comprehend and grasp what is the meaning of Christ’s intercession?
We must not pry rashly into things unseen. We must not “rush in where
angels fear to tread.” Yet some idea we can obtain 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 bed of
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 upon earth, so I believe 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 shoulder, the place of power,—as the high-priest carried
the names of all the tribes of Israel , from the least to the greatest,
when he wore his robes of office. He presents their prayers before
God. They go up before God the Father mingled with Christ’s
all-prevailing intercession, and so are so 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
upon earth. As their elder brother He acts for them; and all that
their souls require He, in the court of heaven, is ever carrying
Does any reader of this tract need a friend? In such a world as
this, how many hearts there are which ought to respond to that appeal!
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 one who wants a friend, let
that one behold at the right hand of God an unfailing friend, the
Lord Jesus Christ. Let that one repose his aching head and weary
heart upon the bosom of that unfailing friend, Jesus Christ the Lord.
There is one living at God’s right hand of matchless 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, it may be, every year we live,—no one
ever need be friendless while the Lord Jesus Christ lives to intercede
at the right hand of God.
Does any reader of this tract 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 need we turn to any priest upon 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 prerogative. He has deputed that office to none. Woe
be to anyone upon earth who dares to rob Christ of His prerogative!
Woe be to the man who takes upon himself the office which Christ
holds in His own hands, and has never transferred to any one born
of Adam, upon the face of the globe!
Reader, I charge you solemnly, never to lose sight of this mighty
truth of the Gospel,—the intercession and priestly office of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I believe that a firm grasp of this
truth is one great safeguard against the errors of the Church of
Rome. I believe that losing sight of this great truth is one principal
reason why so many have fallen away from the faith in some quarters,
have forsaken the creed of their Protestant forefathers, and have
gone back to the darkness of Rome . Once firmly established upon
this holy truth,—that we have a Priest, an altar, and a Confessor;
that we have a unfailing, never-dying, ever-living intercession,
who has deputed His office to none,—and we shall see that we need
turn aside nowhere else. We need not hew for ourselves broken cisterns
that can hold no water, when we have in the Lord Jesus Christ a fountain
of living water, ever flowing and free to all. We need not seek any
human priest upon earth, when we have a Divine Priest living for
us in heaven.
Reader, beware of regarding the Lord Jesus Christ only as one that
is dead. Here, I believe, many greatly err. 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
on 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 upon the cross.
III. I will now speak, in the third place, of
conclusions that the Apostle builds upon the everlasting intercession
of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need much comfort 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 have often to stand alone. We have at the best
times few with us and many against us. We need cordials and strong
consolation to sustain and cheer us, and to preserve us from fainting
on the way as we travel from Egypt into Canaan . The Apostle appears
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 technically,—”all that come unto God by Him, because He
ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Reader, I might say much on the glorious expression which is before
you. But I forbear. 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. I have not space to dwell on them at length.
I rather throw them out as suggestions to supply matter for private
1. Think, for one thing, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost,
the old sins of any believer. Those old sins shall never
rise again, not stand up to condemn the child of God. For what
says the Scripture: “Christ has not entered into the holy place
made with hands, but into heaven itself; to appear in the presence
of God for us.” (Heb. ix. 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 make an appearance 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.
I remember reading a story in ancient history which may help to
illustrate the truth on which I am now dwelling. It is the story
of one who was put upon trial for a capital charge, at Athens , shortly
after the great battle of Marathon . In that famous battle the Athenians
had preserved, by their valour, liberty for their little state, against
the mighty hosts of the Persians; and among those who had distinguished
themselves greatly, the brother of the prisoner was one; and had
been sorely wounded in the fight. The man was put upon his trial.
The evidence against him was strong and unanswerable; there seemed
no chance of the prisoner escaping condemnation. Suddenly there came
forward one who asked to be heard on his behalf. And who was this?
It was his own brother. When he was asked what evidence he had to
give, or what reason he had to show why the prisoner at the bar ought
not to be found guilty, he simply lifted up his mutilated arms—nothing
but stumps—the hands completely cut off; the wounded stumps alone
remaining. He was recognised as a man who, at the battle of Marathon
, had done prodigies of valour, and in the service of the State had
lost his hands. By those wounds he had helped to win the victory
which was then ringing in Athenian ears. Those wounds were the only
evidence he brought forward. Those wounds were the only plea he advanced
why his brother ought to be set free, and sentence ought not to be
passed upon him. And the story states that for the sake of those
wounds—for the sake of all his brother had suffered, the prisoner
was acquitted. The case was dismissed at once, and the prisoner obtained
his liberty. Reader, in like manner the wounds of the Lord Jesus
Christ are ever before God the Father. The nail-prints in His hands
and feet—the marks of the spear in His side—the thorn marks upon
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.
Think not with fear upon those old sins of yours, my believing brother
or sister. Christ lives, and those old sins will not condemn you.
We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead,
2. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost,
all the present weakness of His believing people. How great
that weakness is, time would fail me to show. There are many of
God’s children who know their hearts’ bitterness, who
bewail with strong crying and tears their shortcomings, their unprofitableness,
and the scanty fruit they bring forth. But oh, my beloved reader,
take comfort in the words of St. John : “If any man 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 ii. 1.) Those weaknesses may well humble thee. Those infirmities
may well make thee walk softly before thy God. But while the Lord
Jesus Christ lives, those infirmities need not make thee 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,
all the trials that believers have to go through. Hear what
the Apostle Paul says to Timothy: “I suffer: nevertheless I am
not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded
that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against
that day.” (2 Tim. i. 12.) So long as Jesus Christ lives, the believer
in the Lord Jesus Christ may be assured that no affliction shall
be allowed to break off the union between him and his risen Head.
He may suffer greatly and be sorely tried. But while Christ lives
he shall never be forsaken. Neither poverty, nor sickness, nor
bereavements, nor separations, shall 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,
all the persecutions that believers have to go through. See
what is said of St. Paul , when he met with much opposition at
Corinth . We are told that the Lord stood by him in the night,
and said, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace, for
I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for
I have much people in this city.” (Acts xviii. 10.) Remember what
He said to St. Paul at a former time, when He met him on the way
to Damascus : “Saul, Saul, why persecute thou
Me ?” (Acts
ix. 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,
I 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, shall not be destroyed. “In
all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved
us.” (Rom. viii. 87.) 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,
all the temptations of the devil.
Remember that famous passage
in the Gospel of St. Luke, where our Lord, speaking to St. Peter,
says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that
he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee that thy faith
fail not.” (Luke xxii.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 ever going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
But Christ lives; and, blessed be God, while Christ lives Satan
shall not be able to overcome the soul that believes on Him. We
have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead,
6. Think again, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost,
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: for Thou art with
me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps. xxiii. 4) You
and I may die, but Christ still lives. The hour may come when friends
can do us no more good, when faithful servants can no longer minister
to our wants, when all that love, and kindness, and affliction
can do to alleviate pain and make the last journey pleasant, can
no longer render any service to us. But then the thought that Christ
lives—Christ interceding, Christ caring for us, Christ at the right
hand of God for us,—ought to cheer 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 shall 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,
the terrors of the judgment day.
Mark how St. Paul rests upon
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 lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?
It is God that justifieth,” he goes on: “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.” 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 St. 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,” He says, “that
liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” (Rev.
i. 18.) The root of the believer never dies, and the branches, therefore,
shall never die. Christ being “raised from the dead, dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over Him.” (Rom. vi. 9.) He lives, that
all who trust in Him may receive honour and glory to all eternity;
and because He lives, His believing people shall never die. “Because
I live,” to use His own words, “ye shall live also.” (John xiv. 19.)
We have an ever-living, ever-interceding Priest. Christ is not dead,
Reader, would you know the security for the perseverance of God’s
own people? Would you know why it is that Christ’s sheep shall
never perish, and none shall ever pluck them out of His hand? It
is a miraculous thing. When you look at the believer’s heart,
listen to the believer’s prayers, mark the believer’s
confessions,—when you see how a just man may fall, sometimes seven
times,—when you see, with all this, the believer’s perseverance,
it is a marvel indeed. To carry a candle upon a stormy night, when
winds and gusty blasts are blowing from every quarter,—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 billow
after billow, and not see the waves breaking over the boat, and overturning
it,—this is well-nigh a miracle. To see a little child tottering
along the crowded street, 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 from one position to another,
like the moon upon a stormy night, plunging from one cloud into another,
yet by- and-by shining out again and walking in brightness. 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.
Reader, you would do well to study the words of the Apostle in the
5th chapter of Romans: “Much more then,” he says, “being now justified
by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when
we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,
much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Mark
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
that master of allegory, 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 things wonderful and instructive.
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 quench the fire. 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 get a victory
Would you know the secret of the believer’s boldness in prayer?
It is a marvel how a man that feels his sins 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 requires day after
day and not feel afraid,—this is wonderful indeed. What is the secret
of it? It is the intercession of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
whereby 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.
I know nothing it is more like than a banknote without the signature
in the corner. What is the value of that banknote without the signature?
Nothing at all. Once get a few words, a very few letters, traced
in ink upon the corner of that banknote, and that which was a piece
of waste paper a few moments before becomes worth, it maybe, many
hundred pounds, 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
Would you know the secret of daily comfort in all the toil, 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.
There is a story recorded of one who lived 200 hundred years ago;
a man well known in his day and generation—a man who left behind
a character as pure and unsullied as anyone who fell in the unhappy
Commonwealth wars: I allude to the great Lord Falkland. It is recorded
of Lord Falkland during the Commonwealth wars, when he was often
engaged in duties from morning to night time that a common prayer
of his before leaving his tent was something of this kind,—“Lord,
I am going this day to do the duty whereunto I am called. I may sometimes
forget Thee. I cannot have my thoughts at all times as fully fixed
upon Thee as I wish. But, Lord, if I this day I forget Thee, do not
Thou forget me.” This is the thought that every believer should lay
hold upon who has much to do in the business of this world. Rising
from his bed in the morning, going from his room every morning, leaving
his house every morning, let him bear in mind, “There is One living
in heaven who intercedes for me, while I am following my lawful calling.
Although I may be absorbed in business, and obliged to give up all
the powers of my poor weak mind to it, still there lives One who
never forgets me.” He may say, as Lord Falkland said, “Lord, if I
this day forget Thee, do not Thou forget me.”
Last of all, would you know the secret of comfort in looking forward
to that heaven whereunto every believer desires to go? I believe
there are few children of God who do not sometimes feel anxious,
troubled, and cast down, when they think quietly about the eternal
habitation towards which they are travelling. The nature of it, the
manner of it, the employments of it, their own apparent unfitness
and uniqueness 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 I know no remedy against these thoughts to be compared
to the recollection of 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 whereto He goes is the place whereto
His people are to go by and by. When they go there they will find
all things made ready,—a place for every one, 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,
their profligacy, it may be, before the grace of God came into their
hearts,—there never will be a day when all these sins shall come
up against them, and make them feel abashed 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 which shall be hereafter.
I will now conclude this tract by a few words of application to
all into whose hands it may fall. My hearts desire and prayer to
God is that the words I have been writing may yet bear fruit in your
soul. In order that they may do so, I offer a few words of faithful
and affectionate counsel.
1. I would
first, to all who are anxious
and troubled respecting their soul’s salvation, and yet know
not what to do. Reader, if you are such a person, I charge you and
entreat you, I beseech you and invite you, to come into the way of
which I have been speaking in this tract. I beseech you to 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 unto God, in the name of Jesus, on behalf of your soul.
Say not you have anything to plead for yourself. You have nothing
to plead. Your life, your thoughts, your ways, all alike condemn
you. Say nothing about yourself but this,—that you are a sinner,
a great sinner, a guilty sinner, a condemned sinner; but because
you are a sinner, you turn to God. Come unto 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 hitherto
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? Your fear is needless.
You shall not be cast out, if you will but come in the way of faith
in Christ. Our God is not “austere man.” Our Father in heaven is
full of mercy, love, and grace. I yield to none in desire to exalt
the love, mercy, and tenderness of God the Father. I will not concede,
for one moment, that what is called an Evangelical ministry will
not magnify the mercy, love, and compassion of God the Father as
much as any ministry on earth. We know that God is holy. We know
He is just. We believe that He can be angry with them that go on
still in sin. But we also believe that to those who draw near to
Him in Christ Jesus, He is most merciful, most loving, and most tender,
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 Ghost, towards a poor, lost, and bankrupt world. Draw near in
faith, dear reader, by that living way, Christ Jesus, to the Father.
Think not for a moment—the unworthy thought shall never prove true—that
so drawing near 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,—fell on his neck and kissed
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
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 shall 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 pledged upon your behalf. He has undertaken
to care for all the flock that God the Father has committed into
His hand. He will care for it. He has cared for it. He went to the
cross for it. He died for it. He is ever at the right hand of God,
and has not ceased 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 none shall pluck the least of Christ’s
sheep out of God’s hand. Can you stop the tides of the sea,
and make them not rise at your command? Can you make the waters stay
when the tide begins to fall? Can you prevent the sun in heaven going
down in the west, or prevent the same sun from rising tomorrow morning
in the east? You cannot do it: the thing is impossible And all the
power of devils, all the power of the world, and all the enemies
of the Christian, shall 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
through weakness,” 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 shall no more condemn Him: He shall come to condemn
Pilate. All power is His in heaven and earth, and all that power
is engaged on behalf of His believing people.
let me gladden
all believers who read this
tract, by reminding them that Christ is yet to come again. The Great
High Priest is yet to come forth from the holy of holies, to bless
all the people who have believed on Him. One part of His work He
did when He died upon 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 forth from the holy of holies, as the high priest
did upon the day of atonement,— to come forth from within the veil
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 veil. But
Great High Priest—a
greater one than Aaron’s—shall yet come forth one day. He shall
come in power and great glory. He shall come as He left the world,
when He went up in the clouds of heaven. He shall 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 shall gather them together
into one happy company. There shall be no more weakness, and no more
sorrow,—no more parting, and no more separation,—no more sickness,
and no more death,—no more disputing, and no more controversy,—no
more fighting with the world, the flesh, and devil,—and, best of
all, no more sin. That day shall be a happy day indeed, when the
High Priest comes forth to do the third, last part of His work—to
bless His believing people.
“He that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. xxii. 20)