Christ – Our Intercessor and Advocate
In Hebrews 7:24-25, the Apostle Paul continues his arguments showing the vast superiority of Christ’s priesthood and sacrifice over the Old Covenant priesthood and sacrifice. The Old Covenant priests were many. Their death proves the limited nature of their priesthood and of the whole Mosaic Economy. “But this (man) …” this Priest–Christ’s eternality and immutability insures the same for His Priesthood. This gives believers comfort and security as explained in verse 25. But, first, this verse raises an important question:
Did not Christ die on the cross?
Yes, but He died AS a Priest. The priest under the Old Covenant died FROM being a priest! Their death was the end of their priesthood. Christ’s death was in fulfillment of His priesthood! He died as a priest because He was also the sacrifice. He continued in that office and the execution of its duties even while in a state of death! “Because He continueth ever” as our Great High Priest, we see that the same love wherewith He laid down His life for us continues to insure our blessedness! We have the same High Priest to take care of us, to assist and help us, to plead our cause, and to preserve us against every enemy!
Read verse 25 again. Here, we have a testimony to the “power” of our Great High Priest – “He is able”; the goal of that “power” – “to save”; the extent of it – “unto the uttermost”; the objects of it – “them…that come to God by Him.” We also have the reason of it – His perpetual life and work. “He ever liveth to make intercession for them”! For our consolation, the apostle assures us of Christ’s love and ability to save us! He is able to save us to the uttermost. Let’s consider some ways in which He blesses us.
I. CHRIST OUR INTERCESSOR – In our text it says, “He ever liveth to make intercession.” In Isaiah 53:12 it says “He bare the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” In Romans 8:34, it says, “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.” To intercede for us is to undertake the business of a mediator. To intercede is to intervene and negotiate, entreat, petition, and plead on our behalf. This is what Christ continually does as our intercessor, and His work in this capacity is founded upon His fulfilling the duties of His priestly office.
Christ satisfied all the conditions of our salvation here on earth when, by the one offering of Himself, He obtained eternal redemption. His intercession in heaven is the continual application of the benefits of His priestly work to all whom He represented. The intercession of Christ on behalf of His sheep is the great evidence of His love. This is a source of comfort and assurance to all who trust Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation and have no confidence in the flesh.
His continual intercession does not mean that He has to plead continually to convince the Father to keep us and bless us. It shows the value of His righteousness wrought out on our behalf. His blood continually atones for our sins. His righteousness continually demands our eternal life and well-being, and all of this is consistent with the Father’s will and according to His promise. And, as we continually sin, Christ continually intercedes on our behalf presenting the merits of His obedience and death for us.
His intercession proves His love and compassion for all whom the Father had given Him. God the Father gave Christ the desires of His heart when He gave Him the responsibility of saving the “many sons” He would bring to glory. As our Intercessor, He prays for us, not for the world (John 17:9), but for His sheep. This is also proven in the three passages mentioned concerning His intercession. In each one it is Christ interceding for God’s elect, justified sinners, all who come to God by Him, pleading His righteousness alone. He does intercede for God’s elect even before their conversion as He prays for their conversion (John 17:20), but all for whom Christ intercedes are those who surely receive the benefits of His intercession based on His fulfilling the duties of His priesthood.
II. CHRIST OUR ADVOCATE (1 John 2:1-2).
A. What is an advocate? It is one who stands along side us and pleads our cause in the way of law and justice. Advocate is a legal office having to do with strict justice. This advocate is like a lawyer who defends his client honestly and demands that law and justice bring its exact ruling and set the accused free based on strict law and justice. Christ is the Advocate of every justified sinner as He pleads the merits of His blood atonement and righteousness imputed on behalf of His own. He demands that strict law and inflexible justice view His clients, justified sinners, and pronounce them holy and righteous based not on their character and conduct, but based on His righteousness alone.
Christ as our Advocate pleads with a just and righteous God, and so His plea must be consistent with and based upon perfect satisfaction to law and justice, wherein God is revealed as both a just God and a Savior, and, thus, covenant God and Father. Christ’s office of Advocate is the fruit of His office of Priest. A Priest makes intercession by virtue of His sacrifice which rendered perfect satisfaction to law and justice. As Advocate He pleads strict law and justice based on that satisfaction made in His own sacrifice for sin.
So, when we sin, and the guilt of that sin is incurred, and Satan accuses us, Christ our Advocate calls for a just verdict based upon the satisfaction He has made to God on our behalf by establishing a righteousness which satisfies law and justice.
–Zechariah 3:1 – The charges of Satan are groundless, NOT that we have not and do not commit sin and that continually, but that we have a righteousness which demands justification and life, one which satisfies law and justice for our sin (Romans 8:1,33).
–So, whatever charges Satan brings, CHRIST ANSWERS THEM. He does not excuse our sin, ignore our sin, deny our sin, nor encourage our sin, but because of His substitutionary sacrifice for our sin, He pleads for the non-imputation of them to us and the imputation of righteousness to us.
–He pleads in our favor that these sins have been imputed to Him, and that His blood was shed for remission of these sins, and that He made full satisfaction for them, and therefore, according to justice, they cannot be charged to us.
B. Who is our Advocate? Jesus Christ, the RIGHTEOUS. This refers to Christ’s Person and His righteous, holy character as Godman/Mediator which gave Him both power and fitness to be our Substitute and now to be our Advocate. “He ever liveth to make intercession”–His advocacy is part of that intercession which is the continual application of the benefits of His priestly work on behalf of His people. He “became us,” i.e., Christ alone and our salvation conditioned on Him was the only way suited for our fallen and guilty condition. We who were by nature and practice, idolaters, ungodly, unrighteous, guilty and condemned, stood in need of such a High Priest as Christ, the righteous.
We needed one who could identify with us in our nature yet without sin. Here, we have the Holy Spirit’s testimony concerning Christ’s perfect, sinless Humanity which He took into union with His Deity in order to glorify the Father by satisfying all the conditions of our salvation. We have a worthy and loving Advocate, who stands for us, Jesus Christ, the righteous, and this is described for our benefit that we may be comforted in the absolute certainty of salvation conditioned on Him, knowing that even though we sin, our sins CANNOT incur the wrath of God. (1 John 4:17) – What law say of Him in His character and conduct, it says of us by imputation.
C. What is our Advocate to us? He is the PROPITIATION for our sins, and not for ours only but for every sinner who believes God’s promise of salvation conditioned on Him alone. It is for every sinner who seeks after justification and life based on His righteousness imputed. This does not mean that Christ died for all men without exception. That would be a denial of the propitiation, of the very truth that John is giving. “Propitiation” means atonement, satisfaction, reconciliation and peace with God based on that satisfaction. (1 John 4:10; Romans 3:24-26). It means that Christ in His Person as the High Priest of the covenant, and by virtue of His obedience unto death, established and fulfilled every condition and requirement of God’s holiness on behalf of His people.
His righteousness DEMANDS the justification and eternal life of every sinner for whom He died, whom He represented. And based on that righteousness, law and justice demands they go free. If any one of them went to Hell, law and justice and God Himself would be unjust, and Christ’s Person and work would be worthless. This also shows us that all those for whom Christ was the propitiation for their sins, GOD WILL BE THEIR FATHER. He will be to them a just God and a Savior. Christ IS ALL IN ALL that God requires of us for salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30). This is the ground of our salvation and what He pleads on our behalf to insure our eternal blessedness.
THE GROUND OF SALVATION MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. If our ground is Christ, His blood, His righteousness, which demands the eternal blessedness of every sinner for whom He died, then we can have this confidence, that though we sin, and that continually, and the law condemns all sin, WE ARE NOT UNDER LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE (salvation is conditioned on Christ, the righteous). And I never again have to fear the wrath of God, the punishment of sin, or fear God with that unhealthy, ungodly fear of a slave dreading punishment which results in dead works. But I can serve God acceptably in freedom with that reverential respect for the honor of His redemptive glory in Christ, my Advocate, and walk in the light in honest confession of my sinnerhood, and as an adopted son knowing that all God’s wrath and just punishment that I merited and deserved was spent out totally on my Substitute.
And when sin overtakes me, even gross immorality, when I don’t live up to your expectations of me, when I don’t love enough (and I never do), and when I dishonor my God by something I do or say, I can lift my heart to God in true Godly sorrow over sin and say, “Father, forgive me, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. I know that you receive me in Christ, based on His blood and righteousness which is eternal and unchangeable. You view me in my sinless Substitute who bore your wrath in my place and satisfied your law and justice, and eternally removed your wrath and gained your favor for a sinner like me.”
And I can say with confidence, “I trust Christ, and because of Him, I can never come under God’s wrath or disfavor again. HE IS MY INTERCESSOR AND ADVOCATE.” This is the way we are to live; this is the spirit of adoption; this is the spirit of true Christianity; this is the spirit of love and the walk of faith. And this is what motivates every true believer to SIN NOT and seek to serve, worship and obey God.