« EdellinenJatka »
may not, they cannot, they dare not approach God's presence for help, but by and through a mediator and intercessor. When Israel saw the fire, the blackness and darkness, and heard the thunder and lightning, and the terrible sound of the trumpet, they said to Moses, "Speak thou unto us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Guilt, and sense of the disparity that is betwixt God and us, will make us look out for a man that may lay his hand upon us both; and that may set us right in the
eyes Father again. This, I say, I infer from the intercession of Christ. For, if there had been a possibility of our approaching God with advantage without, what need had there been of the intercession of Christ?
Absalom durst not approach, no not the presence of his father by himself, without a mediator and intercessor; wherefore he sends to Joab to go to the king and make intercession for him. Also, Joab durst not go upon that errand himself but by the mediation of another. Sin is a fearful thing; it will quash and quell the courage of a man, and make him afraid to approach the presence of him whom he has offended; though the offended is but a man. How much more then shall it discourage man, when once loaded with guilt and shame, from attempting to approach the presence of a holy, and a sin-revenging God! unless he can come to him through and in the name of an intercessor. But here now is the help and comfort of the people of God. There is, to help them under all their infirmities, an intercessor, prepared and at work: “He ever liveth to make intercession."
3. I also infer from hence, that should we, out of an ignorant boldness and presumption, attempt, when we have offended, by ourselves to approach the presence of God, God would not accept us. He told Eliphaz so.
What Eliphaz thought, or was about to do, I know not; but God said unto him, “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends : for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is
GOD CANNOT ACCEPT US OUT OF CHRIST.
right, as my servant Job hath.
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams,
to Job, and offer up for yourselves (that is, by him) a burnt offering, and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him I will accept; lest I deal with
your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, like my servant Job.” See here, an offence is a bar and an obstruction to acceptance with God, but by a mediator, but by an intercessor. He that comes to God by himself, God will answer him by himself, that is, without an intercessor : And I will tell you such are not like to get any pleasant or comfortable answer: “I will answer him that (so) cometh, according to the multitude of his idols. And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb: and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye
shall know that I am the Lord.” He that intercedes for another, with a holy and just God, had need to be clean himself; lest he with whom he so busieth himself say to him, First clear thyself, and then come and speak for thy friend. Wherefore this is the very description and qualification of this our high priest and blessed intercessor : “For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins,” &c. Had we not had such an intercessor, we had been but in a very poor case : but we have one that becomes us, one that fits us to the purpose; one against whom our God has nothing, can object nothing; one in whose mouth no guile could be found.
4. Since Christ is an intercessor, I infer, that he has wherewith in readiness to answer to any demands that may be propounded by him that hath been by us offended, in order to a renewing of peace, and letting out of that grace to us that we have sinned away, and yet have need of. Ofttimes the offended saith to the intercessor, “Well, thou comest to me about this man; what interest he has in thee is one thing; what offence he has committed against me is another. (I speak now after the manner of men.) Now, what can an intercessor do, if he is not able to answer this question ? But now if he be able to answer this question, that is, according to law and justice, no question but he may prevail with the offended, for him for whom he makes intercession.
Why, this is our case; to be sure thus far it is, we have offended a just and a holy God, and Jesus Christ is become intercessor. He also knows full well, that for our parts, if it would save us from hell, we cannot produce, towards a peace with God, so much as poor two farthings; that is, not any thing that can by law and justice be esteemed worth a halfpenny: yet he makes intercession. It follows, therefore, that he has wherewith of his own, if that question afore is propounded, to answer to every reasonable demand.
Hence it is said, that he has gifts as well as sacrifice for sin. “Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is of necessity, that this man have somewhat also to offer.” And observe it, that the apostle speaks here of Christ as in heaven, there ministering in the second part of his office: “for if he were on earth, he should not be a priest.” These gifts therefore, and this sacrifice, he now offereth in heaven by way of intercession, urging and pleading, as an intercessor, the valuableness of his gifts, for the pacifying of that wrath that our Father hath conceived against us for the disobedience that we are guilty of. “A gift in secret pacifieth anger; and a reward in the bosom strong wrath."
What gifts these are, the scripture every where testifies. He gave himself, he gave his life, he gave his all, for us. These gifts, as he offered them up at the demand of justice, on Mount Calvary for us; so now he is in heaven, he pre
CHRIST CAN ANSWER ALL DEMANDS.
senteth them continually before God, as gifts and sacrifice, valuable for the sins, for all the sins that we through infirmity do commit, from the day of our conversion to the day of our death. And these gifts are so satisfactory, so prevalent with God, that they always prevail for a continual remission of our sins with him. Yea, they prevail with him, for more than for the remission of sins; we have, through their procurement our graces often renewed, the devil often rebuked, the snare often broken, guilt often taken away from the conscience, and many a blessed smile from God, and love-look from his life-creating countenance.
5. Since Christ is an intercessor, I infer, that believers should not rest at the cross for comfort. Justification they should look for there; but being justified by his blood, they should ascend up after him to the throne. At the cross you will see him in his sorrows and humiliations, in his tears and blood; but follow him to where he is now, and then you shall see him in his robes, in his priestly robes, and with his golden girdle about his breast. Then you shall see him wearing the breastplate of judgment, and with all your names written upon his heart. Then you shall perceive, that the whole family in heaven and earth is named by him, and how he prevaileth with God, the Father of mercies, for you. Stand still a while, and listen, yea, enter with boldness into the holiest, and see your Jesus, as he now appears in the presence of God for you; what work he makes against the devil, and sin, and death, and hell, for you. Ah, it is brave, following Jesus Christ to the holiest! The vail is rent, you may see with open face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord.
This then is our high priest; this is intercession; these the benefits of it. It lieth in our part to improve it; and wisdom to do that also comes from the mercy-seat or throne
where he, even our high priest, ever liveth to make intercession for us. To whom be glory for ever and ever.
BENEFITS OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION.
AND thus have I spoken of the first thing, namely, of the intercession of Christ.
And now I come more particularly to speak of the second, the benefits of his intercession, namely, that we are saved hereby. Wherefore he is able also to save them, seeing he maketh intercession for them. “ He is able to save them to the uttermost."
In my handling of this head, I must show you,
I. What the apostle means here by “save:” “Wherefore he is able to save."
II. What he means here by “saving to the uttermost:” " He is able to save to the uttermost.”
III. And then, thirdly, we shall do as we did in that foregoing, that is, gather some inferences from the whole, and speak of them.
I. What doth the apostle mean here by “save ?” “He is able to save them."
To "save" may be taken in two ways. In the general, I know it may be taken many ways; for there are many salvations that we enjoy, yea, that we never knew of, nor can know, until we come thither where all secret things shall be seen, and where that which has been done in darkness shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops. But I say there are two ways that this word may be taken, in particular
1. To save in a way of justification. Or, 2. To save in a way of preservation.
Now Christ saves in both these ways; but which of these, or whether both of them are intended in this place, of that I