“…Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
If it were possible now for the next minute to don the wings of an angel and fly round the universe and cross its radius of 46 billion light years, to dive deep 35, 840 feet down into the Mariana Trench, to soar to the top of Everest at around 29,000 feet, to sink to the depths of the Dead Sea at 1302 feet, to whizz around the world’s circumference of 24,901 miles you’d soon agree with David– “is there anyplace I can go to avoid [God’s] Spirit, to be out of [his] sight? If I climb to the sky, [he’s] there! If I go underground, [he’s] there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the farthest horizon, [he’d] find me in a minute – [he’s] already there waiting!” (from Psalm 139, The Message). Whatever the uttermost limits of the universe, and our Milky Way in it, God is there, inhabiting eternity. There is no limit to his perfections.
And what is true of the geographical, omnipresent God is true also of his ability to save to the uttermost, to save completely all who put their trust in him. The writer to the Hebrews wants us to see that there is no end to the perfection of Jesus Christ as our High Priest. And I quote this rendering from Hebrews 7:25:
“Christ is able to save to the uttermost…”
Here are words first for the sinner:
Listen, even if you go the vilest depravity, even if you end up in the deepest and darkest of guilt; in the furthest extremity of sin and filth; even if you are a sinner about to stagger over the threshold of hell itself; God’s mercy is able to arrest you and bring you safe to the throne of grace. Why? Because Christ is able to save to the uttermost.
Listen, you may have heard 100s of sermons and ignored them all; many may have been the tear-filled prayers of your mother and father for you as your trampled on their godly hopes; you may have despised all the evangelist’s earnest pleas for you to be rescued: throw yourself yet at God’s feet - there is still mercy for you. Why? Because Christ is able to save to the uttermost.
Listen, you may be in the pits of despair, having even signed your own death certificate, and given up; you may be in a dungeon of depression; a jail of addiction: know this, God can bring you out into his free air. Why? Because Christ is able to save to the uttermost.
But the glory of this verse is that it also applies to saints:
Are you distressed by the devil’s attacks? Are you made weary by his constant hassling of you? Rejoice – Christ is able to save to the uttermost.
Do you doubt your own salvation? Have you despaired of ever being able to hold on long enough? Forget all that – Christ is able to save to the uttermost and he will keep you utterly.
Are you worried and full of fear? Does the future look uncertain? Well Christ, who is both full of love and power, will make sure you arrive in his future safely. From his perspective, you are already there – “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
And oh the glory of this one verse just gets more and more amazingly wonderful …”since he always lives to make intercession..” You see, Jesus can save us because he didn’t bother to save himself. Christ paid all our debts and dues on the cross. Having paid, now he prays. Our salvation doesn’t depend upon a Christ of our own making, nor is it rolled out on our own wheels.
And so we come to the beauty of Christ’s intercession for us. We don’t often think of this – and that is vastly to our detriment.
First, what does it mean? Christ appears for us continually in the presence of God, representing his death for us in his wounds, (“rich wounds of love – visible”), tenderly caring for our welfare, deliverance, supply and salvation. His intercession continuously sustains the effects of his atonement – that is, his death on the cross provides the ongoing contents of his prayers.
Second, where does he pray? “We have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…” (Hebrews 6:19,20) & “For 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.” (Hebrews 9:24)
Third, what does he pray? Let me remind you: on our behalf, as our representative, Jesus presents the merit of his atoning death and prays for our good and salvation. In particular, he prays for
Our furtherance in grace (“Holy Father, keep them in your name …sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” John 17:11,17)
Our protection from all evil (“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15)
Our deliverance from the accusations of the evil one (Zechariah 3:1-5)
Our restored communion with God (Micah 6:7, Isaiah 54:7-8)
Our deliverance from temptation (“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18)
Our daily cleansing from the effects of sin (“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.)
Our sanctified worship (“For through [Christ] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father … & Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Ephesians 2:18 & Hebrews 4:16)
Our receiving of the Spirit (“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth” John 14:16ff)
Our unity (John 17:20-22)
Final perseverance to glory (“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world …& For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (John 17:24 & Romans 5:10)