As Christians, we are people of the cross. We continually remember the accomplished work of Christ at the cross. By his death he satisfied the wrath of God that was on us. This marvelous truth of the substitutionary atonement constitutes our very identity. As Paul puts it in his letter to the Galatians (2:20) – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
But this work is a work of the past. It is a finished work. I do not say this as a slight on what Christ accomplished at the cross. Rather, this past work lays the foundation for the present work of Christ. This present work of Christ is revealed in Hebrews 7. After establishing that Christ is our perfect and eternal high priest, the author says this: Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Christ is our perfect and eternal high priest, who has offered up the perfect sacrifice for our sins, namely, himself. Because of this, he now lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God through him. The nature of his intercession lies in the words “he is able to save to the uttermost”. The key word here I believe is ‘uttermost’. We need to understand what being saved to the ‘uttermost’ involves.
It means when we were dead in our sin, God (the Father) made us alive with Christ. The miracle of regeneration, the new birth, was wrought in our hearts by the Spirit. And seeing Christ, we responded in faith, and entrusted our lives to him. Why does the Father do this? Because Christ lives to make intercession for us.
It means that when we are struggling in the fight against sin, God (the Father) supplies us with the strength we need to fight the good fight. He never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He lovingly disciplines us as a father, so that we might enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Why does the Father do this? Because Christ lives to make intercession for us.
It means that we will finish the race. We will persevere till the day we die or the day Christ returns. This is what it means to be saved to the uttermost. We are called, given new birth, justified, adopted, sanctified, and glorified. And all this is possible because Christ lives to make intercession for us.
Interestingly enough, I was once asked why Jesus did not remain on this earth to preach the gospel. Surely if he was preaching to people, they would believe! At that point in time, I answered this question in a negative manner by saying that people back in his day saw him and did not believe.
However, here, I can answer this question in a positive manner. Jesus did not remain on this earth because his primary work now is to make intercession for us. This is more important than anything else. Whenever we pray for anything in the name of Christ, we are granted it because Jesus is there at the Father’s right hand making intercession for us. The Spirit is at work in the lives of Christians and in the evangelising of non-Christians because Jesus is there making intercession for all of us, those who believe and those who will believe. It is a comforting and empowering truth to realise that the Son of God, the One in whom the Father delights, is on our side too. He lives to make intercession for us.