MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #17
OUR BROTHER'S PRAYERS
March 24, 2010
Reading: Romans 8:31-35
"It is Christ … who also makes intercession for us" Romans 8:34
When we consider the "all things" (#11 in this series) it is hard to separate them as to their value to the child of God-it would be unwise to do so. Each aspect of salvation, although unique in their individuality, are dependent on each other. Salvation is like a chain. One link, or even two or three, cannot be classified as a chain, but string several together and you have a qualified chain. In the eighth chapter of Romans Paul strings together spiritual links in the chain known as salvation with each link having equal strength and importance. Remove one link and the chain collapses; one such link is the intercession of our Elder Brother. This, along with spiritual adoption, is an aspect of our adoption that is neglected to a great extent in our pulpits and written material.
What does the intercession of Christ mean to us? Just before He died on the cross Jesus, "knowing that all things were now accomplished" said, "It is finished" (John ). If "all things were now accomplished", why are the continued prayers of Jesus important, if not necessary, for the welfare of God's children?
John Owen, the great 17th century Puritan writer calls the intercessory work of Christ the "center of our faith, hope and consolation." Yes, everything necessary for our salvation was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus but His prayers are important in that He prays for "the application of the fruits of His oblation unto all those for whom He offered Himself in sacrifice, according as their conditions and occasions do require" John Owen. In other words everything is in place; there is nothing left to do but to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. This, in itself, has its detractors and enemies. The prince of darkness, the king of liars and deceit, takes great delight in accusing the children of God before Him and, standing between himself and our Father is Jesus Christ,
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" 1 Timothy 2:5.
Satan does not have direct access to the Father for he is waylaid by our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. The prayers of Jesus on behalf of His brothers and sisters are like the walls of a mighty fortress, impenetrable and unscalable. They are the protection every child needs; the security upon which we base our faith and hope and glean both comfort and consolation. Without the intercessory intervention of Jesus we would have no hope in His promises for we would be left alone to face the devices of the devil, therefore Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing" John 15:5, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13. Why? How? Because of the prayers of Jesus.
"Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" Hebrews 7:23-25.
This ministry of Jesus is beautifully portrayed in the Old Testament. The High Priest typifies Jesus Christ as he was the mediator between God and man. The offering he made once a year was to include incense (Lev -13) which was to be fired by burning coals taken from the altar of burnt-offerings. The "sweet smell" of the incense was to fill the Holy of Holies "that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat." The sacrifice had been made but the incense (typifying the prayers of Jesus) was also required. Jesus is currently fulfilling the burning of incense by His prayers of intercession that fills the nostrils of our heavenly Father.
This ritual was practiced once a year on the Day of Atonement but was also practiced daily at the morning and evening sacrifice. Incense was made by pounding specified spices into a fine dust then, when burned with fire, produced a sweet-smelling incense acceptable and pleasing to God. The prayers of Jesus are the incense produced by the beating and death He endured for God's children. The fact this was required every day speaks of the continual intercessory ministry of Jesus, a ministry that makes effective the one perfect sacrifice He offered once for all.
Fear not, fellow sibling of God, no person, not even Satan himself, can bring any effective charge against you to your heavenly Father.
"Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Romans 8:33-35.
It is Christ who died. It is Christ who rose from the dead. It is Christ who sits at the right hand of God. It is Christ who makes intercession for us. It is Christ-it is all of Him, by Him and through Him. His prayers are effective and He is committed to His ministry. Is there any wonder that He could say with the utmost confidence, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand" John 10:28-29. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Rom 8:35-39. Jesus said,"I will build my church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it," and He is accomplishing this through His ministry of intercessory prayer.
"So great and glorious is the work of saving believers unto the uttermost, that it is necessary that the Lord Christ should lead a mediatory life in heaven, for the perfecting and accomplishment of it" John Owen (1616 - 1683).
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"