By T.M. Anderson
"He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
The people of God can derive great comfort from the fact that the Savior is interceding for them. He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing that He ever liveth to intercede for them.
Prayer is apparently an essential part of the plan of salvation because the Lord has made it a part of His changeless Priesthood. Speaking of the Savior, the Inspired Word says, "Who in the days of His flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared." (Hebrews 5:7)
The Son of God was not offering up prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears because He was afraid to die on the cross; He was interceding for lost souls. He knew that eternal death was the penalty for sin. He knew that mankind lived in darkness and under the shadow of death. His passion of prevailing prayer was motivated by the fear that we would perish in our sins; and His Infinite love and compassion moved Him to pray fervently that we might be saved.
The pardoning mercy of the Heavenly Father is made an essential part of the redemptive work of the Savior through His intercession. When He was suffering on the cross, He prayed, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Our sanctification is a part of the plan of salvation; for the Savior prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John. 17:17)
The prayers of our Lord are living realities in redemption. His prayers are made available to us by faith, and become effectual in us the moment we believe on His Name. When a sinner asks for pardon he is immediately joined in prayer by the Savior. The same is true when the believer prays to be sanctified.
If we will consider the prayers of the Savior to be living realities, and not look upon them as events recorded in sacred history, we will be able to appropriate them by faith, and receive the spiritual benefits for which He prayed. The Savior's prayers live forever because He breathed into them the power of an endless life.
In order to illustrate this truth, let us think of a man earnestly praying to be sanctified. Now visualize the Savior kneeling by the man praying for him to be sanctified. The living prayer of the Savior, saying, "Sanctify them," is joined with the man's prayer to be sanctified, and the answer is assured by faith in the Word of God. When one grasps this fact about the Savior's praying, he can obtain every blessing of redeeming grace provided in the plan of salvation. Jesus is able to save all men to the uttermost extent of their sins, seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
The second fact revealed about the Savior's prayers for His people is that He intercedes for their preservation in this world. "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou has given me, that they may be one as we are ... I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil." (John. 17: 11,15)
He is able to save His people to the uttermost extent of their probationary sojourn in this world, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
God permits His people to be tried; and what He permits He will not prevent. He never grants His people an indulgence to sin; but He does enable them to endure temptations to sin.
I am not convinced in my own thinking, that God permits His people to suffer the temptation to sin for the purpose of proving their sincerity, and their loyalty to Him. I certainly do not look upon the Savior's temptation in the wilderness as a test of His fidelity. I know that in some peculiar way He was suffering for His people. The Scriptures say, "In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:17-18)
We are never under the necessity to sin at any time in life; but we are liable to sin unless we are watchful and pry without ceasing. The Savior has made provision for His people if they are overcome in an hour of trial. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1
This blessed truth is brought to light by the words of Jesus spoken to Simon Peter: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:31-32)
This wonderful truth shows us that the purpose of Satan is overcome by the Prayer of the Savior. We can find great consolation in knowing that every satanic plan, and infernal purpose of the enemy, is thwarted by the prayers of the Blessed Lord.
Suppose a man, that is sanctified, is overcome by temptation in an unguarded moment, and commits sin. Is it necessary for him to return to his first works, and repent, and be reclaimed from his backslidings? This question has been presented to me many times. My answer is, if the man did not sin willfully; if he did not plan and purpose in his heart to sin: then the gracious Savior's intercession will prevail for him, and sustain him in his relationship to God. But it must be understood by all, that the man must confess his sin, and trust in His Lord's mercy in such an hour. He must do this immediately, and not continue in the displeasure of God, and presume upon His mercy. Simon Peter wept bitterly after he had denied the Lord in an hour of severe trial. He had not made his plans to curse, and deny that he knew the Savior. The prayer of Jesus sustained the faith of his erring disciple. The traitorous Judas made plans to betray Jesus, and died without hope, and without the help of the prayers of Jesus. I am persuaded that there are many faithful persons in this evil world, who have found, that the Advocate with the Father, sustained them in a time of trial. Perhaps they grieved the Lord, and felt the sting of conscience; but when they came before Him in tears, they found Him a merciful and a faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
My final word of exhortation is: do not presume on the prayers of the Saviour, and be led into a false security. But make much of the fact that He is at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us.
In my own praying, I often ask the Saviour to pray for me. I ask Him to tell the Father that I love Him; and give Him thanks for sending His Son into the world to save me from sin.
I have often prayed to Jesus, and requested Him to tell the Father that I was pleased with His Sovereign will in my life; and tell Him I was pleased with His will for my life. My soul has been greatly refreshed in these seasons of prayer.