« PreviousContinue »
Upon this, as well as upon many
he was harmless in his disposition | repent, that Christ is a priest for
tain; he cannot intercede in vain.
As every believer in Christ needs his intercession till he is brought to glory, and as the church of God will need it in every period 'till the end of time, it is a truth of unspeakable value, that Christ As an interest in the mediation ever lives to make intercession for of Christ is essential to salvation, his people; that he appears in the it is a matter of importance, presence of God for them 'till brethren, to consider who they are they are all in the actual posses- for whom Christ intercedes. As sion of their eternal inheritance; fall men are not saved, Christ does that his priesthood is unchange-not intercede for all; for, if he did, ble; that the nature and efficacy his intercession, in some cases, of his intercession change not; would prove without effect; which that his eminent qualifications as is what we do not believe of the an advocate with the Father are intercession of the Son of God. not diminished nor altered by time, When on earth he was praying for but will continue in all their glory his disciples, he said to his Father, 'till all the purchase of his blood I pray not for the world: and appear in the realms of bliss; for now, when he appears in the prethe Lord hath sworn, and will not 'sence of God for men, there is a
part of the human race for whom he does not intercede with the Father. His intercession extends to all who are included in his Father's gift; for when on earth he said to his Father, I pray for them that thou hast given me. The Father's gift to Christ are, doubtless, the elect, the predestinated unto life, the chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world; all whom Christ redeemed with his precious blood, for whom he obeyed, suffered and died as their mediator, surety, and substitute. As Christ laid down his life for the sheep, so he intercedes for the sheep as he loved the Church and gave himself for it, so he ever lives to make intercession for the Church. The church of Christ is the house of God, and Christ is said to be the High-Priest over that house; consequently the saving benefits of his priesthood are confined to his church, to that house which is composed only of the ordained unto eternal life. From the word of God we learn that Christ makes intercession for all who come unto God by him, who approach the eternal God, as the Father of mercies, by faith in Christ Jesus, as the way by whom we have access, by one Spirit, to the Father. These, then, are certainly blessed with an interest in Christ's intercession: and all who thus come unto God, who are of the true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, who rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; may take all the comfort of this truth, that Christ ever lives to make intercession for them.
The value of Christ's intercession appears in the vast benefits that are obtained by it, for the church of God. If the interceding grace of the Lord Jesus is essential to the salvation of the church, if it is a part of the divine plan for the full and eternal salvation of all his chosen, then salva
tion, spiritual and eternal, is the benefit of Christ's intercession, or, the intercession of Christ is one part of that mediation of Christ, by which sinners are saved. Christ's intercession as the great High-Priest who appears in the presence of God, for his people, with his own blood, obtains for them the gift of the Spirit of God, with all his gracious and powerful influences; with all the blessings connected with what he works in their hearts. If, as the fruit of Christ's intercession, the Spirit causes them to believe in the name of the Son of God: through the same intercession is obtained for them, that forgiveness of sins which God has promised to them that believe; for the Saviour pleads his blood for that end; that it may be given them, not only to believe on his name, but that, believing, they may be justified freely, by God's grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. When, through the intercession of Christ, the Spirit of God produces faith in the hearts of God's chosen, through the same intercession, they receive that adoption of sons, which is connected with faith in the name of Christ: for, says the apostle, ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. In a word, all the supplies of divine grace they receive; all the succours of divine grace by which they are saved from the powers of sin, of the world, and of Hell; all the wonders of divine grace that are wrought on their behalf; the grace that saves them in this life, that saves them from the sting of death, that delivers them from death and the grave, from death eternal, and that raises them at last to eternal life, is all obtained for them by their advocate with the Father, who is able to save them to the uttermost, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. We know not, brethren, of any blessing we pray for, according to the will
of God, but what he bestows on us through the intercession of our great High-Priest. Heb. iv. 14-16. It is through him that we enjoy the great benefit of access to God, and praying for the blessings of his mercy and grace: and if we are warranted, in the name of Christ, to pray for all the blessings of God's great salvation, then do all those blessings flow to us through the intercession of Christ. We are informed by an inspired writer that it is because Christ ever lives to make intercession for all who come unto God by him, that he is able to save them to the
ings; and the benefits of it shall prove of eternal duration.
Believing the doctrine of Christ's intercession, as it is set before us in the word of truth, we must be influenced to come unto God by him, to approach the throne of his grace with boldness, and there to pour out our hearts before him; adoring his great name, confessing our sins, giving him thanks for his manifold mercies, and imploring all the blessings of his grace for ourselves and for the whole Church of God. Having such an High Priest, who is ever making intercession for us, should we not highly value, and diligently use, the pri vilege which it obtains for us, of access to God at all times? Would not the neglect of prayer, secret or social, be making light of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the way is ever open for us to the Father of mercies; who is ever before God to present all our sacrifices that are offered to the Father in his name? There are many consider
We would not conclnde this address, brethren, without calling your attention to those effects that should be produced in us by the faith of Christ's intercession: for what God has been pleased to reveal in his word upon this, as well as upon many other subjects closely connected with it, he has revealed for the purpose of producing great effects in all them that believe that thereby their spiri-ations that should excite believers tual good might be promoted, that to constant and fervent prayer; they might richly experience the and surely the intercession of abundant grace of God in Christ Christ should be viewed by them Jesus, that they might enjoy their as among the most powerful inmanifold privileges, that they might ducements to pray without ceasrender to God what is due to himing: as among the most animating for all the benefits of his great encouragements to draw near to salvation. It is God who works God continually. This grace of in his people, by his Spirit, both our Lord Jesus Christ should have to will and to do of his good plea- the most happy influence upon us, sure; but the divine Spirit in per- in our solemn and delightful seaforming this work of grace, makes sous of public worship, as well as use of the doctrines and promises in our secret approaches to God. of that word of truth which is The way is open for us to the spirit and life. throne of divine grace; God is The intercession of Christ is a ready, for his dear Son's sake, to blessing of such vast magnitude, do for us exceeding abundantly that if we believe in it, we must above all that we can ask or think; experience much love and grati- that blood is before the throne tude to the God of all grace, and that speaks better things than the to his dear Son, for the inestima- blood of Abel; God delights to ble blessing. It is, in truth, a doc-honour the High-Priest of his own trine of divine grace: it is the appointment, the sacrifice that was fruit of the Father's great love; it offered by his own command, the is fraught with the richest bless-intercession that is made as the
fruit of his own love. May we not then, without presumption, banish from our souls every fear on the ground of past guilt, or the imperfection of present services; assured that our iniquities are not remembered against us, and that our spiritual sacrifices will be acceptable unto God by Christ Jesus? May we not with joyful and thankful hearts, worship the Father of mercies, having confidence in him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to us, in him, the God of all grace? As the intercession of Christ insures the acceptance of all who come unto God by him, and a gracious answer to all they ask in his name; the belief of his intercession should produce in us, strong confidence in God as the hearer of prayer. It is our privilege to be assured, that whatsoever we ask of the Father according to his will, in the name of Christ, he will do it for us. We give glory to Christ, as our intercessor, when we seek all things, and hope for all things, from the Father of mercies, through the intercession of his beloved Son.
To conclude, may you, dear brethren, abide in the truth as it is in Jesus; contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints: may you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ: may brotherly love greatly abound among you; and may all the fruits of the Spirit be borne by you may you, as risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; and when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, may you also appear with him in glory.
THE DUTY OF BEING ZEALOUS
praise-worthy in Christians than a public spirited conduct, or a generous concern for one another's good, whether as individuals or societies. Indeed there can be no real Christianity without it; and this is the particular duty enforced by the apostle in the words of the text. To enter into the import and meaning of the passage we must consider three particulars, viz. A dissuasive or admonition, "Look not every man on his own things"-an exhortation, to look every man also on the things of others'-and the example by which the duty is enforced Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, &c."
1. The original words (un xowITS) translated Look not, signify, not to aim at, or set up, our own concerns as our mark or end, so as that our whole efforts should be bent to the advancement of our own individual selfish concerns-not absolutely in every respect, but chiefly and in preference to the things of others; for the word " also," in the next clause, implies that our own things are not altogether to be disregarded. There is a primary care which every man owes to himself that cannot be neglected with impunity; but the generality of professors are so little in danger from this source that it would be almost superfluous here to enlarge upon it.
By our own things," we must understand such things as are in themselves lawful; such as honour, ease, safety, or worldly possessions
the things that relate to our private interest and gratification rather than the public good, and in which we have no other aim than merely our own profit, or to please ourselves, without any regard to the advantage of others. So it is said ver. 21, "All seek their own things," " which are opposed to "the things that are Jesus Christ's," or a public concern for the interests NOTHING is more becoming or of his kingdom, which the apostle
IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST.
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Phil. ii. 4, 5.
denominates caring for their state," ver. 20. We have a similar exhortation, 1 Cor. x. 24, "Let no man seek his own, but each one that of another." His own here, evidently denotes his own gratification, will, or pleasure; which is the same with "pleasing ourselves' instead of our neigh bour for his good to edification. Rom. xv. 1, 2. In opposition to this, it is said of charity that " she seeketh not her own," 1 Cor. xiii. 5, that is, her own private pleasure, honour, safety, or advantage to the neglect of others; on the contrary, she denies herself for their benefit; love being the reverse of a contracted selfish mind. Christians, therefore, must not be so narrow minded as to be absorbed in their own personal concerns; on the contrary,
with you all,” ver. 17. Even his
3. The great example by which the apostle enforces this duty. "Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus-who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." This is the pattern which the apostle sets before Christians for their imitation. As if he should say, 'Be ye likeminded with Christ Jesus, and follow his example in not looking to your own things, but every man also on the things of others.' To illustrate this divine example he presents to their view Jesus Christ in his threefold state. First, that of his original glory and dignity— " He was in the form of God, and accounted it not robbery to claim equality with God." Here we see what were "his own things”—that divine form of majesty, honour and glory which he possessed before his incarnation-that equality with God which belonged to him without robbery. But what is all that we can part with when compared to these? Again, he points them to his state of humiliation
2. They are exhorted to "Look every man on the things of others" -not as officious intermeddling busy bodies in their affairs, 1 Pet. iv, 15. but from a generous and affectionate concern for their welfare to consider their peculiar circumstances, and endeavour to the utmost of their power to promote their interest whether temporal or spiritual. In this way they are required" to care for their state"- to seek the things that are Christ's"-" each to pursue the interest of another"-and to "please our neighbour for his good to edification." What noble example of this disinterested conduct have we in the case of Paul himself. When he embraced the gospel, he looked not on his own things, but made a voluntary sacrifice of his religious character, as well as his worldly honour, ease, safety, and advantages, subjecting himself to dishonour, to labours, dangers, poverty, and distress for the elect's sake, on whose account he was willing to spend and be spent ; yea, says he, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and ser-and voluntary abasement. vice of your faith, I joy and rejoice emptied himself" of his divine