There is great need in our day of emphasizing the absolute necessity of Christ’s intercession for His people in heaven. Many there are who would present it as though Christ’s work as Mediator was finished when by His suffering and death He merited a mere possibility of salvation for all men, and on His work being finished it is up to man whether or not he is willing to accept this salvation which is freely offered unto him in the preaching of the gospel. They do not emphasize or entirely ignore the fact that Christ’s intercession in heaven for those given Him by the Father is just as an essential part of His work as Mediator as His suffering and death. The one is the complement of the other. Christ’s atonement and intercession in heaven are as inseparably connected as creation and providence. The one cannot exist without the other. But even as Deism separates the work of Divine providence from creation, so the Pelagians and Armenians separate Christ’s intercession from His atonement. They deny that Christ is our Mediator unto the very end, that we receive all the blessings of grace only through Him, and that He bestows these blessings only upon those given Him by the Father. They do not understand that without the work of Christ’s intercession in heaven, His suffering and death upon the cross would have been in vain. For of what value were the atonement without the gifts of regeneration, effectual calling, justification, sanctification, preservation and final glorification? These are all fruits of Christ’s prayer in heaven for us, “Father I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am”..
The work of our Mediator, therefore, does not only consist in His atonement upon the cross, whereby He made salvation possible, but also in His intercession for us at the right hand of God whereby He actually accomplishes the salvation of all those given Him by the Father, regenerating, calling, and sanctifying them by His grace and spirit. Therefore He is a complete and perfect Savior. His work was not finished with His suffering and death, but He continues His mediatorial work in heaven by interceding for all those given him by the Father, and applying unto them all the blessings of salvation.
Even as the High priest in the Old Dispensation entered behind the veil on the great day of atonement, bearing upon his breast the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, in order to sprinkle the blood upon the mercy seat, even so Christ Jesus, as our High priest, enters into the heavenly sanctuary to present His perfect sacrifice unto God as a propitiation for our sins and maketh intercession for us. Hence Christ did not enter heaven merely to receive glory for Himself and to wait if there will be some who will accept His meant offer of salvation; but in heaven He is actively engaged in the work of redemption. By His Spirit He regenerates, He calls, He justifies, He sanctifies, and He glorifies, and He does this by constantly interceding for all those given Him by the Father.
To intercede, in the Scriptures, is to approach a person for another. This is beautifully expressed in“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. The relation of Christ to His people is here pictured from a judicial point of view as that of an advocate to his client. The word advocate, even as the original Greek word parakletos, literally means called to one’s side, one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, and therefore an advocate. We still have this original idea expressed in the Holland word advocaat. Thus when the apostle says, “we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous”, he presents Christ as appearing before God for us in order to plead our caused It is not necessary for us to be personally present, for our advocate takes our place. He pleads our cause.
To thus be our advocate Christ is particularly qualified. An advocate must have certain definite qualifications. In the first place he must have a right to appear in court. He must be admitted to the bar. Because of sin we have no right to enter the courts of our God and appear before Him. This right we have forever forfeited. God has righteously cast us out of His holy presence, for no sinner can stand in His holy presence. We lie in the midst of death, born and conceived in sin. We are in a state of hopeless condemnation. Our sins are more than we can count. We lie in the midst of death, born and conceived in sin. We are in a state of hopeless condemnation. Our sins are more than we can count. We cannot deny them. We cannot atone even for one of them. Hence God’s justice and our sins makes our condemnation inevitable. We therefore need an advocate who has a right to appear before God for us, and who is qualified to plead our cause at His tribunal. No one can do this for himself. No man can do it for his fellow-man. No creature can do it for his fellow-creature. There is only one qualified for this office, Jesus Christ the righteous. He alone is entitled to appear before God for us. He alone has the right of entry to the tribunal of God as the representative of His people.
An advocate must also have knowledge of the law and the demands of justice, as well as a complete knowledge of his client’s case if he is to successfully plead his cause. Christ as our advocate before the Father had these qualifications, for as the Son of God He knows perfectly the demands of God’s justice, and as the Son of Man, clothed in our human nature and in all things tempted like as we, he has a complete knowledge of our misery. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”.
And finally if an advocate is to plead a client’s cause successfully he must have a sufficient plea to offer in his behalf. Christ has such a plea in his own perfect righteousness. He has done all that justice and holiness requires for our complete pardon and acceptance. The plea which He is thus enabled to present is a sufficient one. His intercession is based upon righteousness and justice. Hence Christ’s intercession does not have the character of a pleading, in the usual sense of the word, but of a righteous and just demand. It is not the asking of grace for a penitent, even as an advocate pleading for clemency for his client, but an authoritative demand on the basis of justice. Even though His people lie in the midst of sin and death, and are worthy of eternal condemnation, He has merited for them regeneration, faith, justification, sanctification, and a fun redemption. Therefore upon the basis of His perfect obedience and sacrifice upon the cross He appears before the Father with the demand “Father I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am”,. That is also the reason why Christ, never intercedes in vain. His prayer is always answered. It must be answered. It cannot righteously be disregarded. This demand is not only effectual for some, but for ad in whose behalf it is urged, for all those given Him by the Father. And this intercessory prayer is always answered, not in the first place because of the mercy of God, but because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Indeed the mercies of God are the ultimate source of all the spiritual blessings of salvation, but these mercies only come upon us in the way of justice. “Zion is redeemed through righteousness.”
The purpose of an advocate is not only to obtain for his client the verdict of not guilty in order to save him from the infliction of the penalty with which he is threatened, but also to assure for him the quiet enjoyment of his inheritance or property. Thus Christ as our advocate not only secures for us the verdict of not guilty, our complete justification before the bar of God’s justice, but also secures for us the enjoyment of all the blessings of grace which he has merited for us. He not only delivers us from the guilt of sin, but also from the power of sin and of the devil, and by His Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts, calls us out of darkness into His light, leads us into all truth, and preserves us unto eternal salvation and blessedness.
This most comforting truth is a pillar of strength for God’s children in the midst of doubts and temptations. Thus this truth is ever presented to us in Holy Writ. He, Christ Jesus, “hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them”.. And “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”. , “My little children, these things write I unto you, that we sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”