AN EFFECTIVE HIGH PRIEST
The present ministry of Jesus is not a novelty it is the heart of our salvation, and is indispensable to our acceptance by God and safe arrival before Him without spot. As obvious as this is, it is arresting how very little is made of this in the contemporary religious environment. The present ministry of Jesus is scarcely known among professed believers. Little, if anything, is made of Christ's current activity by the average minister. How tragic is this circumstance! It brings dishonor to the Son of God, and grieves the heart of our heavenly Father. It has also brought great handicap to those deprived of such proclamation.
The centrality of Deity in this text is remarkable. When it comes to salvation, the emphasis is upon God and Christ, not man. The thrust of Divine communication is upon what the Lord has done and is doing, not what man should do. To be sure, the involvement of man is not to be ignored. However, this is not the thrust of the Gospel. The believer must not allow any form of theological thought to dominate his thinking that relegates the working of God to a secondary position. As rudimentary as that may seem, contemporary churches have been inundated with teaching that does not have Deity at its center. The passage we now consider will show the relevance of this observation. In an elementary way, this is seen in the references to the Father and the Son in this passage. The following table provides a count of the references made to the Father and the Son. The repeated references to Deity are arresting, and worthy of your consideration.
"God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
"He" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
"Him". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
"Who". . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
"Jesus". . .. . . . . . . . . . . 2
"Son of God" . . . . . . . . . .1
"High Priest".. . . . . . . . . .3
"He" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
"Him". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
"Who". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
"Himself". . . . . . . .. . . . . 1
"Son". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
"Thou" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
"Source" . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
"Thee" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
"His". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
This passage deals with spiritual motivation. Here is exhortation in its highest and most productive form! The Spirit urges believers to enter the holiest place, leaving the inhibitive environs of legalism, and introductory nature of the outer court. He does not do it by holding forth an obligation, but by focusing on the Savior. There are warnings and exhortations, to be sure. But they are not the strongest incentives of our text. We are summoned to consider our High Priest; to view Him in magnificent current activity. Now Jesus is administrating the New Covenant. He is shepherding His people, bringing them to God, and leading them to glory. This is the work for which He was ordained, the ministry for which He was chosen! His vicarious death was the necessary preparation for this work. His resurrection was the Father's validation of His atoning death, and the prelude to His glorious reign.
Heaven "itself" is the realm in which salvation is effected. The most significant ministry takes place there! The "throne" from which Jesus rules is one of "grace," not coercive power. Christ's reign is not primarily the execution of a "command-obey" situation. While He does command, and men are to obey, His reign is much larger than this. We did not need a glorified man to command us, and we did not need one to obey. Without being manifest in the flesh, God could and did command mankind. Without sending His Son, we were still obligated to obey God. What the reign of Christ does is enable saints to obey. It empowers them to successfully resist the flesh and walk in the Spirit. Provisions are granted from this throne of grace that make the child of God equal to the rigors of living by faith.
Because of this, we are urged to approach the throne in time of need--when Divine resources are needed to run the race and finish the course set before us. Ordinarily, a throne represents an aggressive imposition of the will of the ruler. However, this is not the picture here presented. The administration of mercy and grace to needy souls is proclaimed. That is the kind of Ruler the Lord Jesus is! Rather, because of the Father's magnanimous Person and will, He has been appointed to reign in the behalf of, and for the ultimate glorification of, the people of God. When He walked among men, the Lord Jesus was equipped for His present ministry by trials and temptations. He also "learned obedience" so He could succor, or nourish sensitive and obedient souls in the quest of glory. Without His intimate involvement, saints could never realize the objective of their faith. There simply is no such thing as a salvation without an imminent and involved Savior. The Son of God was sent to affect the redemptive purpose of God, and allow the Father Himself, as well as the Holy Spirit, to be intimately involved with the people.
WE HAVE A GREAT HIGH PRIEST
The glory of the Gospel is found in its affirmations
A message is proclaimed that declares things accomplished independently of our effort. This perspective must be seen before any measurable attainment can be made in the life of faith. The pivotal, or central, elements of the Gospel have nothing whatsoever to do with what you have achieved or can achieve. You had no input into their accomplishment, and yet they were brought about in your behalf. The Word becoming flesh, living a perfect life, and laying down His life, had no input from you! His resurrection from the dead, ascension into glory, and being seated at the right hand of God is completely separate from your own achievements. His exaltation by God, present intercession, and soon return are not made effective by one jot or tittle from you. These are the work of the Lord, the baring of His arm, the revelation of His purpose. The preaching of these realities is the means employed by God to save and succor men. Proclaiming these realities brings Divinity to bare upon the heart and conscience of men. This is a message to be grasped by faith alone.
It is necessary to establish this firmly to your heart. There is no discipline as powerful as the Gospel. No methodology, however refined and seemingly effective, can compete with the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. This book of Hebrews is nothing less than a delineation of the Gospel. It is an opening up of the greatness of the message which first compelled us to call upon the name of the Lord in joyful obedience. I do not find the Gospel extolled and proclaimed as the power of God today. I know the reason for this is primarily the blindness of men. However, I am also persuaded that proclaiming the Good News of Christ impinges upon men's careers and institutional prominence. It is not possible to become absorbed with Christ and, at the same time, promote purely human interests.
I call your attention to the total absence of an institutional emphasis in this book. There is no mention of a "successful" or "growing" church. There is no career path here, no secrets to effectively starting a church or evangelizing a community. There is no mention of missions, the great commission, or "full time" professional service for Christ. The polity of the local congregation is not mentioned, nor is the procedure for electing leaders. You will not find here an extended discourse on the family, a nation, or an organization.
The absence of these things is remarkable, but perfectly reasonable. The Spirit is addressing people that had lapsed back into a Law-system. They were no longer satisfied with living by faith, but sought a liturgical, or procedural religion. They were drawing back from God, and stood in danger of being removed from the Vine, Christ Jesus. They were not within the good pleasure of God, having placed Jesus into the background. Thus, a most powerful proclamation of the Son of God is employed to awaken lethargic souls, strengthen those whose hands were weary, and bolster the confidence of weary warriors.
If you approach this book with theological tenets alone in mind, you will miss the message! This is not a message to merely correct a flawed position, but one to bring people into the favor and purpose of Almighty God. Proclamation--Gospel proclamation--does not ask what people want, it declares what they need! It does not investigate circumstance. It declares the real situation. This is a book of AFFIRMATION! Thus far, Jesus has been declared as God's only Spokesman to humanity. It is affirmed that He is superior to angels, and Moses the lawgiver. The necessity of listening to Him is asserted. The announcement of a Rest for men is even declared. Now, the Holy Spirit is going to affirm with great effectiveness that Jesus Christ, the Son of God IS our High Priest.
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (Heb 4:4). ["Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess," NIV.] Do not miss the power of this admonition! Holding fast our profession, or holding firmly to the faith we profess, is an obstinate refusal to quit believing, trusting, or relying upon our God! It is the repudiation of any inclination to cease hoping or quit looking for the completion of this great salvation. This is perseverance--the "perseverance of the saints." And how will this determination to dwell with the Lord be realized? What is the catalyst for faithfulness? For some, it is being linked up with what they consider to be a lively church. For others, it is an occasional good convention or rally. Some think long-term decisions to keep the faith are made in an environment of hype and ecstacy.
Whatever may be said of all those things--and they all have some value--there is nothing to compare with a consideration of our great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God.
Look at the text again, and marvel at its powerful simplicity. He does not say, "Since we have faith, let us hold fast . . . " Nor, indeed, does He say, "Because we have been saved by grace, let us persevere." Hear him! He does not say, "Because we are the sons of God, let us continue in the faith." Nor does the Spirit admonish us to be faithful because our sins are forgiven and we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. All of these things are true, and within the proper context of life, they are sweet elixirs for the soul. But they are all subjective. They depend upon your assessment of your own experience and progress. I am constrained to tell you that, as essential and blessed as these are, they will not build a strong confidence. Let no one despise them, or consider them unavailable to the believer! The Spirit is taking us higher! He is grounding us in the One that has been charged by God with bringing "many sons to glory." Ultimately, it is what Jesus is doing that will determine whether you can keep the faith or not! Were He to vacate the throne of grace, your efforts would all be for naught! But if He is enthroned, your labor is not vain in the Lord! It is just that simple, praise the Lord!
Notice, our blessed Lord is called "a GREAT High Priest." He is "great," and exceedingly so, because of the dignity of His Person. He has a "more excellent Name." He is also "great" by virtue of effectiveness of His vicarious sacrifice. It is the only sacrifice ever made that had eternal effectiveness with, and fully satisfied, the Father! Think of it! He is also "a great High Priest" because of the realm where He now ministers in unparalleled effectiveness--"heaven itself." His greatness is also measured by the continuation of His High Priesthood. Other High Priests were not allowed to continue because of their death. But it is not so with our Savior. He abides a "Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 5:6).
Jesus is a "GREAT High Priest" whether men see it or not. His greatness does not depend upon our faithfulness, but our faithfulness does depend upon His greatness! Here we are urged to be faithful in view of Him! He will enable us to finish this course with joy, if we but trust Him. Let no soul suppose this exhortation mitigates obedience, or diminishes the necessity of human effort. We are called to ponder our "Great High Priest" in order that our efforts might be consistent, effective, and honored by the God of heaven. Jesus is "passed into the heavens," and that is where He needs to be if we are going to finish this race! Once He entered into heaven, do you not recall the difference in the Apostles of the Lamb? You do not see them vacillating, denying, or being compulsive any longer. And why not? Because they had a "great High Priest" in heaven seated upon a throne of grace. Likewise, the effectiveness of our faith is underwritten by Jesus in heaven--NOW. In view of that, let us persevere to the end! There is every reason to be sure you can!
WE HAVE A SYMPATHETIC HIGH PRIEST
It is possible to have a representative that is not sympathetic with us--one that is merely carrying out a duty, or obligation. Here is an aspect of salvation that those under the Law do not consider. If our association with God is based purely upon a system of Law, then Christ's association with us is also on the same basis. Is there any so foolish as to assume Jesus intercedes for you only because God told Him to do so? Has He no genuine interest in our situation, our impediments, or the jeopardy in which we find ourselves? A resounding "NO!" must be shouted to all of these questions. The economy of salvation is one of grace, not Law! It is one in which intense interest is experienced by all concerned. The Father is intensely interested in saving us. The Son is profoundly devoted to our salvation. The Holy Spirit is deeply committed to us completing the race. The angels of God are devoted to helping us run this race. Believers themselves are preoccupied with their quest for glory and the will of the Lord. Law could never accomplish unanimity between God and men in these matters! Our text states this remarkably sensitive picture in glowing words.
"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" (v 15). I particularly like the word "touched," over "sympathize," as used by later versions. It is just a personal preference, not a technical one. It speaks of the sensitivity of Christ to our circumstance. The verse is stated in a peculiar manner. Ordinarily we would say, "We have a High Priest that can be touched [or that can sympathize] with our infirmities [or weaknesses]." The Spirit, however, states what we do NOT have--and that for a reason.
He is undermining the notion that men can be justified by Law--that men
can come to God upon the basis of procedure, or regimentation. Such a view, altogether too
common in our day, does not see Christ as a sympathetic or merciful High Priest. Exactness
of procedure is perceived as superior to the heart of the Savior. This is a heartless and
devastating view that will not allow those embracing it to make much progress toward the
Lord. Remember, closeness to the Lord IS the point! To come into His presence, consciously
and confidently, is the heart of the matter. This will never be achieved by following a
set of rules, however true and valuable they may be. To "hold fast the profession of
your faith," you must know more of Christ's attitude toward you than of your ability
to reach Him. You DO NOT have a High Priest that is unaffected by your condition! Men are
often tempted to think, however, that this is not the case. It has grown so fashionable in
our heathenistic culture to question God. "If God loves me, why am I going through
these trials?" "Where is God when I need Him?" "Why are these things
happening to me?" . . . etc. These are all foolish questions, unworthy to be embraced
or answered! They suppose Christ is NOT "touched with the feeling of our
infirmities." Such imaginations are evidences of unbelief, and are to be abandoned
with haste and immediacy!
How comforting the affirmation! "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Our High Priest is involved with us at the most intimate level! Notice how precisely this is stated! Jesus is not touched with the infirmities, or weaknesses, themselves, but with the "FEELING" of them (KJV, ASV)! Other standard versions say, "to sympathize with our weaknesses," as compared with " touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Although a technical point, it is one worthy of comment. The phrase here translated is mh. duna,menon sumpaqhsai.. While not a complex phrase, it is a sensitive one, depicting great feeling. The word "sympathize," which is linguistically correct, does not carry the full weight of the declaration. The point is not simply that Jesus feels sorry for us, or that He regrets we suffer. The Spirit is showing us our Great High Priest is aggressive to DO SOMETHING about our situation--He is AFFECTED, or "touched" by it. It is possible for noble men to sympathize with the suffering, yet be able to do nothing about it. Thus did Paul languish in a cell with a suffering Epaphroditus, who was sick and nearly died (Phil 2:26). Paul had sorrow about the situation, but could not do anything about it! It was God that finally showed mercy upon him, relieving the sickness of Epaphroditus and the sorrow of Paul (Pail 2:27).
This is the point of our text! Our great High Priest, Jesus the Son of
God, is fully able to DO something about our situation. He does it because He is affected
by our condition, not out of a mere sense of obligation. It is true, from one perspective,
that Jesus is obeying the Father in caring for us. But that really is not the point of
this marvelous text. His heart is in His work! He does not merely see you in this world,
He is touched by what He sees, and is eager to give you grace to help in those times of
Whatever deficiencies men may see in our "religion," as they call it, they can see no lack of adequacy in our Savior and High Priest! Our churches may have lack, but our High Priest does not! As we examine ourselves, we may find a staggering number of flaws, but we will find none in our High Priest! He is flawless in His character and in His ministry! He is thoroughly adequate as a Redeemer and as a High Priest; as a Representative and as a Mediator!
He Was Tempted In All Points
Here is a battle ground for the sophists, whose view of Scripture can go no deeper than their own shallow minds and miniature hearts. " . . . One Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb 4:15b, RSV). Some had affirmed that Jesus did not sin because He could not sin--He was Divine. That may sound good to the academic master, but it does not sound good to the tempted ones. Jesus was really tempted! He felt the tug of the flesh, the drawing power of Satan's lure. Scripture goes so far as to say He "suffered being tempted" (Heb 2:18). Life in this world was difficult for Jesus! He was out of His element, so to speak, housed in a constrictive frame than held Him in. In His own words, "But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!" (Luke 12:50, NKJV). There is no earthly language capable of fully stating that lament of Jesus! Our salvation was very costly to Him! It ought not surprise anyone that it is also costly to us!
The phrase "in all points," or "in every way" means in every area. It does not mean Jesus was tempted to take narcotics, be a homosexual, or be drunk with wine. First, it is important to know that Jesus was tempted in the greatest way, because He is the greatest Person, and His work is the greatest work. Satan was more aggressive to bring down Jesus than he has been to overthrow you!
"All that is in the world," of every area of temptation, is defined in Scripture. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). These are domains in which human vulnerability exists, and in which Satan is aggressive. It is worthy of our attention to briefly comment upon them.
"The lust of the flesh" is strong desires associated with our bodies. It has to do with areas of our senses, and ranges from immorality to bodily nourishment. In this case, the deep needs of men are sought to be gratified by giving attention to the frame of man instead of his real person. A man of God from a former period said of this sin, "all unchaste desires, thoughts, words, and actions, fornication, adultery, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; and which make up a considerable part of the all that is in the world: or else intemperance in eating and drinking, gluttony and drunkenness, excess of wine, surfeitings, rioting, and ravelings, and all the sensual pleasures of life, by which the carnal mind, and the lusts of it, are gratified; whereby the soul is destroyed, the body is dishonored, and a wound, dishonor, and reproach brought on the character."
"The lust of the eyes" an appeal to satisfy with what is seen to gratify the longings of the heart by seeing something. At the bottom of this area are things like pornography, with the wide spectrum of entertainment in general at the top. It is interesting to observe that while men vaunt the "eye gate" as the superior means of learning, God represents it as a liability. Of this sin is has been said, "the sin of covetousness is here designed, the objects of which are visible things, as gold, silver, houses, lands, and possessions, with which riches the eyes of men are never satisfied, and which sin is drawnforth and cherished by the eyes; and indeed a covetous man has little more satisfaction than the beholding his substance with his eyes, and in which he takes much sinful pleasure." 1
"The pride of life" deals with sinful ambition, the desire for recognition in this world. The individual is herein tempted to become the center of his world. Everything is measures by whether or not it yields temporary advantage to the person. One has said of this sin, "by which seems to be meant, ambition of honor, of chief places and high titles, as in the Scribes and Pharisees, Matt 23:6,7, or of grand living, for the word signifies not so much life as living; living in a sumptuous, gay, luxurious, and pompous manner, in rich diet, costly apparel, having fine seats, palaces, and stately buildings, and numerous attendance; all which is but vanity and vexation of spirit; see Eccl 2:1,3-8,11. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "the pride of the age"; and every age has some peculiar things in which the pride of it appears." 1 The Holy Spirit is careful to point out to us that none of these "are of the Father, but are of the world" (1 John 2:17). They are all connections to a temporal order that will pass away. There is no good in any of them!
These are the three areas in which Adam and Eve fell. Satan leveled his temptation at these vulnerable areas. The "lust of the flesh" is seen in Eve's mis-assessment that the forbidden fruit was "good for food." The "lust of the eyes" is seen in her observation "that it was pleasant to the eyes." The "pride of life" is seen in the phrase, "a tree to be desired to make one wise" (Gen 3:6). Thus, Satan brought down the human race by appealing to the three things that are "of the world." All three of them had to do with this world. None of them had to do with identity with the Living God. All of them centered in the individual that was created, rather than the Creator that made him.
Our text states that Jesus was "tempted in all points like as we are," and was "yet without sin." The "first man" fell, the "Second Man" did not! The panorama of our Savior's life doubtless contained frequent skirmishes with the evil one--times when flaming arrows of unparalleled magnitude were hurled at Him by the arch foe of God and man. His temptation in the wilderness, however, will serve to confirm the point. Here, when our blessed Lord was at His weakest in the body, Satan assaulted Him with ferocity. The Spirit tells us this concentrated temptation came after forty days and nights of fasting. "And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was hungry" (Luke 4:1-2, RSV). Mark adds, "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him" (Mark 1:12- 13, RSV). The temptation lasted throughout the forty days, but was brought to a pinnacle after they had ended. Then, when "He was hungry," the Tempter came. He approached the Savior in the same three areas (which are ALL the areas) that he had successfully tempted Eve.
First, "the lust of the flesh." The Spirit constrained Matthew to write, "And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread" (Matt 4:2-3). To those living in the flesh, it all seems innocent enough. But you must remember, it is the NATURE of sin that is so contemptible, even though it sometimes comes clothed as a necessity. Satan did not tempt Jesus with a woman, but with a stone- -not with a bottle of wine, but with a stone! Jesus was not thinking about indulgence, He was thinking about food! "He was hungry." The devil proposed that Jesus sit at his table, turning stones into bread--not to satisfy His hunger, but to prove He was the Son of God. But Jesus would have no part of teaching the devil, or confirming Who He was to the one who left his godly habitation. His stomach was empty, but His heart and mind were not! Quickly He repelled the lie with the truth of God. "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'" (Matt 4:4, NIV). Keep in mind, this was an epochal temptation! The salvation of the world hinged on whether or not Jesus would succumb--and He was hungry! A very real temptation, yet Satan loses the first skirmish!
The second assault is even more fierce. Now, in an effort to defeat the Second Adam, Satan appeals to the "pride of life." "Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE'" (Matt 4:5-6, RSV). Ah, a shrewd approach, indeed. Satan takes Jesus to the "holy city," Jerusalem itself, where God had chosen to place His name (1 Kgs 11:36). The issue is still proving to Satan He is the Son of God! Now Satan quotes Scripture to Jesus, reminding Him of the allegiance of the angels, and the commitment of God to His Son. This was a very real temptation--to prove He was the Son of God by calling upon angelic hosts to act in His behalf, as appointed by the Father Himself. How gratifying that would be, and how utterly frustrating to the wicked one! But Jesus will not teach Satan, nor engage in an effort to impress him. He has come to save men, not impress the devil! He draws the "sword of the Spirit" and again repulses the devil's attack. "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST'" (Matt 4:7, RSV). Divine protection is not something to put on display, but to assist in completing His work! A very real temptation, yet Satan loses the second skirmish!
Now Satan becomes even more aggressive. He is going for the "lust of the eye." He seems to sense the fruit of a tree will have no enticement to the Holy One, so He aims much higher than he did with Eve. He offers the greatest prize for the most diabolical act. "Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, 'All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me'" (Matt 4:8-9, RSV). Keep in mind, this is a temptation, not a technicality. Jesus was "born" to be a King, by His own admission later (John 18:36). Here is an opportunity to seize the kingdoms of world early. He does not contest Satan, or suggest the kingdoms of this world did not belong to him. They were lustrous kingdoms, filled not only with pomp and pride, but with opportunity for self gratification and fulfillment. Luke tells us the devil "showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time" (Luke 4:5). This time the Lord strikes a final blow that ends the temptation for a season. "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY'" (Matt 4:10, RSV). Not for the glory of ALL the world's kingdoms will Jesus bow to Satan. How tragic that myriads have yielded to him for much less, to say the least! A very real temptation, yet Satan again loses the skirmish!
Our text associates Christ overcoming temptation with His ability to succor us! Because He was tempted in every area, He can strengthen in every area. Because He resisted in every area of temptation, He can identify what we need to overcome in those areas. You will not have a temptation that does not affect Jesus! He does not know what it is like to yield to temptation, for He never yielded. He does know, however, what it means to suffer being tempted, and is disposed to help us when we go through those times. The time to obtain Divine strength is BEFORE sin occurs, not after it has conquered! When we are tempted, we can obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need! These are resources you need to fight the good fight of faith! They are indispensable to your triumph over this present evil world!
LET US CONFIDENTLY DRAW NEAR
In view of the greatness of our High Priest, and His thorough competency to identify with us in our need, "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:16, RSV). Such an admonition would be pointless if (1. Jesus were not accessible, (2. If He were not qualified to help us, and (3 If He were not disposed to aid us in the battle against sin. We can come confidently, i.e., expecting to receive what is required to resist the devil. Your effort is not enough! It is true, we are admonished to "resist the devil, and he will flee from us" (James 4:7) but that is not sufficient! That exhortation is preceded by these words, "Submit, therefore, to God . . . " You might imagine that "submit" is confined to obeying some commandment relating to moral purity. It is true enough that you are to keep yourself "pure." Make no mistake about that (1 Tim 5:22). At a much higher and effective level, however, you submit to God by taking advantage of the High Priest He has appointed for you. Coming close to Him with confidence to appropriate mercy and grace is an act of true submission.
One of the great deficiencies of much emotion-based religion is its approach to overcoming the devil. I have heard far too often this subject approached as though Satan were afraid of us, and runs at a threat or shout from us. While there is some element of truth in this view, it is certainly not a full representation. Even though you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), and are "the sons of God" (1 John 3:1-2) even though you have been translated into the "kingdom of God's dear Son" (Col 1:13), and have become "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4), you are utterly dependent upon Jesus. If you think for one moment that you can launch out against the devil in your own strength, and because you bear the family name, you had better think again! That view is simply wrong, and is not to be embraced by anyone! Not even Jesus approached the adversary in self-confidence! "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One Who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission [fear, KJV]" (Heb 5:7, NIV).
You will never overcome the devil until you have learned to draw close to God, through Christ, to "obtain mercy and find grace to help, in the time of need." Some are satisfied with an academic approach to mercy and grace--but that will not sustain you in the hour of need! Mercy and grace are to be appropriated by the individual. They are to be transferred from a reigning High Priest to a suffering saint! They come from the "throne of grace" to the arena of trouble and temptation. What is more, they cannot be obtained at a distance. I am convinced that many prayers for Divine intervention are a waste of time. They are uttered from an unacceptable distance--from the outer court, so to speak. The mercy and grace of God are there to be had. They are freely and willingly dispensed by the Lord Jesus when they are needed. But you have to come close to get them. He will not throw them to you, but He will personally give them to you if you will confidently come close enough to receive them!
Let us once and for all have done with any and every form of religion that allows people to keep at a distance from God. Systems of religious thought and religious enterprises that permit their constituents to live with stunted spiritual appetites, and lives out of contact with God are to be forthwith and hastily abandoned. They are under the curse of Almighty God. The Son was exposed to the fierceness of spiritual warfare in order that He might succor those that are in that arena. The Father has seated Jesus at His own right hand in heavenly places. That is the place where mercy and grace are dispensed. They simply cannot be had anywhere else. Come therefore, come near with a bold and confident heart! You will see, Jesus will give you mercy, and grace to help in the time of need. If you can see it, the "time of need" is NOW!
THE FOCUS OF HIS HIGH PRIESTHOOD
There is a marked tendency in professed Christians to focus on this "present evil world." Unfortunately, this tendency has been nurtured by the contemporary church. Its programs and thrust do not require much from God, and thus people have concluded they can live in virtual absentia from the Lord. This is an imagination spawned in and nurtured by the power of darkness! The High Priesthood of Jesus has been established by God in order to the completion of our salvation. Without that High Priesthood, there is no hope of anyone being saved. Whatever people may think of reaching the lost, and that is a most noble work, God has appointed our High Priest to provide mercy and grace for the saved! The focus of His priesthood will testify loudly to that fact.
Chosen From Among Men
"For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men . . . " (Heb 5:1a, RSV). The concept of a high priest was introduced in the Levitical law. The guidelines for establishing the high priesthood were outlined by God to Moses in Exodus 28:1-14 and 29:1-37. The first high priest was Aaron, and he was taken "from among the sons of Israel" (Ex 28:1). Under the Law the type of Christ's priesthood was developed. A man would represent men! Angels were employed to deliver men (i.e., Lot-- Gen 19:15, Israel--Ex 14:19), but God would not employ them to represent men before Him.
This foreshadowed our Lord's High Priesthood. He did not take hold of the nature of angels, but of men. In keeping with the Divinely appointed type, the representative must be taken "from among" the people. Thus it is written, "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham" (Heb 2:16). It is Christ's humanity that enables Him to save us. The Father, knowing what was in man, and the immensity of the work of saving him, knew it would take a tender and empathetic (not merely sympathetic) High Priest to save him. It is my persuasion that the largeness of salvation is generally unknown because the extent of man's fall is not known. Men speak too glibly about salvation, as though it could be accomplished with a casual word. This is not so! God could speak the worlds into existence, but the salvation of man would require much more! An adequate High Priest must stand continually before God in the behalf of men, else they will not be saved! No wonder the Spirit moved Paul to speak of the Son's humiliation in such lofty and arresting language (Phil 2:5-11).
Things Pertaining to God
" . . . in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and
sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself
also is beset with weakness" (Heb 5:1b-2, RSV). In salvation, God is not basically
providing for man's temporal needs. Health, wealth, cohesive families, and stable
governments are all nice, but that is not the reason for Christ's High Priesthood. Those
that look to Jesus to resolve their problems in this world severely limit themselves.
Under the Law, the exclusive work of the high priest concerned man's relationship to God.
It is essential that this be seen with a good degree of clarity. The High Priest dealt
exclusively with matters in which God had to do with men. He presided over them in the
name of God, declaring His will to them, and blessing them in God's stead (Num 16:46-48
18:1-3). He also dealt with matters in which men had to do with God. He appeared before
God in their name, representing their persons, and offering their sacrifices to God
(Ex 28:29; Lev 9:7).
The purpose of the high priest was not to settle family disputes. He was not an arbiter between men, but someone standing between God and man. If there were no "things pertaining to God," there would have been no high priest. Whatever may be said about the involvement of Jesus with the individual, He has no ministry dissociated from man's association with God. God needs Jesus to bless men, and men need Jesus to receive the blessing. This is the heart and core of the Christian religion, to speak rather crudely.
He Offered for Himself
" . . . and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself" (Heb 5:3). The high priest must be sanctified for his work. He could not embark upon standing between the people and Almighty God without due preparation. Under the Law, the high priest had to present an offering for himself before offering one for the people. Thus it is written, " . . . if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed" (Lev 4:3; 9:7; 16:6-7). The high priest must not be tainted when he represents the people to God, or God to the people. He must be wholly set apart for the work to which he was appointed. What a marvelous picture of our Lord Jesus is seen here.
Under the Law, the high priest first made offering for his own sin. That,
of course, is not the purpose for Christ's first offering, for He did not sin, neither was
any guile found in His mouth. Yet, Christ did make an offering before He "laid down
His life, a ransom for man." That offering is declared in our text. "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;
Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; And being
made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him"
(Heb 5:7-9). Prior to His death, the Lord Jesus sanctified Himself--offering Himself to
God as a willing sacrifice. His prayer of dedication is found in the seventeenth chapter
of John, and is marvelous in content. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his
eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may
glorify thee . . . And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory
which I had with thee before the world was. . . . And now I am no more in the world . . .
And now come I to Thee . . . And for their sakes I sanctify Myself."
Here Jesus sets Himself apart for the work He was sent to do--laying down
His life, and taking it up again (John 10:18). He no longer deals with the multitudes. He
ceases to preach, go about doing good, and heal those oppressed by the devil. He will not
longer feed the multitudes, confront bigoted religious leaders, or travel across the sea
to heal the demoniac. When the time of the appointed sacrifice came, it is written,
"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out
for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51, NIV). The KJV poignantly says, "set His face to go to
Jerusalem." His focus now adjusts to the heart of His mission. He will "pour out
His soul unto death" (Isa 53:12), an act requiring His total focus and commitment.
His first offering, if I may call it that, was not for his sin [like the ancient high
priest], but was an act of dedication. It was a difficult one, too, that so impacted His
bodily frame that the night of His betrayal, "In His anguish he prayed more
earnestly, and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground"
(Luke 22:44, NRSV). The language here depicts "thick, clotted blood."
Who can fathom the immensity of that preliminary sacrifice! At that point, He left the disciples in the care of His Father, as He devoted Himself fully to laying down His life. Take His words into your heart, for they are marvelous. "While I was with them, I protected them in Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy made complete in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but I ask You to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth" (John 17:12-17, NRSV). The sacrifice of Christ required all of His power, all of His energies--all of His mind, soul, and strength. In His case, He did not first offer FOR Himself, but He first offered Himself. He withdrew from every subordinate ministry in order to address the largest undertaking ever conceived in heaven or earth--the reconciliation of the world to God (2 Cor 5:18-20). He was going to be "made sin" (2 Cor 5:21), and would become "a curse" (Gal 3:13). That required transcendent dedication and resolve.
Called by God
"And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was . . . " (Heb 5:4a, RSV). Men did not volunteer for the office of high priest! It was by Divine appointment only. Whatever may be said of man's choice, it was not the basis for becoming a high priest. That was by God's choice. This is the plain declaration of Scripture. God will not allow just anyone to represent Him to the people, or the people to Him. The office is too important to be tainted to pride and politics, which inevitably encroach upon purely human enterprises. Aaron was selected by God to be the high priest of Israel (Lev 8:2; Num 18:1ff). On one occasion, the God caused the earth to open up and swallow those who questioned God's choice (Num 16). God, and God alone, "separated" the high priest from among the people (1 Chron 23:13).
As elementary as it may, the Son is God's choice for our High Priest. It is true, the Word did volunteer for the assignment (Psa 40; Heb 10), but it was an act of acquiescing. In His redemptive work, the Son of God sought exclusively the honor of the Father that sent Him. He was chosen by God. As He said, "Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the One Who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and there is nothing false in Him" (John 7:18, NRSV). The ministry of High Priest falls under the general heading "Christ," or "Messiah"--God's anointed One. The implications of this are far-reaching. If God has chosen Christ to represent Him to us, and us to Him, neither representation can occur apart from affiliation with the Son. Nothing will come from God to us apart from Christ, nor will anything from us be received by God independently of involvement with the Son. Without being unduly abrasive, the entire self-help movement that has invaded Christian circles denies this principle. Most of these efforts have been developed, and are marketed, independently of God's appointed High Priest. This circumstance is inexcusable, and is not to be tolerated by the redeemed of the Lord. Let no one be so foolish as to suppose the God of heaven will support any effort that does not have His Son--our High Priest--at its center.
God provided the High Priest primarily for Himself!
" . . . but He who said to Him, "THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE" (Heb 5:4a, RSV). It is true that we need a High Priest. That provision is an essential part of our salvation. It is also true that the primary ministry of our High Priest is to God Himself. In our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, God has provided for the expression of His own nature. Although of themselves, the redeemed cannot provide a just reason for God to lavish His grace upon them, our High Priest can! Because of Him, the Father can freely dispense His mercy to us, pour out His Spirit upon us, and direct us in His ways. All of this, because of our High Priest, is done in righteousness, without the forfeiture of any aspect of the Divine nature.
Among other things, this unveils the eagerness of the Father to save us. Consider this statement in view of His appointed High priest. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). Those words are addressed to the "redeemed of the Lord" (Psa 107:2). They are more than the statement of a heavenly technicality. They are supported by the continual ministry of our great High Priest. If you are ever prone to doubt God's personal interest in you, consider His appointment of the Son as our High Priest! This allows the Father to fulfill His purpose toward you. He only needs your consent, and full acquiescence.
Our High Priest Did Not Glorify Himself
" . . . So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest . . . " (Heb 5:4b, RSV). The mystery of godliness (1 Tim 3:16) is revealed in this expression. Remember, God does, in fact, glorify Himself. Jesus once prayed, "Father, glorify your name!" The Father responded, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again" (John 12:28, NIV). However, the Son did not glorify Himself--particularly in His High Priestly role. This was something the Father did for the Son--not something the Son did for Himself. With unparalleled boldness and insight, Peter announced, "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified His servant Jesus . . . " (Acts 3:13, NRSV).
By saying "Christ did not glorify Himself," the Spirit is
intending to show us the purpose of God. Salvation is not a reactionary plan, but a Divine
purpose. Just as our Savior is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
world," so the Father appointed Him to be our High Priest, to administer salvation,
before He ever made the world. In due time, He "glorified" the Son, as "the
Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5), elevating Him to the ministry of representation. That
glorification confirms the thorough satisfaction of the Father with the sacrifice of the
Son. The Father "sent" the Son (1 John 4:14), "beget" the Son (Heb
1:5), protected Him in infancy (Matt 2:13-14), upheld Him in temptation (Matt 4:11; Luke
22:43), directed Him in ministry (John 8:28,38; 10:32,37), raised Him from the dead (Rom
6:4; Gal 1:1), and set Him at His own right hand (Heb 1:13). Nothing can be more plain!
Jesus did not glorify Himself, but the Father did!
God will be favorably disposed to bless those that give due honor to the Son. How wonderfully this is stated in John 12:26. "If any one serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him." What a remarkably blessed circumstance! To be honored by the Father Himself! This is a commentary of the honor God has bestowed upon His Son. Because of His vicarious sacrifice, the Father regards Him so highly, He will save any and everyone that "receives" Him (John 1:12). How we must praise God for this blessed reality!
THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH
The "days" of Christ's "flesh" were the days of His trial, perfection, and ministry. They were the days in which He was made suitable to be our "great High Priest." During these days He wrought many mighty signs and wonders. Our Lord was a prodigious miracle worker. This aspect of His ministry was motivated by His great compassion. It was not the primary thrust of His work, and did not yield the greatest fruit. In no way is this intended to minimize the works of Christ. Rather, we intend to see "the days of His flesh" from a higher vantage point--one that yields abundant fruitage in our very day. We will see that Christ's tenure in this world was the appointed means of sustaining His brethren in as they live by faith in an alien world. In His life, He was being equipped to be a merciful High Priest in "things pertaining to God."
He Offered Up Both Prayers and Supplications
"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety [in that He feared, KJV]" (Heb 5:7, RSV). The fervency depicted in this expression is arresting. Prayers were "offered up" with fear and urgency. Supplications were made "with loud crying and tears." These were made under Satanic assault, and the revulsion of His flesh against the thought of dying. The mighty prophet Elijah became depressed under the juniper tree, but under His greatest trial, Jesus became for fervent in His quest to do the will of His Father. This is the manner of the Kingdom. It is the way Divine life reacts to the most fierce of all assaults, and the most challenging aspects of obedience. He was being prepared to assist the saints of God through their trials, and thus He went through the experience Himself! His encounter was "like" ours, yet was transcendent to ours.
Our Lord's experience was one which required all of His resources. It
demanded that He pray! He needed assistance from the Father. He did not resort to His
disciples for encouragement, but to His Father. He had to pray to the one that was
"able to save Him from death." The Word of God provides some of the words our
blessed Savior uttered during this time. He had taken some of His disciples into this
inner chamber of prayer. However, when He began to pour out His soul, "He went a
little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is
possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." The second
time He prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be
done." We are told He prayed prayer again the "third time" (Matt 26:39-44).
Although He was tempted to a remarkable degree, His preference remained to do the will of
Ultimately, He was not seeking deliverance from death. We know this is the
case by what He said earlier. "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say,
'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father,
glorify Thy name" (John 12:28-29a). His prayer reveals the intensity of the
temptation, as well as the revulsion of His spirit to the coming contamination of the sins
of the world. When He prayed, however, He prayed to the One that was "able to save
Him from death" whether He would or not! This is an aspect of praying in
temptation that few have duly considered. There come times when God's people sense they
are not going to be spared certain trials. The three Hebrew children facing the fiery
furnace (Dan 3:17), and the Apostle Paul (2 Cor 12:8ff) are cases in point. But faith does
not despair under such trying times! Instead, prayer is made to the One Who is "able
to save." The fleshly outcome is not the point. The sustaining power of faith IS the
In His fiery trial, the Lord Jesus passed through the most difficult of earthly circumstance, and the fiercest of all trials. He did it in order to qualify Him to be a "merciful and faithful High Priest." That was the real point of "the days of His flesh."
He Learned Obedience
"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
suffered" (Heb 5:8, RSV). The thought of the Son of God having to "learn
obedience" challenges our hearts and minds. He "learned" it like you do,
except to a greater degree--in the crucible of conflict! Obedience is learned in times of
stress, when strong inclinations to disobey are felt by the soul. Remember, Jesus came
into the world to "die." That is why he was born! His death would expend the
wrath of God for the believer, and open the prison house of sin. No wonder He was tempted
to avoid drinking the cup of man's sin. He was to taste the dregs of iniquity, which would
compel the Father to forsake Him. Burt when He was tempted, He "learned
obedience." He "learned" it so you also could "learn" it when
tempted to disobey.
Suffering became the teacher. He "learned obedience FROM the things which He suffered." We would not be able to adequately "learn obedience" unless He did first! Here He learned to navigate through the craggy rocks of distracting temptations. He learned that obedience does not come easily--that it is yielded in the fact of great opposition. This passage is NOT speaking about Christ's obedience to His parents when He was young, or to the Law was He advanced in wisdom. The particular "obedience" that He learned related to His death. That was the most difficult of all obedience for Him, and it will be for you also! This is the obedience of which the Spirit spoke in Philippians 2:8. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." The suffering He endured in that death was divers. He suffered at the hands of men, the devil, and God Himself!
He did this "though He were a Son." This teaches us that identity with God does not exempt us from trials and afflictions. Those that balk at difficulty, as though "some strange thing" had happened to them (1 Pet 4:12) do greatly err. Our Lord Jesus has led the way through the terrain over which we must travel. He was tempted because we are tempted. He suffered because we must suffer. However, he did not do it simply to have the experience, or so that He might identify with us. This was surely accomplished, but that was not the primary purpose. The objective was to qualify to be the kind of High Priest we required to complete the race that is set before us!
He Became the Source of Salvation
"And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation" (Heb 5:9, RSV). Morally, Jesus was "perfect" all along. He "did not sin, neither was any guile found in His mouth." The meaning of this verse is that Jesus was perfected as a High Priest. He became fully qualified to represent men to God, nourish them from the Throne of all grace, and lead them to glory. God would not give us a High Priest until He was ready to bring us all the way home.
This accents the nature of our salvation. There is nothing automatic about salvation. It requires the wisdom of God, the obedience of Christ, the power of the Spirit, and the support of angels. God must be involved in the process from beginning to end. Our Great High Priest allows that involvement to take place. Mind you, our High Priest had to be effective in His work, or we would not overcome. Thus He was perfected, or made complete, accomplishing His obedience. It is like this: if Jesus did not obey, we would not be able to obey. Men may boast of their ability to obey, but it is only because they do not know the fierceness of the assault of Satan upon those intent on obeying God. Consider your High Priest, and behold how He "learned obedience."
The objective of our Lord's suffering and obedience is now being realized.
He is now "the Author [Source, NASB] of eternal salvation unto all them that obey
Him" (v 9). Note, salvation has a Source! It is initiated by the Son of God, not man.
Salvation is something authored by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not speaking of the
initiation of salvation--like "getting saved" (whatever that may be). Our High
Priest is the "Author" is a salvation that is "eternal." This is not
only deliverance from sin. Our Lord brings salvation to its culmination, which is
glorification, or being brought to be "like Him" (Rom 8:29-30; 1 John 3:1-3).
You owe the entirety of your salvation to the Son of God! Your hand has not been put to
it, even as human tools were not put to the altar of God (Ex 20:24; Deut 27:5). While
"Lord and Savior" is a fitting description of the Son of God (2 Pet 1:11; 2:20;
3:2,18), "eternal salvation" is the accomplishment of our "great High
Priest." It is evident from the expressions that we hear that this truth is not
Lest we suppose we are not ourselves involved in the process, the High Priest is the "Source of salvation unto all them that obey Him." Here is an important point to see. Our obedience is not the cause of our salvation--Jesus is the Source of it in its entirety. However, our obedience is the means through which that salvation is effected. It is the channel through which salvation is realized. But there is more to this than that. The obedience of which He speaks is the "obedience of faith" (Rom 16:26)--conformation to the "good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This is obedience that is yielded in the face of opposing influences. It is not a slavish obedience, like that of Sinai. Rather, it is the result of a preference for the will of God, even when discomfort and hardship is the result. Such obedience is exceedingly rare in an age that prefers convenience! If men are to be saved, they will have to WANT to be saved more than to avoid suffering. For all such, the "great High Priest" will bring them safely through, ministering mercy to them, and "grace to help in the time of need."
Designated A High Priest By God
" . . . being designated by God as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 5:10, RSV). The grand summation of this glorious section of Scripture is that Jesus, because of His qualifying life, has been designated as our High priest. He is not a temporary High Priest, or a mere figurehead. He is a "High Priest according (or after) the order of Melchizedek." That means is ministry in this capacity is unchanging, and thoroughly effective for the completion of the process. It is God Himself that has designated Him our High priest. The angels did not vote on it, nor is His High Priesthood the response of God to the cries of men.
Our salvation required a High Priest that "ever lives to make intercession for us" (Heb 7:25). Only Christ suited that requirement! His human experience, if I may so refer to "the days of His flesh," qualifies Him to "bring many sons to glory." God did not designate an angel, mighty though they are, to be our "High Priest." Indeed, neither did He designate "the Word" which was "in the beginning" to meet this need. The Father needed someone that had lived in the arena of conflict, and had defeated the devil on his own ground, to bring us to glory. Such an One was found in the Son, and therefore He was designated to be our Great High Priest.
There is no way to adequately express my personal elation and gratification in the Father's appointment of His Son as our High Priest. I see it as one the most remarkable incentives to holiness and hope that is available to us. No person seeing this can be can be ultimately overcome by the wicked one. No one!
Perhaps you have not thought much about the High Priesthood of Christ
Jesus. Much of modern religion, if not the preponderance of it, does not encourage such
contemplations. I trust you have been able to see more clearly the indispensability this
ministry of Christ Jesus. We are told He is "able to save to the uttermost those that
come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25).
This being the case, forever purge from your mind the notion that salvation is sealed upon
your profession of faith. Were this the case, we would need no Intercessor, no High
Priest, no Divine resources. Your salvation is in the process of being completed. To put
it in the words of Scripture (combining spiritual things with spiritual words), you
"are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time" ( Pet 1:5, NASB). Again, it is written, "Therefore, gird your
minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be
brought to you" (1 Pet 1:13).
Give thanks for your High Priest, and approach God confidently because of Him. You will truly find mercy, and grace to help in the time of need all because you have a "great High Priest" that is "passed into the heavens." Remember, your salvation is more owing to what is happening today in heaven, than what is occurring upon the earth. It is that heavenly activity that allows us to fight the good fight of faith in this world.