Romans 8:33
Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Sermons
Accusers ChallengedJohn Newton Romans 8:33
Faith Rising into AssuranceR.M. Edgar Romans 8:31-39
The Uncertainties and Certainties of a New Year: a New Year's SermonC.H. Irwin Romans 8:31-39
A Challenge and a ShieldC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 8:33-34
A Personal AdvocateC. E. Little.Romans 8:33-34
Christ a PleaderRomans 8:33-34
Christ Our AdvocateRomans 8:33-34
Christ's Heavenly IntercessionT. Ferme, M.A.Romans 8:33-34
Christ's IntercessionJ. Clason.Romans 8:33-34
Christ's IntercessionT. Watson.Romans 8:33-34
Christ's Resurrection a Higher Fact than His DeathD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
Elect, God's Vindication of HisE. Williams.Romans 8:33-34
Elect, How ChosenRomans 8:33-34
Election: How to be Regarded and DeterminedT. Chalmers, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
JustificationT. Manton, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
Justification by GodD. Moore, M.A.Romans 8:33-34
Justification: its ComfortT. Chalmers, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
On Christ's Being At the Right Hand of GodT. Ferret, M.A.Romans 8:33-34
The Advocacy of ChristT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Ascension: Mysteries in ReligionJ. H. Newman, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Believer's ConfidenceRomans 8:33-34
The Completeness of RedemptionThomas Horton, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Death of ChristJ. W. Reeve, M.A.Romans 8:33-34
The Death of ChristT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Four Pillars of the Christian FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 8:33-34
The Intercession of ChristJ. Hubbard.Romans 8:33-34
The Intercession of Christ: its MethodR. Wardlaw, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Justification of the ElectThomas Horton, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Right Hand of GodT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.Romans 8:33-34
The Triumphant ChallengeT.F. Lockyer Romans 8:33, 34
He has asked the general question, challenging an answer: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" He now proceeds to two special questions, the first of which has reference to the justification of believers by God. In view of that he asks, "Who shall lay anything to their charge? who shall condemn?" And again, amplifying the fact of their justification, he tells of the death, the resurrection, the ascension, the intercession, of Christ Jesus, as the pledge and declaration of their acquittal. We may consider the possible sources of charge against God's people, and their triumphant vindication.

I. THE CHARGE. To them that are in Christ Jesus there is now no condemnation, and yet whispers of condemnation may again and again be heard.

1. The transgressions of the past may come to mind with such force as to destroy our joy in God. Past irreparable, and though first consciousness of free forgiveness of God may almost blot it from our memory for the time, yet there are times when it seems to live again, and so vividly that we can hardly detach the thought of overwhelming guilt as still upon us.

2. The imperfections of the present. How far from the perfectness of the ideal! And how the very growth of earnestness and increase of endeavour seem to make the ideal more distant still! So conscience, the Law, the adversary, and accusing men (see Beet, in loc.) may make us feel condemned.

II. THE VINDICATION. But the condemnation is not real; it exists only in the diseased imagination. Let it be brought face to face with the great facts of the gospel, and it must vanish quite away. What are these facts?

1. The great central fact is that we are God's chosen ones; and who shall dispute God's choice? Not that he ever can act without reason; but, whether we see the reason or not, we are elect, the elect of God, as being his people, and who shall gainsay it?

2. This great election is declared by his justification of the believer, which has gone abroad in the gospel to all the world: "He that believeth is not condemned."

3. And even the reasons of the election of believers are graciously made known, and graciously confirmed: Christ's death, resurrection, exaltation, and intercession.

(1) The death of Christ, as the great Propitiation for the sins of the world, utterly does away all guilt to those who sincerely receive it by faith. As the Son of God, he thus sets forth the infinite love of a God who laid down his life for our sake; as Son of man, making reconciliation for the sins of the people, he appeals on our behalf even to the infinite justice for our acquittal. And though we may still be frail, and sin may cleave to us, yet, if we are sincere in our faith, that atonement avails for all things and for ever.

(2) The resurrection of Christ, following after the expiation, is God's sure setting-forth of the value of the expiation, and the effectiveness of the finished sacrifice. "Raised for [i.e. because of] our justification" (Romans 4:25).

(3) The exaltation, as the resurrection completed, is the completing of the guarantee that we are accepted in him. And he is our Forerunner.

(4) The intercession, as the work of the exalted High Priest, is the continuous application of the atoning work, in itself for ever finished and for ever guaranteed. For returning prodigals, and for us with our frailties who have believed, he "ever liveth to make intercession," and is therefore "able to save unto the uttermost." Oh, then, whether we look to God who has chosen and justified us, or to him whom God hath set forth as a Propitiation, and again declared to be his Son, well-pleasing and beloved, by the raising from the dead; whether we regard God in Christ as the Source of our salvation, as the Effecter of salvation, or as the Manifester of salvation; whether we think of the past, the present, or the future in Christ; - in any case we can take up the triumphant challenge given us by Paul, "It is God that justifieth; Who is he that shall condemn? It is Christ Jesus," etc. - T.F.L.







Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?
First, to take it emphatically, God does indeed justify His elect. This is that which we have declared in ver. 30 of this chapter. The second is as it may be taken exclusively, "It is God that justifies," that is, there is none that justifies besides God; none have anything to do to absolve and acquit a sinner from guilt but God alone, thus chap. Romans 3:26. And the reason of it is clear, because it is God alone against whom the sin is committed; namely, in reference to future condemnation, and the judgment of another world, it is God alone that condemns, and therefore it is God alone that justifies. Again, it is God only that knows the heart and understands what is in man, and so alone can forgive; yea, it is He alone who is without sin Himself, and so alone can discharge us of it. First, it is done freely, without anything in us as meritorious or deserving of it. "Being justified freely by His grace" (Romans 3:24). Secondly, it is God that justifies, therefore we are justified fully — fully without imperfection, and fully without reservation; all the works of God are perfect. No; while it is God that justifies, we are justified from all things (Acts 13:39). Thirdly, it is God that justifies, therefore we are justified truly, and so as we may rest satisfied and quieted in this justification. If our justifying were from anything of our own, we could not have that assurance of it in regard of our weakness and imperfection. But, secondly, there is a use which may be also made of it by us as taking it exclusively, and that is, as to the removing of all other persons besides from it. As — First, it is God that justifies, and therefore not we ourselves. It is laid to the charge of the Pharisees that they were such as justified themselves (Luke 16:15; Luke 10:29). Secondly, it is God that justifies, therefore not friends or Christian acquaintance. Thirdly, it is God that justifies, therefore not ministers or pastors of the Church. The ministers have a commission for the laying open of the sweet promises of the gospel, and the mercy of God in Christ, to all such persons as are willing to leave their sins. In brief, this is the advantage which is considerable in ministerial absolution, that where a minister does upon good grounds declare such a person to be pardoned and justified in the sight of God, this action of his shall be so far forth effectual to such a person as to the settling and quieting of his conscience, which before could have no rest in itself. And in this sense is not only declarative but likewise operative; not to the forgiveness of sins absolutely, but as to the evidences of it, and in that regard of greater use and availment than is always apprehended as being the ordinance of God which He has sanctified and allowed of for such a purpose as that is. The second is the conclusion which is enforced from it, and that, to make it more significant, is propounded by way of question, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" First, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" That is, who can do it? It is impossible; it is impossible that God's elect, who are justified by God, should have any charge laid unto them. First, there is nothing to accuse them of, there is no ground or matter of accusation in the elect and justified of God. There is enough to be found in them, but there is nothing to be charged upon them. Secondly, there is nobody to accuse them to, or to receive any accusation against them: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" And so, if God justify us, who can accuse us, as having a fit person to lay the charge before (thus Isaiah 1:8, 9). There is no higher court of justice than the tribunal and judgment of God Himself. We see in the affairs of men that that which is done in a higher court it cannot be nullified in a lower. Thirdly, there is nobody to make or frame the accusation, that is, who can do it with any success or hope to prevail in it. Secondly, Who shall? that is, Who may? It is that which is unwarrantable, and there are two things also in this. First, it is a pragmatical business for any to accuse those whom God does acquit, they meddle with that which they have nothing to do withal, for God He is both the Creditor and the Judge, and so where He does justify what has any to do to condemn? But then also, secondly, it is injurious for any to accuse any man whom the law has already absolved; it is in itself matter of accusation and is liable to exception. Thirdly and lastly, Who shall? that is, Who dare? It is unsafe and dangerous. And so there is a great deal of rashness and presumption in it. For a man to lay any false accusation upon the meanest subject in a kingdom, it were that which he were answerable for. They accuse God's elect, who are His choice and peculiar people, His favourites, and such as He esteems of, and therefore it concerns them to take heed herein what they do. We know how God took up Aaron and Miriam for their charging and accusing of Moses and speaking reproachfully of him. "How were ye not afraid (says He) to speak against My servant Moses" (Numbers 12:8).

(Thomas Horton, D.D.)

Who? The devil will try, but will he succeed? Methinks that at the last assize of the world the Great Judge of all will ask the question, and methinks I can see Satan come forward to give his evidence against them, which at the outset appears strong and overwhelming. But I see the Great Advocate for the defence, whose name is "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God," begin to cross-examine him: — "What is your name?" "Satan." "Yes, but you have a few aliases, have you not?" "Yes." "What are they?" "The Serpent." "Again?" "The Devil." "Again?" "Accuser of the brethren." "So it seems. Where do you dwell?" "Hell is the centre of my operations." "And what is your occupation?" "Well, —" "Speak out that heaven and earth may hear!" "Walking about in the earth, seeking whom I may devour." "So it appears. Were you ever in heaven?" "Yes; there! commenced my existence." "Yes; and were you driven out for pride, ambition, and rebellion against the Supreme authority, for lying and other evils?" "Those were the charges against me." "And proved, I believe?" "Yes, I suppose." "So it seems. Have you not done all you can against God's elect, and do you not bear them the greatest animosity?" "Well, I cannot deny that." "That is my case, my Lord," says the Great Advocate." "Justified!" exclaims the Great Judge. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? The devil will try, but he will never succeed. He is a biassed witness with a broken character whose word has no weight in the court of heaven."

(E. Williams.)

"The elect are whosoever will," Beecher once said; "the non- elect are whosoever won't."

Let your first act be an act of reliance upon Christ for pardon; let this act be so repeated by you day after day, as to ripen into a habit of reliance, and then shall we confidently look for the marks and evidences of your regeneration. And these marks may at length so multiply upon you — they might so brighten that you shall begin to suspect, nay, further, to guess, nay, further still, to be assured, and to read the full assurance that you are indeed one of the elect of God. If you are wise you do not meddle with the doctrine of election at the outset, whatever comfort or establishment of heart you may draw from it in the ulterior stages of your spiritual progress. When you go forth on the career of Christianity you look at the free offer of the gospel. You perceive it to be addressed to you, as well as to others. You yield a compliance therewith. You enter into peace with God in obedience to His own call, whereby He now beseeches you to be reconciled to Him. It were great presumption indeed for you to start with the assurance that your name is in the book of God's decrees, which He keeps beside Himself in heaven; but no presumption at all to set out with the assurance that you are spoken to in that book of God's declarations, which He circulates through the world. The "look unto Me all" and the "come unto Me all" and the "whosoever will let him come" — these are sayings in which one and all of the human family have most obvious interest. You presume nothing when you presume upon the honesty of these sayings. And if, furthermore, you proceed upon them, and forthwith enter upon that walk by which they who receive Christ, and receive along with Him power to become the children of God, separate themselves from the world; and pray for grace that you may be upheld and carried forward therein, and combine a life of activity with a life of prayer, then, and after perhaps many months of successful perseverance, you may talk of your election, because now you can read it, not in the book of life that is in heaven, but in the book of your own history upon earth. Even the apostle went no higher than this when judging of the state of his own converts. Their election was to him not a thing of presumption, but a thing of inference — drawn, not from what he guessed, but from what he saw — brought, not from those third heavens which he had at one time visited, but lying palpably before him (1 Thessalonians 1:4-7).

(T. Chalmers, D.D.)

It is God that Justifieth
I. WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION? It consists —

1. In the pardon of all our sins (Romans 4:6, 7). God, in justifying His people against the imputations of the world, doth bring forth their righteousness as the noon-day; but in justifying them against the accusations brought before His own tribunal, doth not vindicate our innocency, but show His own mercy in a free discharge of all our sins.

2. In accepting us as righteous in Christ, who died for our sins to reconcile us unto God; and therefore sometimes He is said to be "made righteousness to us" (1 Corinthians 1:30), and we are said to be "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

II. HOW MANY WAYS DOTH GOD JUSTIFY? By way of —

1. Constitution, i.e., by his gospel-grant, or the new covenant in the blood of Christ, by which we know whom, and upon what terms, God will pardon and justify — namely, all such as repent and believe the gospel. We may know the true way of justification by its opposition to the false way (Acts 13:38, 39).

2. Estimation, whereby God doth account them righteous who fulfil the terms of the gospel, and actually convey to them the fruits of Christ's death (1 Corinthians 6:11).

3. Sentence. This is in part done here, when God interpreteth our righteousness and sincerity (Job 33:23, 24); but more solemnly at the last day (Acts 3:10; Matthew 12:36, 37).

4. Execution. This is in part done here, as God taketh off the penalties and fruits of sin, and giveth us many blessings as the pledge of His love, and above all, the gift of the Holy Spirit, whereby He sanctifieth us. But more fully at the last day, when we enter into everlasting glory (Matthew 25:46).

III. HOW IT CAN STAND WITH THE WISDOM, JUSTICES AND HOLINESS OF GOD, TO JUSTIFY A SINNER. It is a great crime to take the unrighteous to be righteous, and against the word of God (Proverbs 24:24; Proverbs 17:15).

1. Christ's ransom maketh it reconcilable with God's justice, and the honour of His law and government (Job 33:24; Romans 3:25). There is full satisfaction given to God's wronged justice.

2. His covenant reconcileth it with His wisdom. God is not mistaken in judging us righteous when we are not; for we are constituted righteous, and then deemed and pronounced so (Romans 5:19).

3. Conversion reconcileth it with His holiness; for a sinner as a sinner is not justified, but a penitent believer.

IV. WHY NO CHARGE OR ACCUSATION CAN LIE AGAINST THEM WHOM GOD JUSTIFIETH.

1. Because God is the supreme law-giver, to appoint the terms and conditions upon which we shall be justified, and when He hath stated them, and declared His will, who shall reverse it or rebuke it? (Hebrews 6:17, 18).

2. Because the promise of justification is built upon Christ's everlasting merit and satisfaction, and therefore it will hold good for ever (Hebrews 10:14).

3. Because it is conveyed by the solemnity of a covenant (1 John 1:9; 2 Timothy 4:8).

4. When we believe, God, as the supreme judge, actually determineth our right, so that a believer is rectus in curia, hath his quietus est. (Romans 5:1). And, then, who can lay anything to our charge to reverse God's grant?

5. The Lord, as the sovereign disposer of man's felicity, doth many times uncontrollably give us the comfort of it in our own consciences (Job 34:29). None can obstruct the peace which He giveth.

(T. Manton, D.D.)

There is one aspect of justification that is peculiarly fitted to comfort the heart of a believer, viz. that it is the personal act of God. "It is God that justifieth." It is He to whom he was liable, declaring that all was fully paid. It is He who alone was entitled to make the charge against us, declaring how amply we stood discharged. It is He who before was our offended Lawgiver, Himself undertaking our cause and pronouncing upon the goodness of it. It is the God from whom at one time we have nought to apprehend but condemnation, pleading our cause, and protesting how completely He is satisfied. It is our vindication coming from the very quarter whence our vengeance was looked for; and that Being who alone had the right to accuse, not merely acquitting, but regarding us as entitled to all the positive regard that is due to righteousness. It is He who might have wreaked upon us of His sorest displeasure, now telling how much He is pleased with us, and how rightfully we are privileged to obtain from Him the rewards of a happy and honourable eternity. It is He whom we might well have dreaded, that when the arm of His justice was lifted up it would be lifted up to destroy — it is Himself saying that this very justice demanded not only our exoneration from all penalty but our preferment to the glories that are due to righteousness. They who have felt the terrors of the law — they who have been stung with the arrows of self-reproach and have shrunk from the dreaded eye of a judge and an avenger, as it took cognizance of all their ungodliness — they can report how blessed the emancipation is when all is clear with God, who now can at once be a just God and a Saviour — can be just while the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.

(T. Chalmers, D.D.)

Justification is specially referred to God because —

I. THE WISDOM OF THE FATHER PLANNED IT. His sovereign will must have the alone right to dictate the terms upon which He will take us back to favour. The Father, therefore, appoints the way, and plans the means, and even subordinates the dignity of His Son, as it were, in order that He may put an end to transgression, and bring in an everlasting righteousness.

II. THE LOVE OF THE SON ACCOMPLISHED IT. What God purposes, Jesus executes. The Father desired a missionary from heaven to our guilty world to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. The eternal Son of God was heard to say, "Lo, here am I; send Me." The Father desired a victim who should bear the iniquities of man; and the voice of the same Son was heard again, "Lo, I come." The Father desired a justifier, one who should put an end to sin; and again the voice of the same Son is heard, not in heaven, but in earth, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." Thus the part which Christ, the eternal Son, hath in human justification, is to pay His people's debts, to magnify His Father's law, to clear up and vindicate the righteous procedure of Heaven; to weave that spotless robe of righteousness, which might boldly challenge the purity of heaven, and gather in its ample folds the sins of all mankind.

III. THE POWER OF GOD THE SPIRIT APPLIES AND ENFORCES AND SEALS IT. He shows the heart its wickedness, the will its stubbornness, the mind its blindness; and then, by penitence and faith, leads us to the feet of Him who "of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." It is this Spirit, then, that performs the last best office for our souls. He shows to us, in all its spirituality and breadth, that law which we have broken, sets before us the dangers that we are in, and points us to "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world." Thus the Spirit is the preacher of righteousness. The Spirit it is that instructs us in the necessity of justification, that explains to us its way and manner, that seals our souls with a comforting assurance of God's favour and being "justified by faith, we have had peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

(D. Moore, M.A.)

Who is he that condemneth
I. SOME THERE ARE THAT WOULD CONDEMN US.

1. Satan (Revelation 12:10, Job 1:9; Job 2:4, 5).

2. The law (John 5:45; Galatians 3:10).

3. Conscience (1 John 2:20),

II. AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST THERE CAN BE NO CONDEMNATION (ver, 1). To which is required —

1. Faith in Him (John 3:16).

2. Union to Him by that faith (John 17:21, 22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 15:1-3).

III. HERE ARE FOUR REASONS WHY THEY CANNOT BE CONDEMNED.

1. "It is Christ that died."

(1)Christ died for our sins (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1 John 2:2).

(2)Believers died in Him.

(3)Hence they cannot be condemned, because He hath made satisfaction for their debts.

2. "Yea, rather, that is risen again."

(1)Christ did really rise (Luke 24:6).

(2)His rising shows that He hath completed our redemption and satisfied for our sins (Acts 2:24).

(3)He rose as He died, the Head of the Church (Romans 4:25).

(4)All believers, therefore, rose with Him (Colossians 3:1). Hence there can be no condemnation to them, because, by His resurrection, He and they in Him were acquitted (ver. 1; Hebrews 5:9).

3. "Who is even at the right hand of God," which betokens —

(1)His honour (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1).

(2)His happiness (Psalm 16:11).

(3)His power (Mark 14:62; Psalm 110:1), by which He will destroy —

(a)Satan (Hebrews 2:14).

(b)Sin (1 John 3:8).

(c)Death (1 Corinthians 15:26, 55, 56; Hosea 13:14). Hence they cannot be condemned (1 John 2:1).

4. "Who also maketh intercession for us," which He doth by —

(1)Appearing for us before God (Hebrews 9:24).

(2)His sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12, 14).

(3)Pleading our cause (1 John 2:1).

(4)The Father's always hearing Him (John 11:42; Matthew 17:5).Conclusion:

1. Consider —

(1)That you are guilty (Galatians 3:22; Romans 3:19), and condemned (John 3:18).

(2)That there is no way of acquittal but by Christ (Acts 4:12).

(3)That none come to God by Him but may be saved (Hebrews 7:25).

(4)That consequently if you come by faith to Him, there can be no condemnation to you (Matthew 11:28, 29).

2. Meditate often on the death, resurrection, etc., of Christ.

3. Be thankful to God for sending Christ (Romans 11:33), and for making Christ known to you (Matthew 11:25).

4. Be not dismayed at spiritual enemies, but triumph over them (vers. 34-37).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

We should have but one hope of salvation. As long as we have half a dozen, we have half a dozen doubtful ones. When Charles V went to war with Francis I, he sent a herald declaring war in the name of the Emperor of Germany, King of Castille, King of Aragon, etc., etc., etc., giving his sovereign all the honours that were his due. The herald of Francis, not to be outdone in the list of honours, said, "I take up the challenge in the name of Francis the First, King of France; Francis the First, King of France; repeating his master's name and office as many times as the other had titles. So it is a grand thing, whenever Satan accuses, just to say, "Christ has died, Christ has died." If any confront you with other confidences, still keep to this almighty plea. If one says, "I was christened, and confirmed," answer him by saying, "Christ has died." Should another say, "I was baptized as an adult," let your confidence remain the same. When another says, "I am a sound, orthodox Presbyterian," you stick to this solid ground, "Christ has died." There is enough in that one truth to include all that is excellent in the others, and to answer all the accusations that may be brought against you. Here is —

I. A CHALLENGE TO ALL COMERS. The encounter is not to be a mere tilt in a tournament, but a battle for life or death. Who enters the lists against the believer?

1. Satan. It is his business to be the accuser of the brethren. He knows enough of our conduct to be able to bring to memory much that might condemn us. When this fails, the father of lies will accuse us of things of which we are not guilty, or will exaggerate our guilt, in order to drive us to despair. Up with your shield, then, and say, "Yes, it is all true, or it might have been; but 'It is Christ that died.'"

2. The world. As long as you go with evil companions they will applaud you; but when you give up their society they will sneer at you, and bring up all your past life against you. Tell the world, once for all, that it may condemn you, and that it is right that they should condemn you; but tell them also that Christ died. If they say that Christ's death does not repair the injury you have done to your fellow-men, tell them that, as far as you can, you mean to make restitution to them; and that your Master has done it more good than you ever did it harm.

3. Your own conscience. When David had cut off Saul's skirt, his "heart smote him." It is an ugly knock that a man's heart gives when it smites him. Thunderbolts and tornadoes are nothing in force compared with the charges of a guilty conscience. But when a man condemns himself let him tell conscience, as he told his former opponents, "it is Christ that died," and it will be perfectly satisfied, and will use its voice for other purposes.

4. The law of God, which must condemn sin. But when it has done its worst, say to it, I am "not under thee, but under grace." My Substitute has kept the law on my behalf. He has borne the penalty and I am clear.

II. A REMEDY FOR ALL SIN.

1. "Look," says one, "there is sin." True, but yonder is the Saviour.

2. "Yes, but you have been specially guilty; there is great sin against a great God." True, but there is a great sacrifice.

3. "But God must punish sin." It is even so; but sin has been punished, for "Christ has died." Not only is our sin punished, but the sin is gone. If my friend has paid my debt, it is gone. And that my sins are gone is further clear, for He rose again from the dead. If He had not paid the debt, He would have remained in the prison of the grave: and we have still another assurance that it is all gone, for Christ "is even at the right hand of God." He would not be there if He were a debtor. And as to our infirmities, He is there to plead for His people: "Who also maketh intercession for us."

III. AN ANSWER TO EVERY ACCUSATION WHICH MAY ARISE FROM SIN. Sometimes the accusing whisper comes —

1. "You have sinned against a great God." I will make no answer but this: "It is Christ that died." Christ is able to stand between me and God. It is true that God is great, but He cannot ask for more than Divine righteousness, and in Christ I present that.

2. "You have robbed God of His glory." I know it, but "Christ has died," and has brought all the glory back again.

3. "But you have sinned wilfully!" True, but then Jesus willingly died for me, the wilful sinner.

4. "But you sinned against light and knowledge." Yes; but Christ brings a sacrifice offered with His own full knowledge of all that it involved.

5. "But you have sinned with delight." Ah! it is so; but then my Lord delighted to come to be my Saviour.

6. "But you have sinned in spirit"; but then Christ suffered in His spirit. The sufferings of His soul were the very soul of His sufferings.

7. "But you have aforetime refused Christ." Yes; but I set over against that the fact that He always would have me.

8. "But you have trusted in others, and turned away from Christ"; but Christ never turns us away because we only come to Him when others fail us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The protest of an innocent man against the charge of an accuser may well be vehement. But here we have the protest of a justified sinner, that his character is clear through the perfect mediation of Christ, which gives him this amazing confidence. We have before us the four pillars upon which the Christian rests his hope. Because of our unbelief and the attacks our faith has to endure, God has given us four strong consolations, with which we may fortify our hearts whenever the sky is overcast, or the hurricane is coming forth from its place. It reminds me of what I have sometimes heard of the ropes that are used in mining. It is said that every strand of them would bear the entire tonnage, and consequently, if each strand bears the full weight that will ever be put upon the whole, there is an absolute certainty of safety given to the whole when twisted together. Now each of these four articles of our faith is sufficient to bear the weight of the sins of the whole world. What must be the strength when the whole four are intertwisted, and become the support of the believer? The Christian never can be condemned because —

I. CHRIST HATH DIED. In the death of Christ there was a full penalty paid to Divine justice for his sins. If we shelter ourselves beneath the tree of Calvary we are safe. One cries, "Thou hast been a blasphemer." Yes, but Christ died for blasphemers. "But thou hast stained thyself with lust." Yes, but Christ died for the lascivious. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin."

II. CHRIST HAS RISEN AGAIN. "Yea rather!" As much as to say, it is a powerful argument for our salvation that Christ died; but it is a still more cogent proof that Christ rose. Christ by His death paid to His Father the full price of what we owed to Him. Still the bond was not cancelled until the day when Christ rose. Death was the payment of the debt, but resurrection was the public acknowledgment that the debt was paid. On the Cross I see Jesus dying for my sins as an expiating sacrifice; but in the resurrection I see God accepting what He has done for my indisputable justification, His death was the digging of the well of salvation; but the resurrection was the springing up of the water. Christ was in His death the hostage of the people of God. Now, as long as He was in prison, although there might be ground of hope, it was but as light sown for the righteous; but when the hostage came out, then every child of God was released from durance vile no more to die.

III. "WHO IS EVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD." Is there not any word of special commendation to this? The last one had, "Yea, rather" (see Romans 5:10). Here is an argument which hath much more power than even Christ's death. In other passages Christ is said to have sat down for ever at the right hand of God. Now, He never would if the work were not fully done. There were no seats provided for the priests in the Jewish tabernacle. Every priest stood daily ministering. But the great High Priest of our profession hath taken His seat at the right hand of the majesty on high, because now the sacrifice is complete. "Sitting at the right hand of God" means —(1) That Christ is now in the honourable position of an accepted one. The right hand of God is the place of majesty and favour. Now, Christ is His people's representative. When He died for them they had rest; when He rose again for them they had liberty; when He sat at His own right hand, then they had favour, and honour, and dignity.(2) The place of power. Christ at the right handel God signifies that all power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth. Now, who is He that condemns the people that have such a head as this?

IV. "WHO ALSO MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US." Our apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, puts a stronger comium upon this sentence. In the first he said, "Yea rather"; the second, "Much more"; but now "He is able also to save them unto the uttermost that come unto God by Him," etc. If I had to intercede for my brother with my father, I should feel I had got a safe case in hand. This is just what Jesus has to do.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The privilege itself which is here mentioned, the believer's freedom from condemnation propounded for greater emphasis in the form of a question, Who shall condemn? which hath two things considerable in it. First, We will look upon these words, as they do present to us the state of a Christian in the matter and substance of them; who shall condemn? that is, none shall condemn. The second is, as it expresses to us the spirit of a Christian, and that is a spirit of triumph and exultation; who shall condemn him? as defying any that should undertake it, or go about it. The second is the confirmation of this privilege from the several arguments which are brought to enforce it; and they are, I say, taken from four articles of our Christian faith. We will view them in their several order as they lie before us. The first is, The death of Christ; "It is Christ that died." Christ's dying for believers does infer their freedom from condemnation. Now the strength of this argument it does depend upon a threefold consideration. First, The death of Christ does free God's children from condemnation, upon account of the nature and quality of it, considered in itself as most sufficient to such a purpose as this is. This it is again in a twofold respect. First, The dignity of His person; it is Christ. If it had been any other person who had undertaken to reconcile us to God and to free us from condemnation, we might have notwithstanding doubted of it, and called it into question. The second is, The fulness of His satisfaction, Those for whom Christ hath died they cannot be condemned, because Christ by dying for them hath taken away all manner of guilt and condemnation from them. The third is, The interest and propriety which all believers have in this death, in these words. First, In the intention of Christ; He hath designed His death to be effectual to all His elect, and did with a special respect unto them lay down His life. Secondly, As to their own improvement and application; they have laid hold on this death of Christ, and so made it their own, and the virtue and efficacy of it. The third and last is, The justice of God Himself in reference to both. It is satisfied in the surety, and therefore it cannot in justice be required of the principal debtor; the Judge of all the world must needs do right. And so much for that, namely, the first argument to prove God's children free from condemnation, taken from the death of Christ. The second is taken from His resurrection; "yea rather," that is risen again. First, in reference to the mystery and thing itself, as a more excellent and transcendent dispensation. For Christ to be risen again, this is such a glorious mystery, as dazzles the most curious eyes, and affects all men that behold it even with admiration. Secondly, In reference to Christ Himself, rather as risen again, as that which is the greater honour and dignity to Him; for hereby was there a discovery of His Godhead and Divine nature. Thirdly, In reference to ourselves, as of greatest use and improvement to us. For Christ's resurrection it is the ground and foundation of ours; and so of all other comfort which belongs unto us. This is the sum of the business: That Christ sits at God's right hand as a testimony of the fulness of His redemption and the completeness of His sacrifice for us. This intercession of Christ does not consist in a formal prostrating of the body of Christ, but especially in these following particulars. First, In His appearing and presenting of Himself for us to His Father in both His natures (Hebrews 9:24). Secondly, As Christ does appear in heaven for us, so He does likewise further urge and present to God the Father the rigour and merit and efficacy of that sacrifice which He once made on earth for us. Thirdly, He does also actually apply this His death and merit and satisfaction to believers themselves. As Paul in the behalf of Onesimus, "Set this upon my account." Fourthly and lastly, Christ is said to intercede for us in all those particular suits and requests which He puts up in our behalf.

(Thomas Horton, D.D.)

It is Christ that died
I. WHO DIED? Christ — i.e., the Anointed of God.

1. Persons under the law, who were set apart to important offices, as prophets, priests, kings, were anointed with the holy oil, which was typical of the anointing of the Holy Ghost. So we read about our Lord (Luke 4:18). As oil insinuates itself into the minutest pores of the substance which it touches, so the Divine nature wholly possessed the human form called Jesus; and there was that perfect union of God and man which we call Christ. Thus, though He be God and man, He is not two, but one Christ. But He was "anointed above His fellows." Thus, for instance, Aaron was anointed high priest, Saul king, and Elisha prophet; Melchisedek was king and priest, Moses priest and prophet; yet none but Christ was Prophet, Priest, and King.

2. And as He was anointed with the Holy Spirit without measure, so He communicates that unction to His people as they require; and as the oil which was poured upon Aaron was so copious as to run down to the skirts of his clothing, so the unction of the Holy One was so abundant on Christ, as the Head of His Church, that it ever has, and ever will, run down to the meanest and the weakest of believers.

II. WHY DID HE DIE?

1. To deliver us from condemnation.

2. To testify God's love to a lost world (1 John 4:10).

3. For the fulfilment of Scripture (Matthew 26:52-54; Luke 24:27).

4. Not only to satisfy God, but thus to save sinners. And looking at the Person who died, it secures the salvation of all the elect, for Christ is the emphatic word in all the sentence. Who died? Christ. You need no more. Nothing can be added to strengthen it. "Who is he that condemneth?" Christ has died. It shuts up all.

III. THE EFFICACY OF HIS DEATH. God can now be "just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus"; but in no other way that we are told of but by Christ's death. And the sacrifice of Christ was once for all. It need not be repeated. There is no more, no other sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:12, 14).

(J. W. Reeve, M.A.)

All the world has sung the praise of the Princess Alice. One child having died of a contagious disease, she was in the room where another was dying, and the Court physician said to her, "You must not breathe the breath of this child, or you yourself will die." But seeing the child mourning, she in sympathy kissed the little one, caught the disease, and perished. All the world sings of her heroism and self-sacrifice; but I have to tell you that when our race was dying, the Lord Jesus stooped down and gave us the kiss of His everlasting love, and died that we might live."

(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)

Yea rather, that is risen again
This —

I. SUPPOSES THE FACT OF HIS DEATH. His death is not to be disparaged; none can appreciate it too highly. It is the highest expression of love the universe ever witnessed — the highest homage to truth, rectitude, and order that the Divine government ever received. It was a death-blow to all past dispensations; it rang in the new era of eternal mercy. But great as is His death, the great thing is implied in His resurrection. There could not have been a real resurrection had there not been a real death.

II. DEMONSTRATES THE WONDERFULNESS OF HIS DEATH

1. Its absolute voluntariness. He who could rise from the dead by His own power could have avoided death. His rising proved that He had power to lay down His life and take it up again.

2. Its supernatural character. Only a few of the millions that have died have ever been raised to life; only One ever rose by His own power, and that was Christ. The supernatural resurrection shows the supernatural death. It is the resurrection, therefore, that gives a meaning to Christ's death.

3. The moral purpose of His death. The great end of His death was to give spiritual life to humanity, and this His resurrection ensures. He is alive, to carry on by His gospel and His Spirit the great work of man's spiritual restoration. Conclusion: Let us think rather of the risen than of the dead Christ. Alas, the modern Church generally lives rather on the gloomy Saturday, when Christ is in His grave, than on the bright Sunday when He appeared to His disciples — the blessed Easter of the world.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

Who is even at the right hand of God
It imports —

1. The advancement of Christ, in our nature, to the highest honour and glory. He is not only possessed of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and of which He was pleased, for a time, to empty Himself; but having taken our nature into heaven with Him, there is a most glorious beauty and lustre put upon it, of which the disciples that were with Him on the mount of transfiguration had a lively emblem, and of which Stephen and Paul, and John the divine, had visions.

2. Christ's being at the right hand of God implies the sovereignty, power, and dominion with which He is invested.

3. His being at the right hand of God expresses not only His honour' and power, but also His blessedness and joy. He for ever drinks in the highest pleasures from the indwelling Godhead, from His matchless nearness to, and communion with the Father, and from the review of His own finished work, and the glorious things which He accomplished. Being thus exalted, He can carry on and finish, by power, the redemption He has purchased by price; can give gifts to men, give repentance and remission of sins.

(T. Ferret, M.A.)

We honour the right hand more than we do the left. If in accident or battle we must lose one hand, let it be the left. The left hand being nearer the heart, we may not do much of the violent work of life with that hand without physical damage; but he who has the right arm in full play has the mightiest of all earthly weapons. In all ages, and in all languages, the right hand is the symbol of strength, and power, and honour. Hiram sat at the right hand of Solomon. Then we have the term, "He is a right-hand man," and Lafayette was Washington's right-hand man. Marshal Ney was Napoleon's right-hand man; and now you have the meaning of Paul when he speaks of Christ, who is at the right hand of God. That means He is the first Guest of heaven. He has a right to sit there. The Hero of the universe. Count His wounds — in the feet, in the hands, in the side, in the temples. If a hero comes back from battle, and he takes off his hat, or rolls up his sleeve and shows you the scar of a wound, you stand in admiration at his heroism and patriotism; but Christ makes conspicuous the wounds gotten on Calvary, that Waterloo of all the ages. Wounded all over, let Him sit on the right hand of God. He has a right to sit there. By the request of God the Father, and the unanimous suffrages of all heaven, let Him sit there. In the grand review, when the redeemed pass by in cohorts of splendour, they will look at Him and shout "Victory!" The oldest inhabitant of heaven never saw a grander day than the one when Christ took the right hand of God.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)

The ascension is ever to be commemorated with thanksgiving. As the Jewish high priest, on the great day of atonement, went into the holy of holies with the blood of the victim, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat, so Christ has entered into heaven itself, to present His pierced hands and wounded side, in token of the atonement which He has effected for the sins of the world. Wonder and awe must always mingle with the thankfulness which the revealed dispensation of mercy raises in our minds. And this, indeed, is an additional cause of thankfulness, that Almighty God has disclosed to us enough to raise such feelings. Had He merely told us that He had pardoned us, we should have had overabundant cause for blessing Him; but in showing us somewhat of the means, He has enlarged our gratitude, yet sobered it with fear. We are allowed with the angels to obtain a glimpse of the mysteries of heaven, "to rejoice with trembling."

I. CHRIST'S ASCENSION TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD IS A TOKEN THAT HEAVEN IS A PLACE, AND NOT A MERE STATE. The bodily presence of the Saviour is in heaven. This contradicts the notions of cultivated and speculative minds, and humbles the reason. Philosophy considers it more rational to suppose that God is in no one place more than another. It would teach, if it dare, that heaven is a mere state of blessedness; but, to be consistent, it ought to maintain that Christ's presence on earth was a mere vision; for certain it is, He who appeared on earth went up from the earth. And here again a difficulty occurs. Whither did He go? Beyond the sun and stars? Again, what is meant by ascending? Philosophers will say there is no difference between down and up as regards the sky. And thus we are led on to consider how different are the character and effect of the Scripture notices of the structure of the physical world from those which philosophers deliver. And when we find the two apparently discordant, the feeling we ought to have is not an impatience to do what is beyond our powers, to arbitrate between the two voices of God, but a sense of the utter nothingness of worms such as we are; of our incapacity to contemplate things as they really are; a conviction that what is put before us, in nature or m grace, though true in such a sense that we dare not tamper with it, yet is but an intimation useful for particular purposes, "until the day break and the shadows flee away." And thus, while we use the language of science for scientific purposes, we may reprove its upholders should they attempt to "stretch it beyond its measure." It may stand as a proselyte under the shadow of the temple; but it must not dare profane the inner courts, in which the ladder of angels reached to the throne of God, and "Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Note, too, that our Lord is to come from heaven "in like manner" as He went. Attempt to solve this prediction, according to the received theories of science, and you will discover their shallowness. They are unequal to the depth of the problem.

II. CHRIST HAS GONE UP ON HIGH "TO PRESENT HIMSELF BEFORE THE FACE OF GOD FOR US" (Hebrews 9:12, 24, 25; Hebrews 7:24, 25; Hebrews 8:1, 2). These passages refer us to the rites of the Jewish law. The high priest entering with the atoning blood into the holiest was a representation of Christ's gracious deed in our behalf. How does He fulfil the rite of intercession? Instead of explaining, Scripture does but continue to answer us in the language of the type; even to the last it veils His deed under the ancient figure (Revelation 8:3, 4). Shall we therefore explain away its language as merely figurative? Far from it. Christ is within the veil. We must not search curiously what is His present office. And, since we do not know, we will studiously keep to the figure given us in Scripture. We will not neglect it because we do not understand it. We will hold it as a mystery, or a truth sacramental; that is, a high invisible grace lodged in an outward form. Thus much we see in it, the pledge of a doctrine which reason cannot understand — viz., of the influence of the prayer of faith upon the Divine counsels. The Intercessor directs or stays the hand of the Unchangeable and Sovereign Governor of the world, being at once the meritorious cause and the earnest of the intercessory power of His brethren.

III. CONSIDER OUR SAVIOUR'S WORDS — "IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY: FOR IF I GO NOT AWAY, THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME." He does not tell us why it was that His absence was the condition of the Holy Spirit's presence. "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter." To the same purpose are John 14:12, 28; John 20:17. Now, proud and curious reason might seek to know why He could not "pray the Father " without going to Him; why He must depart in order to send the Spirit. But faith muses over the wonderful system of Providence, which is ever connecting events, between which man sees no necessary bond. The whole system of cause and effect is one of mystery; and this instance, if it may be called one, supplies abundant matter of praise and adoration to a pious mind. It suggests to us, again, how very much our knowledge of God's ways is but on the surface, and also leads our minds with great comfort to the thought of many lower dispensations of Providence towards us. He who, according to His inscrutable will, sent first His Son, and then His Spirit, acts with deep counsel, which we may surely trust, when He sends from place to place those earthly instruments which carry on His purposes. This is a thought which is particularly soothing as regards the loss of friends; or of especially gifted men, who seem in their day the earthly support of the Church. For what we know, their removal hence is as necessary for the furtherance of the very objects we have at heart, as was the departure of our Saviour. Their gifts are not lost to us. Yea, doubtless, they are keeping up the perpetual chant in the shrine above, praying and praising God day and night in His temple, like Moses upon the mount, while Joshua and his host fight with Amalek (Revelation 6:10; Revelation 11:17, 18; Revelation 15:3, 4). Conclusion: What has been said about the ascension comes to this — that we are in a world of mystery, with one bright Light before us, sufficient for our proceeding forward through all difficulties. Take away this Light, and we are utterly wretched. But with it we have all and abound. Not to mention the duty and wisdom of implicit faith, what is nobler than the generosity of heart which risks everything on God's word, dares the powers of evil to their worst efforts, and repels the illusions of sense and the artifices of reason, by confidence in the truth of Him who has ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high? We will not wish for sight. It is enough that our Redeemer liveth; that He has been on earth, and will come again.

(J. H. Newman, D.D.)

Who also maketh intercession for us
I. ITS NATURE.

1. As it implies a distance between the Father with whom Christ intercedes and those for whom He intercedes, so its aim and design is to remove this distance (1 John 2:1; John 17:20-24).

2. In order to the attaining these ends, it consists primarily in Christ presenting continually before God that sacrifice He made of Himself on earth (Hebrews 9:24-26; Revelation 5:6; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 12:24).

3. Yet it may be reasonably presumed to comprehend some direct signification of His mind and will to the Father, in a manner worthy of Himself, concerning those for whom He intercedes. We are naturally led to conceive thus of Christ's intercession from the word itself, which properly signifies pleading. His work in heaven is also sometimes represented under the notion of His asking and praying to the Father (Psalm 2:8; John 14:16; John 16:26). But this is very different from that of all others, or even His own, in the days of His humiliation. The style of His intercession is majestic, as of One who has authority to challenge what He signifies His desire and will about (John 17:24).

4. One branch of it is to take care of the prayers of the saints on earth, to commend and present them to God, and to secure acceptance for them (1 Peter 1:5; Revelation 8:3; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:21, 22; Hebrews 13:15; Colossians 3:17).

II. ITS PROPERTIES.

1. It is just and right.(1) It is the intercession of One who Himself is holy, and ever stood right with the law of God.(2) It is also right in itself; not a mere suit for mercy, but a plea addressed to justice, for what He has first purchased.(3) It is also carried on in a perfectly holy manner, and according to the will of God. Thus is our Advocate, in all respects, Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:2).

2. It is in common for the whole household of God, yet distinct and particular for every member; and in order to this, it is qualified with His perfect knowledge of what concerns them all.

3. It is conducted with consummate skill and prudence, and to the best advantage. We often ask and have not, because we ask amiss; but as Christ understands thoroughly the cause of His clients, He varies and disposes His pleas according to the nature and exigency of every case.

4. It is most affectionate and earnest. All His people's conflicts and complaints are not only before Him, but within Him (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 2:18).

5. It is constant and perpetual as long as there is any saint left to be brought to glory (Hebrews 7:25).

6. It is ever prevalent and successful. The interest of all is wrapt together; the Advocate is a dutiful Son to the Father, a loving Brother to the client, and God is a tender Father to them both. Christ knew in the days of His flesh that the Father always heard Him. And can the success of His prayers, or His confidence of their success, be less now He has the price and pledge of all He asks for in His hands?

III. ITS USES.

1. It manifests God's glory. Is it not congruous, while the sins of those whom God will save are continually pleading on earth against the favours He is doing and designing for them, that the blood of perfect atonement should be alway pleaded in heaven against the crying guilt of these sins, and produced as a just ground of all the ample largesses of His grace to those who are daily making themselves unworthy of them? Does it not make it visible all over heaven with what strict regards to His holiness and justice He proceeds in dispensing the fruits of His grace?

2. It promotes Christ's own glory. As He glorifies the Father in the continual discharge of this office, so no less does the Father glorify Him in advancing Him to it (Hebrews 5:4, 5).

3. It undoubtedly answers many unknown uses in respect to the inhabitants of the invisible world. Saints and angels behold the whole transaction. And who can tell how large a part of their happiness may arise from the sight of Christ's performing His temple service in the midst of them?Application: The subject —

1. Teaches the humility and reverence which becomes us toward God at all times and in all our addresses to Him.

2. Inspires hope in God's mercy and grace for our salvation, together with frequent and cheerful addresses to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:19-22).

3. Comforts the saints under all the difficulties, dangers, and troubles of the present state. As long as Christ preserves His interest in heaven, He can never fail of an interest on earth.

4. Naturally and powerfully suggests our loving, cleaving, and living to Christ (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:21-23).

5. Attracts the hearts of Christians from earth to heaven, and points their supreme views and desires thither (Colossians 3:1, 2).

(J. Hubbard.)

Christ Jesus does not lead a life merely of blessedness in heaven, but a life of office. He hath an unchangeable and everlasting priesthood. The one part of His priesthood He finished here on earth, when he offered up Himself to God a sacrifice; and the other, the interceding work of His priesthood, He still carries on in heaven. Intercession, in general, signifies a pleading and entreating with one person in behalf of another. We being unworthy of access to God in our own name, Christ Jesus is our intercessor to plead our cause with the Father, and to procure and dispense to us the blessings of His purchase. He virtually makes continual intercession for us, by appearing in our nature and name, presenting Himself in that body in which He suffered on earth, standing in the midst of the throne as the Lamb that had been slain. His intercession is founded on His atonement. By this intercession of Jesus Christ God is glorified. It is a striking testimony to God's awful majesty and infinite purity that He has appointed a standing Mediator between Him and us, and will confer no grace upon us but through Him; and it is, at the same time, an eminent instance of His love and grace, that He has appointed such a glorious Intercessor to plead our cause in heaven, oven His own Son. By this also Christ Himself is highly honoured. His saving power is demonstrated: "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." The efficacy of His sacrifice, His love to His people, and the great influence and interest He has in heaven, are continually shown forth. This doctrine of Christ's intercession tends to excite in us a due mixture of reverence and confidence towards God. Should it not support the awakened sinner under a sense of guilt, prevent his despairing of mercy, and encourage him to come to the Father by the Son of His love?

(T. Ferme, M.A.)

I. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION, or the manner in which it is performed.

1. The intercession of Christ, in His state of exaltation, consists in His personal appearance in heaven before God. It is from Him that blessings are to be obtained; and, as the advocate requires to come into the presence of the judge by whom the law is to be administered, and the case of his client determined, so it is a part of the Divine constitution, in the scheme of redemption, that the representative or advocate of sinners should not stand afar off, but come into the immediate presence of the Eternal.

2. But the intercession of Christ consists not in a simple appearance before God in His human nature, but in His official presentation of Himself as the sacrifice offered for sinners. His sufferings alone could give Him a title to become an intercessor; and when He appeared in heaven as such, He behoved to come with His proofs and credentials of His previous qualification for the office, by "suffering unto death." As the high priest entered with the blood obtained from the previous sacrifice, so Christ entered heaven with the blood of His sacrifice. It was known in the heaven above that His work was completed, and His very resurrection was a proof of it.

3. But besides this there seems farther to be included in Christ's work of intercession, the audible expression of His desires in behalf of His people. This is the case in the several examples recorded of His intercessions on earth.

II. THE PERSONS FOR WHOM CHRIST INTERCEDES.

III. THE SUBJECTS TO WHICH CHRIST'S INTERCESSION REFERS, or the things for which He intercedes in behalf of His people.

1. Christ intercedes for those whom God has given Him, that they may be made His actually by believing on His name.

2. Christ intercedes for the preservation of His people from evil, and for their progressive advancement in holiness. The Saviour, who knows a world's temptations, is busy within the veil, and, as in the days of His flesh, is His prayer ascending — "Holy Father, keep those whom Thou hast given Me from the evil that is in the world."

3. Christ, by His intercession, obtains the pardon of the sins which believers daily commit, and thus averts the wrath of God, and maintains their peace with heaven. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins." What a source of consolation does this open up to the frail, the offending Christian!

4. Christ intercedes for His people that they may be brought to heaven, to enjoy His blessedness, and to see His glory.

(J. Clason.)

It was when the high priest entered with the blood and incense within the veil before the mercy-seat that he made intercession for the people. The very presenting of the blood and incense was an act of intercession, whether words were used or not. It was done in behalf of Israel for the purpose of averting the displeasure and conciliating the favour of Jehovah. With reference to this, Jesus is represented as fulfilling in heaven this part of the priestly functions. In what precise manner His intercession is carried on, it may not be easy for us with certainty to determine. It is evident, from the type just alluded to, that there may be intercession in action as well as in words. If a general who had fought the battles of his country, and had received many a wound, were presenting a petition to his sovereign on behalf of any of his offending subjects, what could be a more effective intercession than the silent baring of his bosom and pointing to his scars?

(R. Wardlaw, D.D.)

An old legionary asked Augustus to assist him in a cause which was about to be tried. Augustus deputed one of his friends to speak for the veteran, who, however, repudiated the vicarious patron, saying, "It was not by proxy that I fought for you at Actium." Augustus acknowledged the obligation, and pleaded the cause in person.

(C. E. Little.)

There are some subjects that soon weary us. But it is not so with Christ. Like the sun, and the dew, and the rain, and the fleecy snow, He is always full of freshness and beauty. Let us now think of Him as our Advocate and Intercessor.

I. THE ADVOCATE'S WORK. It is —

1. To study the prisoner's case, and understand it thoroughly.

2. To feel deeply interested in it.

3. To stand and plead his cause.

4. To obtain his deliverance. Christ does all this.

II. HIS PLEA. Sometimes an advocate pleads that the prisoner —

1. Is innocent.

2. Or ignorant.

3. Or insane.

4. Or that he was quite justified in the act. But Christ pleads that He died in our stead (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

III. HIS REWARD. Christ is doing this work "for us." What shalt we give Him for this great service? He asks but one thing, "My son, give Me thine heart." To do this is right, just, blessed. Who will do this to-day?

There is only one Advocate in all the universe that can plead our cause in the last judgment. Sometimes in earthly courts attorneys have specialities, and one man succeeds better in patent cases, another in insurance cases, another in criminal cases, another in land cases, another in will cases, and his success generally depends upon his sticking to that speciality. I have to tell you that Christ can do many things; but it seems to me that His speciality is to take the bad case of the sinner, and plead it before God until He gets eternal acquittal. But what plea can He make? Sometimes an attorney in court will plead the innocence of the prisoner. That would be inappropriate for us; we are all guilty. Sometimes he tries to prove an alibi. Such a plea will not do in our case. The Lord found us in all our sins, and in the very place of our iniquity. Sometimes an attorney he will plead the insanity of the prisoner, and say he is irresponsible on that account. That plea will never do in our case, We sinned against light, knowledge, and the dictates of our own consciences. What, then, shall the plea be? Christ will say, "Look at all these wounds. By all these sufferings, I demand the rescue of this man from sin and death and hell. Constable, knock off the shackles — let the prisoner go free." "Who is he that condemneth?" etc.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)

Catherine Brettage once, after a great conflict with Satan, said, "Reason not with me, I am but a weak woman; if thou hast anything to say, say it to my Christ; He is my Advocate, my Strength, and my Redeemer, and He shall plead for me."

Christ's love did not cease at the hour of death. We write in our letters, "Your friend till death"; but Christ wrote in another style — "Your friend after death!" Christ died once, but loves ever. He is now testifying His affection to us; He is interceding for us; He appears in the court as the Advocate for the client. When He hath done dying, yet He hath not done loving. What a stupendous love was here! Who can meditate upon this and not be in an ecstacy? Well may the apostle call it "a love that passeth knowledge."

(T. Watson.)

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