"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Romans 8:30).
Moreover Whom He Did Predestinate
Except for The Cross, every human being on earth would be eternally lost. The Cross opened the door for every good thing to be given to humanity, at least for those who will believe. The heading does not refer to some predestinated to be lost and other saved, but rather refers back to Romans 8:29, in that those who accept Him of their own free will He has predestinated them "to be conformed to the image of his Son". The promise of "whosoever will" runs like a deep river all the way from the book of Genesis through the book of Revelation. Actually, the first invitation was given in the Garden of Eden immediately after the fall when "...the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). It closes out the book of Revelation with such an appeal that no one need misunderstand what is being said. As well, understanding that these were among the last words given by The Holy Spirit as He closed out the canon of Scripture, there need not be any misunderstanding as to His intentions. Actually, it is the only time in the bible that The Holy Spirit refers to Himself as speaking and says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). As well, in between those great beginning and ending books of the bible, the words of Jesus echo to the whole of humanity when He said, "...If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (John 7:37). If one is to notice, He said, "any man", and He meant exactly what He said, which means the invitation is not extended to only a few who are predestinated. In fact, and as we have said, if men are already predestinated for heaven, what's the point of the invitation anyway?
Them He Also Called
First of all, and it should be settled, God has called, even as I think we have adequately illustrated, the whole of humanity, and for all time. If salvation is available to one, then it must be available to all. As stated, that's the warp and woof of the entirety of the bible: "whosever will". That means there is no such thing as a limited atonement, a limited salvation, or a limited call, for that matter (John 3:16; John 7:37). Actually, God has to call in order for anyone to be saved. Man is so spiritually dead that on his own he does not, and in fact cannot call upon God. With no spiritual life in him and dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), this means he is dead to all things that pertain to God. Therefore, no human being in his sinful, unconverted, unregenerate state has ever called on God without the Holy Spirit first of all in some manner awakening him to his need.
This is done despite the fact that God through foreknowledge knows who is going to accept and who is going to reject. Nonetheless, in respect to those who reject, when we stand at the great white throne judgement (Revelation 20:11-15), they will not be able to say that they had no opportunity. Paul makes that abundantly clear in Romans 1:20. About a thousand years before Christ, The Holy Spirit through Solomon said, "Turn you at my reproof (repent): behold (if you will do this), I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;" (Proverbs 1:23-26). Predestination erroneously thought and claims that all who are called accept. However, the Word of God is clear and plain that all who are called do not accept. In fact, only a few do (Matthew 7:13-14). As this call is given to something, rather than someone; it is also given for something: to be conformed to the image of His Son. The sinner is called from something to something – in this case, from darkness to light, from sin to salvation, from lost to found, from hell to heaven, from spiritual death to spiritual life, from Satan to Jesus, etc.
And Whom He Called, Them He Also Justified
The heading means that God takes away the guilt and penalty for sins and bestows upon the believing sinner a positive righteousness, even Jesus Christ Himself, in whom the believer now stands forever innocent, uncondemned, and righteous in every point of law.
This speaks of the moral law of Moses, which, in reality, is the law of God and is incumbent upon every human being who has ever lived. It cannot change because it is moral law, therefore it stands forever. Again, I speak of the ten commandments minus the fourth, which was not carried over into the New Covenant because it, of all the ten, was not moral but rather ceremonial and fulfilled in Christ. In fact, all of the commandments are fulfilled in Christ. As our representative Man, He kept every commandment in totality, never violating even one word, thought, or deed. Upon our acceptance of Him, and our faith registered in Him and what He did for us at The Cross, we are given the perfection of Christ, meaning that instead of being law breakers, which carries the penalty of eternal spiritual death, we are now law keepers, all because of Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. Because of our faith in Christ and The Cross, we are given the perfection of Christ.
And Whom He Justified, Them He Also Glorified
The heading refers to the act of God yet to come, which will transform the believer's body at the rapture (resurrection) into a body like the resurrected body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As stated, this is a future event, yet, the apostle puts it in the past tense. The question becomes, how can he do this? The Holy Spirit through Paul said these words in this way because in the mind of God it is a guaranteed event, although future. Actually, only God can guarantee future events. The idea is that just as surely as the believer has been justified, he will just as surely be glorified. The whole argument of Romans Chapters 6 to 8 has been that justification and a new life of holiness in The Spirit are inseparable experiences. Hence, Paul can take one step to the end and write, "and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Yet, the tense in the last word is amazing.
The Most Daring Anticipation of Faith
It has been said that this particular phrase from Romans 8:30 is the most daring anticipation of faith found in the entirety of the New Testament. As well, the life is not to be taken out of it by the philosophical consideration that with God, there is neither before or after. The glorification as stated is already consummated, though still future in the fullest sense.
The idea is this: the step implied in "he also glorified" is both complete and certain in the divine counsels.
The Holy Spirit is explaining here the totality of salvation. As such, He does it as only it can be done by proclaiming its totality. Consequently, even though the saint does not yet have the last step of glorification, its certitude is as sure as God. He has already decreed it; therefore, the resurrection is certain (the resurrection will be the time of glorification). In fact, Jesus is the resurrection. When Martha said unto Him, "...Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died," Jesus said unto her, "...Thy brother shall rise again." Martha understood that to refer to the coming resurrection of all saints and answered accordingly. However, Jesus said unto her, "...I am the resurrection, and the life:..." In other words, Jesus said to her, "Martha, look at Me. You are looking at the resurrection. I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:20-26).
What Shall We Then Say To These Things?
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). The Cross of Christ is the only solution for sin. Any claim other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified is bogus. The question presented in the heading is meant to take the believer far above the difficulties of this present time. In other words, looking to that coming day, the resurrection, when all things will be made right. The two words – these things – refer to the suffering presently endured (Romans 8:17-18) in comparison with "...the glory which shall be revealed in us." The apostle has disparaged the suffering in comparison with the glory. He has interpreted it as in a manner prophetic of the glory (Romans 8:19-27). Romans 8:31 refers to what we, as believers, have to go through here in this present life. Irrespective of the difficulties and problems, whatever they might be and as severe as they might be, mean nothing in the light of eternity. We should always understand that, and never get our eyes off of the future and onto the present.
If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?
The question of the heading puts everything in its proper perspective. In the Greek, the word if is ei, and it means "a fulfilled condition". Consequently, it should have been translated, "Since God is for us." As well, the words "be" and "can be" are in italics in your bible, which means that they are not in the original Greek text, but were supplied by the translators in an effort to fill out the thought.
The thought of Paul is not in the form of a hypothetical condition, as if it were a question as to whether God is for us or not. Paul's thought was this: "In view of the fact that God is for us, who is or could be against us so as to do us harm? That is, since God is for the saints, on our side, who can harm us?"
He Who Spared Not His Own Son
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). As far as we know, The Cross of Christ is the very first doctrine formulated by The Godhead. It was formulated before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). The heading concerns the great gift of God, The Lord Jesus Christ. In the Greek, the word spared is pheidomai, and it means "to treat leniently, to spare." The idea is that God did not treat His Son leniently or spare Him. Jesus gave heaven's best. The idea is that there was never any question that love (Jesus) would do this thing because love must redeem.The tremendous cost and price were ever before God.
But Delivered Him Up For Us All
The heading concerns the whole of mankind and not just a select, predestined few.
The question becomes delivered Him up to what? He delivered Him up to become a man, a form of which incidentally, He will remain forever, and of course, we are speaking of The Lord Jesus Christ.
That within itself was altogether beyond anything that we can even begin to think. What He was, The Creator of the Ages, "...dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see...," is beyond our comprehension (1 Timothy 6:16). For 33 ½ years, He lived as a peasant, and during His 3 ½ years of public ministry, He was reviled, scorned, rejected, and then crucified. All of that was one thing, but the bearing of the sin penalty for all of mankind was an act that was absolutely unselfish. The word unselfish is totally inadequate to describe Him. What Jesus Christ had to do to redeem man was so awful that even God could not look upon the scene. This portrays that which no other human being has ever experienced. Even though He now resides in a glorified body and will do so forever, still, that is a far cry from what He once had but will never have again, due to what He did for humanity. He did it for sinners. He did it for those who did not love Him.
How Shall He Not With Him Also Freely Give Us All Things?
The heading lays bare before believers the tremendous price paid for our redemption. The idea is that if God has done this – giving up His own Son in order that we might be saved – how can we think that He is going to allow us to be overcome by the evil one, and I speak of those who truly want to live for God. This does not mean that God will keep one against his will, but it does mean that irrespective of what comes or goes, those who want to live for God irrespective of the opposition need not fear. If The Lord did what He did respecting our salvation, then one can be certain that He will do whatever it takes to keep that for which so much has been paid. George Williams said: "These things being so, if God being for us, who can be against us so as to injure us? As well, believers need not be anxious, for God being for us fills the heart with a rest and peace that shuts out all anxiety as to anything that could trouble it; for how could the heart and the hand that gave what was most precious to them fail in bounty, liberality, and protection to those whom He saved?"
He Who Has Done So Much Is Certain To Do Much More
In the first phrase of the scripture, "his own" in the Greek is "idios", and means "one's own peculiar private possession." Our Lord was The Father's very own private possession, infinitely dear to Him. In the Greek, the word freely is dorean and means "without a cost, freely, gratuitously." God gives us that which is most precious to Him – His Son.
In other words, God gives us all things, not because we deserve them, but in reality, we deserve the very opposite. He does it because of His love and His grace. In other words, it is done not because of merit and neither is it expecting anything in return. It is a gift. The phrase, "he not with him," speaks of both God The Father and God The Son working in conjunction to bring about this great redemption. They are also working to give us divine protection and, as well, a guarantee that everything that goes with salvation, such as glorification, will ultimately come.
Who Shall Lay Any Thing To The Charge Of God's Elect?
"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33). The Cross of Christ is God's answer to man's dilemma. If The Cross of Christ is taken out of the Gospel, there really remains no Gospel. The heading, in effect, means "Who shall pronounce those guilty whom God pronounces righteous?" This means that every single sin that has ever been committed by the trusting believer has been washed away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and it was because of one's faith in that shed blood. As someone has well said, "The Christian has no past, and Satan has no future!" This means that it is terribly improper and actually an insult to God for a believer to bring up the sins of another that have long since been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. As well, it is insulting to The Lord for the believer to drag out his own sins again – sins that The Lord has already forgiven. It does such a terrible injustice to the mercy and grace of God, considering that God does much more than merely forgive. He not only forgives, but He actually erases the sin from the account of the believer, consequently, treating him as if the infraction was never committed. Actually, that is what justification means. The sin is not only forgiven, it is stricken from the record, and as far as God is concerned, it was never committed.
It Is God Who Justifies
The heading means that no one, not even Satan or his evil angels, can dare question or deny God's great plan of justification. Even God cannot do both, accuse and justify, at the same time. And since our justification resides in a person, The Lord Jesus Our Righteousness, in Whom we stand as uncondemned and unchargeable, even as the Son Himself, it is impossible, after having been justified, that we be again accused – and brought under condemnation. In the Greek, the word elect is eklektos, and means "chosen out ones." Paul's argument is, "Who shall prefer any charge or accusation against the chosen out ones of God?"
What Does Elect Mean?
God's purpose is to save all who conform to His plan – and this is His choice or election in the matter. By grace, men who conform will be the elect and be saved, while those who do not will be damned (Mark 16:15-16; Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16-18; 1 Timothy 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 22:17). The choice was first on God's part, but it must be accepted by men for them to receive the benefits and become a part of the elect or chosen ones of God (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4; 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Men must make their calling and election sure, as stated in 2 Peter 1:10. It is scripturally erroneous to think that God has elected some people to be lost and some people to be saved, as some teach. Furthermore, according to this erroneous teaching, there is absolutely nothing they can do about their place or status. They are either doomed to die eternally lost and they cannot stop it, or they are destined to go to heaven, which will happen no matter what they do. Such false doctrine – and false it is – is not taught in the Word of God. The truth is this: as the Gospel is preached, anyone who will accept The Lord – irrespective as to whom he or she might be – immediately becomes "God's elect" (John 15:16; Romans 8:33; Titus 1:1). Satan has caused many to be lost because they have believed the lie that they are elected to be lost. Let us say it again: there could be nothing further from the truth. The scripture still says, and always will, "Whosoever will---" (Revelation 22:17).
Election For A Special Purpose
Election in this capacity, which happens constantly, is the act of choice whereby God picks an individual or group out of a larger company for a purpose or destiny of His own appointment. The main Old Testament word in the Hebrew for this is the verb beahar, which expresses the idea of deliberately selecting someone or something after carefully considering the alternatives. The word implies a decided preference. The reason that God does this is known only to Him. Having perfect knowledge, He looks at a believer and chooses that believer on the basis of what He knows that believer can and will be in Him. That means that every single preacher of the Gospel has, in a sense, been elected by God for this particular task with God, of course, knowing all that each preacher would be and do at the time of his calling. So, He called David anyway, knowing that David would fail miserably in the case of Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. In fact, He chose Israel, knowing they would fail and even crucify His own beloved Son. This did not come as a surprise to The Lord.
Why Would God, Knowing There Would Be Failure, Elect Someone?
First of all, if we judge anything by its present appearance, we are judging wrong. Anything and everything that God has elected will ultimately come out to the good. In other words, Israel will one day be totally and completely restored. However, it will be at the time of their own volition as they make a choice to accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior. Admittedly, all of those who lived through the many centuries of rebellion and rejection will be and are eternally lost. Nevertheless, Israel will ultimately come back, even as God has known all along that they will. Despite the fact of the apostate church and lukewarmness, there is a remnant – as there has always been a remnant – who loves God and serves Him. They do it of their own choice freely and willingly loving Him out of their heart, which has to be of free will or it simply cannot be love. In that case, it is "...a glorious church..." (Ephesians 5:27).
Who Is He Who Condemns?
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:34). The Cross will ultimately make everything come out right, at least for those who love The Lord. Actually, the entirety of Christianity, at least the part of Christianity that abides by The Word, is centered up in The Cross. The question of the heading is very similar to the question from the previous verse, but with one difference. The climax of this chapter is now reached, and the apostle triumphantly challenges anyone to lay anything to the charge of God's elect. This glorious word elect first occurs here in this epistle. The expiatory character of Christ's death is affirmed in verse 34 and the meaning of justification in verse 33. The challenge, "Who shall lay (bring)any thing to the charge of (a charge against)God's elect?" i.e., who shall charge those guilty whom God pronounces righteous, makes clear its significance. The only one who dares to condemn the child of God, especially considering what Jesus Christ has done for him and the price that He paid is Satan and his followers. The scripture labels him as the "accuser of our (the)brethren"(Revelation 12:10). Consequently, when a believer stoops to the low, low level of accusing or condemning another believer, such accusers have joined in the league of Satan and have actually entered into a form of witchcraft. This is especially true if that believer who has failed has thrown himself on the grace and mercy of The Lord and is trying with all of his strength to follow The Lord despite the failure of the past.
What Does Paul Mean By The Word Condemn
Condemnation is an important concept. It is important both theologically and spiritually, for there are many persons whose sense of guilt leads them to fear condemnation. It is important, even for those who need not fear condemnation, for too often Christians are tempted to take God's place and judge (condemn) others.
The Old Testament Concept
The Hebrew word rasha is usually translated "condemn." It means "to be wicked or act wickedly." Another word, asam, which means "to offend," or "to be guilty," is also infrequently translated, "to condemn," or "to be condemned." The thought is that the person who chooses a wicked rather than a godly lifestyle has brought himself or herself under condemnation. It is important to remember that the wicked can turn from their ways (Ezekiel 18) and that repentance and confession can restore a right relationship with God.
The Greek Words
There is a large family of Greek words that can be translated "condemned." However, the basic word is krino, which means "to judge," or "to decide." There are a number of related words. The noun krima is usually rendered "condemnation" and means "to give judgement against," and thus "to condemn." Another Greek word is kataginosko, and it means "to make a negative moral assessment," and thus, "to blame." Another Greek word is katadikazo, and it means "to pass judgement on." Originally, krino and its associate words indicated simply an "assessment." A person examined a matter and then came to a conclusion about it. By New Testament times, these words had become a part of the legal terminology used to speak of bringing charges, of judging and passing judgment. When used of God, krima (judgement), is understood as "condemnation," for one judged by God is already condemned.
Divine Condemnation In The New Testament
The New Testament reminds us that Jesus did not enter our world to condemn us. He came because humanity was already condemned (John 3:17-18; Romans 5:15-16). Those who fail to respond to God's word are in a state of condemnation already (John 3:36; 12:48). Jesus came to save the world. His success is reflected in assertions such as this: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). Because of Jesus, God's attitude toward believers is not one of condemnation. What God still condemns is the sin and sinners and those who walk after the flesh (Romans 8:1, 3). We who respond to the Gospel message in faith have the assurance that no one can successfully charge us. Jesus "at the right hand of God" also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
Condemning Ourselves And Others
Those who remain outside the circle of God's grace by their refusal to respond to the Gospel (John 3:18; John 5:24) stand condemned; they are under judgement for their sinful actions (Matthew 12:41-42; John 5:29; John12:48). However, we who have trusted in Christ have passed beyond condemnation (Romans 8:1). God views us as being in His Son, and no charge can be lodged against us. Yet, two important truths are taught in the scriptures about believers and condemnation. First, we are to be careful to do what is right so that our consciouses will not condemn us for actions we believe are wrong (Romans 14:22; 1 John 3:20-21). Second, we are not to condemn fellow believers (Romans 14:3). Theologically, condemnation can be avoided by trusting in Jesus and what He did for us at The Cross. He bears our sin and thus removes us from the position of prisoners before the bar of divine justice. Spiritually, we are to recognize the freedom from condemnation that Jesus brings us and learn to live as forgiven men and women. Released from this burden ourselves, we are to bring the Gospel to others so that they may be freed as well.
It Is Christ Who Died
The heading refers to the price – the great, overwhelming, and absolutely paid price – that guarantees our salvation. In other words, when one condemns a fellow believer, one is condemning Christ, the price He paid, and the victory He won. In effect, one is saying that the price paid is not enough, insufficient, or is inadequate, for to condemn the believer is to condemn the price Christ paid.
Penance and Punishment
The question becomes, who would be so foolish as to dare to do such a thing? Of course, Satan would do such a thing, even as we have already said; however, for believers to do such a thing proclaims to all that they have left grace and entered into the flesh or law. In other words, they are saying that the believer simply having faith in Christ and what He did at Calvary is not enough for his sins, but other penalties must be added as well. Whether such people say so or not, they are actually advocating the catholic doctrine of penance. To do a penance is to carry out some task, whatever it may be, which is then supposed to pay for the sin. In fact, the major Pentecostal denominations engage in this foolishness, at least with their preachers. If something is done that is wrong, these preachers are forced to get out of the ministry for two years, or some such period of time, and sometimes forced to move to another city, etc. Also, they are demanded to enter into regular sessions with a psychologist and cannot be accepted again until they are signed off by a psychologist. While they may personally deny that such is penance, but rather punishment, still it all amounts to the same. In the first place, no believer has the right, irrespective of who he may be, to condemn or punish another believer. If that believer has done something wrong and refuses to cease the activity, whatever it might be, fellowship is to be withdrawn, but that is as far as it should go. The Lord has plainly said,"...Vengeance (punishment) is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19). Apostle James asks, "...who art thou that judgest another?" In other words, he is saying, "Who do you think you are, thinking your are qualified to judge someone else?" (James 4:12). He then went on to say that The Lord was the only one Who is qualified to judge.
A Personal Experience
I was speaking to a preacher the other day, and he mentioned to me that a certain Pentecostal denomination did thus and so to their preachers if somebody did something that was wrong. In other words, repentance and ceasing of activity was not enough; they had to be punished for it. I said to him, "Well, that means that what Jesus did at The Cross was not enough, and we have to add something to it." He stood there for a moment saying nothing, and then wheeled around, looked at me for a few moments, and said, "I've never thought of that, but you are right." Once again, it is a condemnation of the price that Jesus paid at The Cross, which was enough. To insinuate that more is needed is a great insult to the plan of God. In the first place, there is no human being in the world that is saved and spirit filled, in whatever place and position they may occupy, who is worthy to condemn or punish another. Anyone who thinks he is, is saying more about himself than God is saying. As well, and which we've already stated, it is an insult to the price that Our Lord has already paid. Some may ask, "Don't we have to show the world that we are hard on sin?" What if God did the same thing? What if every time we failed in some way, God took the position that he had to beat up on us severely to show the world how hard He is on sin? The truth is that The Lord showed how hard He is on sin by giving His only Son to die on The Cross at Calvary. That showed what He thought of sin.
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Yes, Rather, Who Is Risen Again
The resurrection of Christ refers to the ratification of that which He purchased for sinners in His death. The resurrection ratified the fact that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and that God accepted it as such. However, it must ever be understood that The Cross did not depend on the resurrection; the resurrection depended on The Cross. If the sacrifice was accepted, and it definitely was, then the resurrection was a guaranteed fact. If God has accepted the sacrifice of His only Son, and has proven it by raising Him from the dead, which He did, then who are we, or anyone else for that matter, to question such by condemning those who have placed their trust and faith in Him? These are bold statements, and every believer should readily and soberly understand what is being said, and adhere to it very cautiously.
...Who Is Even At The Right Hand Of God...
The heading refers to the exaltation of Christ. When He ascended, He was then given His rightful place at the throne of God. It is at His Father's right hand. This speaks of power and authority. Actually, Jesus said after His resurrection, "...All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). Our faith should rest on Christ's death, but to that must be joined His resurrection and dominion, for without such, His death was to no avail. He as the last Adam purchased back for us what the first Adam lost. As well, we must ever understand that at this very moment He is exalted at the right hand of God and is there for a divine purpose.
...Who Also Makes Intercession For Us
The heading tells us what that purpose is. The intercession He makes is different than the intercession made by The Holy Spirit for us, as we have previously stated. The latter is that of help, while the former is that of guaranteeing our redemption and forgiveness, cleansing, and washing of all sin from our lives. His intercession guarantees not only what He has already done respecting our salvation, but guarantees any future sin to be washed and cleansed, as well, at least upon repentance and confession (1 John 1:9).
Understanding The Intercession of Jesus On Our Behalf
Most believers think their understanding of the intercession provided for us by Christ is correct, that is, if they have thought of it at all. With some that certainly may be true, but with the majority I fear their understanding is inadequate. Actually, when a believer fails and seeks forgiveness, Jesus does not turn to The Father and ask Him to forgive us of whatever infraction that may have been committed. He doesn't have to do that. His very presence at the throne of God, meaning that He has been accepted, meaning that His sacrifice at Calvary's Cross has been accepted, guarantees that forgiveness, and restoration will instantly be granted. Calvary did it all, and for us to think that something must be added, at the same time says that Calvary didn't pay it all. The mere presence of Christ guarantees that His sacrifice was accepted, and guarantees the intercession on our behalf. In a sense, to properly understand Christ's intercession on our behalf, we have to understand it in the same context as that of His death and resurrection. Actually, even as Paul here now makes the case, it is placed in that category, consequently linked together.
Most would hardly understand the Psalms as the explanation of this extremely important subject of intercession, but they are. In some bibles, the words "Messianic psalm" are listed above a psalm, which means that particular psalm refers to Jesus in some way– His life or His mission. By these identification characteristics, it is being said that only these psalms apply to Jesus, while the others apply to other things. But the truth is that all of the psalms, with some few exceptions, refer to Jesus Christ in some way.
What The Psalms Tell Us
The book of Psalms is a volume of prophecy, and its principle predictions concern the perfection, sufferings, and succeeding glories of the Messiah. With God having been dishonored by human unbelief and disobedience, it was necessary that a man should be born who would perfectly love, trust, and serve Him. He would be the true Adam, the true Noah, the true Abraham, the true Moses, the true David, and, actually, the true Israel. God's moral glory demanded that sin should be judged, and that sinners should repent, confess, and forsake sin, and worship and obey Him. Being God, His nature required perfection in these emotions of the heart and will. Such perfection was impossible to fallen man, and it was equally out of his power to provide a sacrifice that would remove his guilt and restore his relationship with God. The psalms reveal Christ as satisfying, in these relationships, all of the divine requirements. In a sense, Jesus declares Himself in thesepsalms to be the sinner, even though He never sinned. He expresses to God the abhorence of sin, accomplished by the repentance and sorrow that man ought to feel and express, but will not and cannot. Similarly, the faith, love, obedience, and worship that man fails to give, Christ renders perfectly. It is all done for us and on our behalf.
As The High Priest Of His People
Thus as the High Priest of His People, Christ, the true Advocate, charges Himself with the guilt of our sins. He declares them to be His own, even though He never sinned, not even one single time. He confesses them, repents of them, and, at the same time, He declares His own sinlessness. Then He atones for them. Actually, Psalm 51 provides the prayer of David for forgiveness, and even more perfectly the intercessory prayer prayed by Christ at the outset, which will stand through the ages. This psalm addresses three things:
Thus, those psalms in which the speaker declares his sinfulness (again, after a fashion, all on our behalf) and, at the same time, His sinlessness – when it's recognized Who the speaker is – they become clear to comprehend. This is the manner of the intercession of Our Lord.
What Most Think
As stated, if most believers think about it at all, they visualize Jesus as turning to The Father and asking Him to forgive them of whatever needs to be forgiven. The Father hears Him and does what He requests. However, that is not the way it happens. When Jesus took our place at Calvary, He actually become a sin offering (Isaiah 53:10). As a result, punishment was loaded on Him, with sin's demands met, which was death, and the curse of the law was then satisfied. Upon faith, the believing sinner is literally in Christ when He died, at least in the mind of God (Romans 6:3-4; 8:1). The same holds for his burial and resurrection. Of course, all of this is spiritual, with none of it being physical, except on the part of Christ. If one is to notice, it continues in the exultation, even as Paul speaks here concerning Jesus at the right hand of God. Paul said, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places..." (Ephesians 2:6). So, as Christ is seated at the right hand of The Father, we are in effect seated with Him and in Him.
However, it does not stop there, but continues in the same manner respecting the failures and sins of believers. Jesus takes these failures and sins, makes them His own, even though He has never sinned, and seeks forgiveness, even though He never failed. As stated, it is all done in the prayer of David respecting Psalm 51. Because Christ has never failed, and thereby was the perfect sacrifice, forgiveness is always automatic, which extends to the believer because we are in Christ. So, Christ's intercession for us is of a far grander magnitude than first thought. It is not merely a request for others, even as important and wonderful as that would be, but in reality it is the taking of our place, even as He has always taken our place.
The Wonder Of It All
When one thinks of this, it is beyond comprehension. It amazes us even as it should amaze us. What a mighty God we serve, and what a wonderful Christ Who has saved us. God's requirements must be satisfied in order that His righteousness not be abrogated. That is not a matter of stubbornness, but rather of necessity. God wants to approach us and us to approach Him, but in a sinful condition on our part, such could not be done. Therefore, He made it possible by becoming a man – the man Christ Jesus. In so doing, He served as the representative man, and for all who will believe, the Savior of all the ages. When one thinks of what Paul is saying here, it humbles one, or certainly should. Why He would love us in this fashion, I think we will never know. Yet we know He does. Even at this very moment, as we read these words, He is making intercession for us. The moment we read them, whatever time of day it is, He will be faithful in continuing this all-important task until one day when we stand before Him, ever precious in His sight. These are many examples in the Psalms of His personal intercession. As He does this (even declaring Himself a sinner) all on our behalf and in our place (even though He has never sinned), because of a lack of understanding of true intercession on the part of many, they do not recognize these psalms as being of Christ, even as all the others. For instance, of all the many psalms that could be chosen, Psalm 51 is perhaps the greatest example. It is the plea of David, but also, and of a far greater significance, it is the prayer of intercession of the Son of David.
Joys are flowing like a river,
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with us forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.
Bringing life and health and gladness,
All around this heavenly guest,
Banished unbelief and sadness,
Changed our weariness to rest.
Like the rain that falls from heaven,
Like the sunlight from the sky,
So The Holy Ghost is given,
Coming on us from on high.
See, a fruitful field is growing,
Blessed fruit of righteousness;
As the streams of life are flowing
In the lonely wilderness.
What a wonderful salvation,
Where we always see His face!
What a perfect habitation,
What a quiet resting place!
Blessed quietness, holy quietness
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea He speaks peace to me,
How the billows cease to roll!
How The Holy Spirit Works