Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Kingdom Civics

Interceding for the Saints

Our King is an active sovereign, Whose reign and rule we practice on earth, that we may advance His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit unto the reconciling of all things to God.

saintsThe King’s business (3)

Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8.34

Our King is an active sovereign, Whose reign and rule we practice on earth, that we may advance His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit unto the reconciling of all things to God. We have seen that the King’s business involves Him in upholding the cosmos and everything in it – in a manner that is comprehensive, coherent, coordinated, continuous, and conciliating. The creation, therefore, serves the purposes of the divine economy as a reliable stage on which the drama of redemption and restoration unfolds according to the counsel and good pleasure of the Lord (Ps. 119.89-91; Eph. 1.11).

We participate in that work, for it is pleases the Lord’s to deploy us also as His servants, redeemed and renewed, in His excellent work of making all things new. We shall have more to say of this in our next installment in this series.

Before we take up the matter of our own labors in practicing the Kingship of Jesus, it will be of no small comfort and encouragement to us to know that our King intercedes for us as we undertake obedience to Him in every aspect of our lives. While we work at the King’s business here on earth, pursuing the good pleasure of God and the purposes of the divine economy, our King enables and supports our work by His own labor of intercession on our behalf.

Of what does this intercession consist? What kind of work is it? Why is it so necessary for our own labors? These are the questions we will herein pursue. We shall see that the intercessory work our King performs on our behalf is of a four-fold nature, and is mighty to fit and sustain us for our own labors.  The Lord Jesus’ work of intercession on our behalf is continuous, renewing, sanctifying, and complete.

A continuous work of intercession
First, the intercessory work of our King is continuous: “He always lives to make intercession” for His saints (Heb. 7.25). The Lord Jesus reigns in glory, beyond the constraints of space and time. He prays for His people to Almighty God, at all times bringing our names and needs before the throne of grace. Moreover, the Spirit of God aids Him in this work, as He intercedes for us with prayers greater, stronger, and more wondrous than we could ever make for ourselves (Rom. 8.27).

We know that these prayers King Jesus continuously offers on our behalf are in no way impeded, hindered, or interrupted. He prays for us out of a perfect life, through the merits of His own righteousness and saving mercy, and without any concern that His words of intercession for us might go unheard or unheeded because of sin. Thus we may have confidence, in whatever we do, that we are being carried along and sustained in our labors by the prayers of our King, Who ever lives to intercede for us at all times and in all circumstances.

As we practice the presence of Jesus and seek to establish His pre-eminence over all things, we should be greatly emboldened and strengthened to undertake labors beyond what we have ever dared to ask or think, for His power is at work within us and He ever lives to intercede for us (Eph. 3.20).

A renewing work of intercession
Second, the work that King Jesus does in interceding for us is a renewing work of grace. He is our High Priest, perpetually offering Himself and His sacrifice for our sins before the holy God on high (1 Jn. 1.8-2.2). We do not know the half of all our sins. They are more than we could ever count, and they constitute a burden greater than we could hope to bear (Ps. 38.4). Many of our sins are hidden from our eyes; we are so insensitive to them that they never make it to our consciences (Ps. 19.12). Others we seek to keep secret, if it were possible, even from the Lord, but to no avail (Ps. 90.8).

In short, if confessing our sins to the Lord were our sole act of devotion, confessing our sins would be all we ever do, and still we would never complete the task. How comforting and renewing it is, therefore, to know that our eternally-interceding High Priest and King performs this work for us! Of course, we must confess those sins which the searching Spirit brings to mind (Ps. 139.23, 24; Jn. 16.8-11; 1 Jn. 1.8, 9). At the same time, we must confess that we are simply insufficient for this work of confession, so that we may be continually renewed in grace before the throne of grace. Thus we may rejoice as we pursue King Jesus in prayers of confession to know that He is already there ahead of us, interceding for our cleansing and renewal, before the holy and eternal throne of God.

A sanctifying work of intercession
Third, by this work of intercession King Jesus also strives for our sanctification. Paul’s announcement that Jesus is interceding for us (Rom. 8.34) comes at the end of a chapter which culminates the apostle’s discussion of the sanctifying work of the Lord in our lives.

Jesus has established us in grace through His own perfection, sacrifice, resurrection, and session at the right hand of God (Rom. 5.1, 2). He has given us His Spirit in Whom we are now free from the burden of trying to keep the Law unto salvation – a task we could in no way ever successfully fulfill. But that same Spirit now works within us, by the Law of God (Ezek. 36.2, 27), to sanctify and perfect us increasingly before the Lord. The Law in the hands of the Spirit leads us to greater levels of spiritual life, whereas the Law in our own hands, the hands of the flesh, led only to death and rebellion against God (Rom. 8.1-4). As the Spirit works within us, making us willing and able to fulfill the Law of God, and, thus, working out our salvation in sanctification (Phil. 2.12, 13), He also intercedes for us, and His intercessions join with those of King Jesus to ground us in the love of Christ and enable us to grow in glory (Rom. 8.30).

Thus, we should be encouraged in the pursuit of King Jesus and in seeing Him become pre-eminent in our lives by the fact that He intercedes precisely to the ends of making us holy, as He is holy. His intercession for our sanctification should make us ever more diligent in seeking to know His glory and to live for His glory in every area of our lives, for we know that His prayers on our behalf cannot fail.

A complete work of intercession
Finally, the Lord’s work of interceding for us is a complete work: He is able to save “to the uttermost” all those who draw near to Him and for whom He intercedes (Heb. 7.25). The Greek text here is perhaps deliberately vague: Jesus saves always, at all times, completely, and in every way those for whom He intercedes.

The Lord is working hard for the continuing improvement of our salvation. Are we working as hard as He? The psalmist asks, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me?” (Ps. 116.12) He answers his own question by declaring that he will lift up the cup of the Lord’s salvation and quaff it fully, completely, joyously, fulfilling all his vows and living out all his salvation in the presence of God and His people. This must be our attitude as well.

For our King is accomplishing His business on our behalf; we may be confident, comforted, and bold in our own labors because He ever lives to make intercession for us. Knowing that He does, we must be diligent, in our own spheres and ways, to take up the King’s business day by day, practicing the Kingship of Jesus with increasing fervor, joy, faith, and fruitfulness.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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