Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.
I. As to the ability of Christ to save — this is considered under two different aspects: as to its extent or range, and as to its intrinsic efficacy. IT EXTENDS TO ALL THOSE WHO COME TO GOD BY HIM. For though the word "all" does not occur in the passage, it is of course implied. The phrase is precisely analogous to our Lord's own words: "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out," which is equivalent to saying, "Every one that cometh to Me shall certainly be received." And this is a source of absolute and unqualified encouragement. For if you wish to come to God at all, how are you to come unless it be by Christ? His interposition as a third person is not the introduction of a harrier that arrests or impedes your approach On the contrary, as it is the aim of this Epistle to show, it is the one thing that makes that approach possible, and prevents it from being vain. For you cannot come to God in Himself just as you are. He is a remote impalpable presence, who retires in proportion as you advance, and who evades and eludes the embrace of the human heart. He may be a bright vision or an awful presence, but He will always remain above and beyond yet, a Being with whom you can have no fellowship, and who renders you no conscious help in the hour of temptation or the article of death. Besides, you are sinful, and the more earnestly' you try to reach Him, the clearer to your own consciousness becomes the gulf between you, and the strength of the power that holds you back. You must either renounce the hope of reaching Got at all, and suffer Him gradually to vanish from your sight; or you must become content with a vague sentiment which will never quicken or sustain the heart, though it may invest your life with a certain measure of mystery and reverence. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Now this definite knowledge of God, which otherwise we lack, and this restraint which is exercised by the power of our sin, is precisely what the intervention of Christ on the one hand provides, and on the other removes. In Him God becomes manifest in such a why as to be present clearly and powerfully to our thoughts. He is no longer an assemblage of qualities such as holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, which we painfully try to group together and cement into some sort of cohesion in our own mind. But in Christ all these receive their highest and purest conceivable expression, and are combined into the unity of a living Person, whose history lives before us in the pages of the Evangelists, and is impressed with an individuality at once most definite, unique, and indelible. Indeed, if you choose, you can know Christ better than those who are nearest to you on earth, and can have a much greater certainty as to His will. Moreover, in Him the mercy of God towards sinners, of which we have otherwise no assurance, workout for itself a perfectly free and unambiguous channel. In His sacrifice the claims of justice are satisfied, and satisfied by a love that willingly submits to the last extremity to achieve its beneficent end. His atonement opens His arms to the whole world, and presents Him in the attitude of an inviting and pitiful Saviour. Not to strike is His hand reached forth, but to help. Not to avenge is His arm uplifted, but to bring salvation, and beckon the weary and heavy laden to His rest. As One who will without fail bring you to God, as One who can forgive all your iniquities, and heal all your diseases, He calls you to Himself. When He cries it is God's mercy that cries, a mercy that is boundless because it rests on a propitiation for the whole world. And if you wish to come to God there is nothing to hinder and everything to help you. Christ does not block the way, but opens it. "I am the door." No one is met with a refusal, for every possible ground of refusal He has Himself abolished. None have failed of salvation because Christ could not save them. No one has come to Him and found that while He could bring every one else to God there was something in his case that baffled His power, or made him an exception to the free and universal offer of His help. But Christ's ability to save not only meets us at the threshold, as it were, of our approach to God, and assures us of its sufficiency to bring us into His fellowship, it also assures us of His power to complete the process which He thus begins. He is able to save to the uttermost. This does not mean to the end of life, or up to the time of the Second Advent, though that is no doubt involved in the words. Nor does it mean that Christ's power extends so far as to reach and include those that have gone even to the farthest verge or extremity of wickedness, for that has already been implied in the words we have just considered. The idea rather is that His power is adequate to secure the perfect salvation of all who come to Him, so that nothing shall be requited mr its completeness which He is unable to supply. And this is the assurance that we need. The smouldering fires of half-extinguished passion flicker up on the slightest provocation and strive to resume their old ascendancy. Evil habits reassert themselves at times, and seem as stubborn and unyielding as they ever were. Subtle currents of envy and malice betray their presence in the most humiliating ways, and a deep-seated pride and s If-righteousness refuses to acknowledge the power of the Cross. Not only so, winds of doctrine carry you about, spectres of doubt start up to trouble you. A dull indifference to Divine things, a sullen reluctance to rise to higher heights of holiness or consecration to God, baffles you and holds you down as with a dead weight. Indeed, there is so much in you that is opposed to God, and that seems to resist the influence and supremacy of grace, a perfect salvation, seems to you an almost impossible consummation. Now the successful issue of the process of salvation depends on what Christ is able to provide and to do. If there is any limit to His power, or any defect attaching to it, there will be a corresponding risk. If in any respect He is incompetent, then you may anticipate disaster. But in Him dwells all the fulness of Divine grace. Everything that we lack and require to have we find in Him and in its infinite perfection,. There is no weakness which He cannot develop into strength, no spiritual emptiness which He cannot fill, no darkness which He cannot enlighten. There are no hindrances so determined that He cannot carry you triumphantly over them, no temptations so insidious or strong but that He can make a way of escape so that you shall be able to bear them.
II. This saving ability of Christ rests upon THE FACT OF HIS EVER LIVING TO MAKE INTERCESSION. In this respect He presents a contrast to the Levitical priesthood. It passed from one to another as death removed the successive occupants of the office. But Christ abideth for ever, and there is no interruption to the continuity of His mediation. At no point does it cease even for a moment so that those He represents can possibly have their interests imperilled. Unbroken, it prolongs itself from age to age, unchanging in its character, and unintermittent in duration. For He is made a priest, not "after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." It is not, then, on the fact of a past atonement, but on the power of a bring Saviour your safety depends. That Christ died would be of no use to us if He were not alive now, and alive, so to speak, more mightily than He ever was before. Other men death removes from their intercourse with the world It brings Their direct influence and agency to an end. But death did not so affect Him. It produced no change in His activity, except to widen its range and intensify its energy. And now the whole of His priestly functions are taken up and absorbed in this one attitude or act of intercession How it proceeds it is difficult for us to say, anti it is not necessary that we should know. But He has left us an illustration in the prayer which He offered in the days of His flesh of how it was accomplished then, "and translating this into the modes of heavenly communion so far as we can imagine them we may perhaps form some conception of its character." Of this at least we are assured — that it embraces and takes into account the whole sum of our necessities, and provides effectually for their supply. Our strongest and most earnest prayers, our confused and importunate petitions, our dumb and mute appeals, when the weight and pressure of life lie too heavily upon us, and we groan being burdened — all receive their pure, articulate, and prevailing expression in Him who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and knows the frailty of our frame. Again, we may gather that the power of Christ's intercession springs from His atonement. This is, so to speak, the basis on which it proceeds, the great argument which makes it conclusive. And what can make it more so? It is true our sins cry out for vengeance, but Christ's blood cries still louder mercy. And its cry continues sustained, penetrating through all obstructions, resistless, clear, never failing to enter into the ears of God.
(C. Moinet, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
WEB: Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.