Point of Reference
by Fred Price
This, for me, is one of the Bible’s more reassuring promises. It is found in one of John’s pastoral letters in which he extensively discusses God’s love for us. (1 John 2) He also discusses – in detail – God’s revelation in Christ and the necessity of our journey throughout life in light of that revelation. (1 John 1)
In the scripture immediately preceding that used as the title for this article, John asserts that our past sinfulness as well as our present inclination to sin is covered by God’s promise of salvation, redemption and sanctification; if we confess our sin in repentance and turn from it to a new life in Christ. (1 John 1:5-10)
In John 2:1 then, John refers to his contemporary believers – and us – as dear children, stating that the purpose of his letter is to ensure that, “…you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (Which certainly doesn’t excuse willfulness and continued sin that God must now automatically overlook – see Acts 17:30; Hebrews 10:26-29 & Romans 6:1-7 & 15-18)
Even more reassuring is the fact that this is not the only instance where we are told how grace and mercy take the form of intercession on our behalf. Job exclaiming way back when that, “…my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend …on behalf of a man he pleads as a man pleads for his friend.” Job 16:20 Referring to a God who, knowing the falsehood of the accusations made by Job’s other “friends”, defended Job even as He refused to explain himself to the satisfaction of everyone else involved. The significant characteristic used in this instance to describe God being an attribute of Christ as well, specifically as intercessor and friend. (John 15:14) Paul later asserting that, “…there is one God and mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus (who earned that right and opportunity when He) gave himself as a ransom for all men…” 1 Timothy 2:5 As “Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34 Furthermore, “…because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood… (and) is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (See also Hebrews 9:24)
The significance of intercession is that Jesus stands between us and God, filtering out the appearance and reality of sin – God viewing us through Jesus, seeing His perfection rather than our imperfection. (That’s the way I envision it anyway.) Jesus initially accomplishing this through his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, and then continuing to make intercession to God on our behalf – mediating a settlement between us and the Father and then intervening on our behalf as the need arises. This added benefit being necessary because of the numerous times we experience confusing or troubling times when we, “…do not (even) know what we ought to pray for (let alone do), but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26,27 The Spirit of Christ continuing to minister on our behalf by petitioning the throne of God; representing us – speaking for us – in those times when we are beyond words in grief, confusion, sorrow, rejection and finally repentance.
But it doesn’t end there, as we are instructed to consciously, “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions…” Ephesians 6:18 Sharing in this intercessory ministry so that, “…requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone … (which) is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1,3 & 4
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Fred Price - married (48 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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