Righteousness and Intercession

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J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)

As to the righteousness of God and intercession, the righteousness stands thus: the Glory of God is fully revealed in the face of Jesus Christ - there is no veil now; We have to walk in light as He is in the light. In a word all the glory is revealed and all must be according to its requirements. We are in His presence or out of it. Hence, when we speak of sin, we say, "We have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

It is then according to the nature, fully revealed character of this glory, we have to stand before God. But Christ on the Cross has not only acted consistently with it, as His life even could not do (because He was not yet made sin) though perfectly consistent with it as life, but this glory was there made good. All that God was in glory was made good in a way that would have had no place if sin had not been there - it was in that it was brought out. "Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us."

So the divine Majesty was shown - "It became him for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" "though he were Son." Nothing could show the irrecusable requirements of His Majesty, as the sufferings of the Son when He took this place. So of His righteous nature, and judgment against sin; the Cross gives rise to the same thought. It is made good, as it could nowhere else be. So His truth. "The wages of sin is death." All that God is morally, and note, all there in respect of sin, so as if sin had not been there, they could not have been displayed and glorified, and the Son as Man made sin to this effect. Hence we read, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him." This very glory of God is made good - realised in that which brings us to Him. And now we behold with open, i.e., with unveiled face, the glory of the Lord - Man sitting at the right hand of God - God's righteousness displayed in it. And we, so to speak, it being done for us, and we being in Him, are the making good of the glory of God in righteousness. The sin was the only part we, as our part, had in it; but this, as we have seen, was needed to display it in all its own glory.

We stand in the Universe those in whom the glory and righteousness of God are displayed. So actually the glory given to Jesus will be given to us, and when He appears, we shall appear with Him in glory.

303 Now the intercession of Christ is founded on this being our place. We stand before the glory, in righteousness, in and through Him we are it. But our hearts have to be brought into association with this, in communion. For this Christ, who is that eternal life which was with the Father, is our life, and there is a nature, i.e., we are capable of enjoyment, for we have derivatively the nature, as we have before God the righteousness which is to be enjoyed in love. But we fail. "If any man sin" - now Jesus Christ the righteous is our Advocate according to the excellency of that which places us in that communion. And the soul is exercised by grace and love, in grief as to that which ought to have been joy. But the same affections are in play about the same object - first, as sense of loss and pain, but bringing to the sense of the blessedness of what we have got out of communion with, and attaching us to it intelligently as precious. What led us away was really not valuing it, estimating it, i.e., that into which we were brought we were lightly separated from, not feeling the loss or the value in possessing it, but when separated as to condition of soul, our springs of joy are dried up in the new nature. What has made us lose it is purged, and the same affections are brought into play in grief which ought to have been in joy of communion. When the soul is brought to this, i.e., purified from what made it light about it, and communion valued, it is restored with increased fixedness and capacity of communion.

But what grace is this which has brought us to God Himself! I here only note that the advocacy is exercised according to the perfection of divine communion into which we are brought. So even of priesthood, "Such a high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens."

The same truth is brought out as to our future condition and present realisation of it, in Jude: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." So in 1 Peter: "In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Again what is very immediately in connection with this - Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. All He was involved this resurrection. It was His glory to do it, as Christ had glorified Him, or rather His glory did it - was made good and displayed in it.

304 Now we have to connect the heavenly character of Christ's priesthood with its care of our earthly state, of which it takes account. The way of this in Hebrews is evident - not as the Jewish priests compassed with infirmity while priests, but "tempted in all points like as we are" on earth, sin excepted, and perfect in heavenly glory when exercised on high where He is. But we are connected with both. Such a High Priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens, but withal One that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, as passing through this world of sin and trial. But this shows in a wonderful way our place - "For such a High Priest became us." We are called to association with what is undefiled and higher than the heavens, and yet experience a care which applies to infirmities, weakness and need.

But this, as association, calls up into heavenly things, and identifies us spiritually with them, but at the same time morally with every heart-exercise in which, while it brings us into dependence, the deepest and fullest sympathies are woven into our hearts in One who has been and who is divine in His love and human in His sorrows, and touched with the feeling of our infirmities, in a grace which knows them and was perfect in them.

It is a great thing to have the heart met where it is, and to be taken from where it is to brighter and better scenes where He is who perfectly knows both, but belongs to the highest though He has descended to the lowest for our sakes. And that makes it all sweetness in the sorrows, and yet our hope and life where all is bright in the holiness of God, and the love is found which has been the source of all the grace.

How infinite, how perfect on every side is the grace, not one element wanting up to God Himself, and Him we call our Father!

Note, there are three ways in which the priesthood of Christ is presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews. First, in His sympathy with those He is not ashamed to call His brethren as in chapters 2 and 4; then as that on which the whole religious system depends; thirdly as representing the people - not so much a priestly act but as the High Priest represented the people on the day of atonement, and this introduces the sacrifices.

305 There is however this difference between chapters 2 and 4 as to the priesthood; chapter 2 while showing Christ made higher than the heavens, insists on His being made like unto His brethren - truly a Man in flesh and blood so as to feel as a man for the saints in their trial. Chapter 4 on the other hand specially looks at Him as gone up on high, a High Priest who has gone up through the heavens, and speaks only of "was" as to His suffering being tempted. This was needed to give the place and exercise of His priesthood, the former (chapter 2) to show how He came down, and was Man to be qualified for it. In chapter 5 as in chapter 4 it is the exalted place in priesthood, only again He had, in the days of His flesh, passed through the trial so as to pass thence, fitted in compassion, into the place of its exercise.