How Christ Saves
By Samuel H. Ford, 1889
“But this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.”— Hebrews 7:24, 25.
Christianity is founded upon certain facts: take these away, and it is a myth—it crumbles away. Foremost among these facts is the incarnation of the Son of God. He comes down here into our world, and is God here manifested in the flesh. If you rob us of an incarnate Saviour, our whole Christianity goes for nothing, and we have no Christ, no God; for the only God we have is the God who is manifest in the flesh. Consonant with this fact is the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you rob us of the death of Christ, you take away that which makes faith in him of any value. Among these glorious facts on which our Christianity, salvation, and eternal happiness rest, is the ascension of the Son of God to heaven. He became incarnate that He might take on Him our sins—and having laid them down in death on the cross and in the grave, He took up His life again, and in virtue of His living for ever, gave us, in association with Himself, the power of an endless life. Rob Him of His resurrection, and we have no receipt whereby we may have assurance of the discharge of our sins. Rob Him of His ascension, and we have a Christ who has failed, and who does not go back with an accomplished work into the presence of the God with whom we have to do. These are three great facts—the INCARNATION, DEATH, and ASCENSION of the Son of God, on which the whole of Christianity rests.
Let the infidel meddle successfully with but one of these, and the whole fabric of redemption becomes a heap of ruins around us. It is delightful to look at any one of these pillars and read their inscriptions! Let us look at the “third pillar” on which Christianity rests. Jesus said, “I go to my Father.” In the thirteenth of John we read, “He was come from God, and went to God.” In the fourteenth of John, Jesus said, “I go; ” and again, “If I go, I will come again.” He said to Mary Magdalene, “I am not yet ascended,” implying that He would soon ascend. We are told that “He led them out as far as to Bethany; and He lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to pass while He blessed them, he was carried up into heaven.” The astonished disciples saw him ascend until, having arisen higher and higher in His upward course, there came a cloud by which He was received out of their sight.
We are told, in the seventh of Acts, that the dying martyr [Stephen], as he stood amid the murderous stoning of his enemies said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God”—the ascended one in the very presence of God! Paul the apostle says, in the twelfth of Hebrews, “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He is God’s right-hand man—that is the meaning of it. He is “the power of God.” He is in the place of God's power, set down as His right hand man, “who for the joy that was set before Him”—(redemption, salvation, and an innumerable company that no man can number, glorious triumphs of His blood, armies of the saved forever!)—“endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down.” Look at the power, the calmness, and beauty of it! “And is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Now see what is said of this same Man in the twenty-fourth verse of the seventh chapter: “This Man continueth ever;” and because “He continueth ever,” therefore “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.”
Mark the personal qualities ascribed to this Man; and first, that He is Man. You may wonder how God can be so longsuffering with evil; but at His right hand there is a Man with all the long-suffering, the patience of One “touched with the feeling of our infirmities; Himself, so to speak, one of us. And He is not only a man, but a priestly man. The only method of approach to God is by priesthood. You cannot get to God but through a priest. Throughout heathendom you find this fragment of the vase of divine truth. Even the heathen are trying to get near God by means of priesthood. They have not the whole truth—the whole truth is here. God can be approached only through priesthood, and the priest must be a man, for man had sinned, and man could not go into heaven as he was—a sinner. Hence God the Son comes down and becomes a man; dies, takes His blood, and now as a priestly man goes in before God, and we go in with Him. This is salvation. Christ, a priest, offering his own blood.
The Son of God came down from heaven to die; and that death was enough, as all could see on the resurrection morning. The kingdom of God is not open to the sinner as he is; but it is open to him who is as Christ is. The sinner dare not—cannot—go in before God, unless upon a suitable ground: the ground is the blood that took away the sin, paid the debt and satisfied God's righteousness. It is like a man and his creditors. He wants to meet them in perfect peace, brings the whole sum due, and in virtue of that sum does meet them in perfect peace. The Lord Jesus is an eternal person. How so? He said, “I . . . have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again.” If he had been a mere man, He would have had no power to take up His life again. A mere man has power to take to away his life—that is, he may commit suicide—but he cannot take it up again. But this Man took up His life again on the ground of he being a Son. As Son He had power to take up His life. In Him was “the power of an endless life.” In accepting this great salvation, our sins and iniquities are all passed away with the life laid down; and sin having passed away, He "takes up life—a life without sin—an endless life; and that life is ours. The point in the passage is, that He is able to save completely —from the beginning of our needing salvation, down to the very end.
The thought is this: Aaron was a dying man—one who did not continue. Imagine that just before ascending Mount Hor to die, you had brought your victim, and received present forgiveness through that victim. Aaron must now present the blood. But Aaron has died. Where now is your priest? You . . . must needs find another priest; and so, until you have found one, you are not completely, finally saved. But this man,—our man—“ABIDETH EVER,” Aaron went to the summit of Mount Hor and divested himself of all his “garments of beauty and glory.” Amid that solitude he unrobed himself not only of his office but also of his life; for on that mount he died. But the Lord Jesus abideth for ever. “ Wherefore He is able to save to the uttermost;” not only from the very beginning, but all through to the end. He is always able to give a perfect, a complete salvation; He is able to put away all sin—every sin–even to the uttermost of time. He is able, also, to save to the uttermost of guilt—not only to the very uttermost of time, but to the uttermost of guilt. Therefore let none despair. He is a priest for ever, having His own blood, in virtue of which he is able to “save to the uttermost” of all human crime, to the uttermost of all manner of sins, to the uttermost of all conceivable guilt! If thou art a brand hanging as it were over the very verge of hell, the fires of which are drawing thee to their flames, remember that the blood which “makes the foulest clean” has gone inside the veil, and can “avail for thee”! Satan may say to thee, “You are too vile now to be saved—too old in sin. God will not have you now.” Ah sinner! He can save thee, however sinful; and He is able to save to the uttermost of thy life. Wherefore? Because he is ascended, and accepted; because the blood is ever there.
Oh what a fulcrum, and what a rock on which to plant it! whereby a sinner may be raised from sin to salvation, from self to Christ, from earth to heaven. We come now to notice the subjects of this work. “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost THAT COME unto God by Him.” This truly is beautiful; it is a hopeful word. Now “all” includes everybody. He is able to save all. Not all taken as everybody indiscriminately, but all that come. Am I among the “all” I know I am. How do I know? Because I have come. Do you want to be among the “all”? You say you do, Oh, then come, come “All who come”! Ah, the human heart is a liar; but God cannot lie. This is the word of the living God: “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come.” Do you want to be among them? You say you do. Then come! Do you say, “If I come, can I be saved?” I answer, Yes. How do I know? Because “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come.” Ah, but somebody says, “I am very cold, very dead, and I do not feel my need of Him as I should like to feel it.” It is not said, “He is able to save all that feel, or who feel their need as much as they would like, but what is said is, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come.” Oh then come! For it is to all that “come.” Oh! come to Him now. “Him that cometh,” saith Jesus, “I will in no wise cast out.”
[From Samuel H. Ford, editor, Ford's Christian Repository & Home Circle, Volume 48, pp. 326-329; on-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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