ON TO INTERCESSION
Now when we come consciously into this third level, the Spirit all the more consumes us with the desire to bring others to the liberation which is now ours - not only in the new birth, but in the fullness of the Spirit-filled life, with Christ in us as us. Not one of us can be in this union life without this desire being - even if manifested in a hundred different ways - the only basic aim we have. We are bondslaves. The zeal of God’s house eats us up. Our love of Christ, as Jesus said to Peter, takes the ceaseless form (as God brings folks to us or we go to them) of feeding His lambs and feeding His sheep. We become a fiddle with one string. Christ is our main topic of conversation. In place of sharing the scandals of life, we are thrilled to share what we see of Christ leading captivity captive. We are scandal-mongers of a different type!
But just as in our inner faith-activities - in the outflowing of the Spirit through our spirit - we move on from the normal faith-level of all God’s redeemed people to the total use of faith in the management of all life, so now in the Spirit’s use of our body.
This body use we speak of by the Bible word "intercessor." Nothing can be tied down to a word, but "intercessor" does conveniently explain what the Bible tells us of the Spirit’s action through our body. It is really the Spirit making full use of His body temples, precisely as He did of the human body temple of God’s own Son, who "through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot unto God." We see that the final glory of being a person is the saving of others at the price of ourself. It is as with Jesus: "He saved others; Himself He cannot save" was how they mocked Him as He hung on that cross.
So we are now reaching the final and highest point in God’s world-purposes through His family of sons - those who respond to His call to be intercessors. This is Paul’s "pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
The body is the localized individual means by which the Spirit reaches out through us. By our human spirits He can reach out universally and can encompass everything - by faith unlimited. By our bodies He can do only one specific thing, and a different one by each particular body. So this is His highest personalized activity for us, and the highest for each of us. It was said by Jesus, "A body hast Thou prepared Me"; and by this one special body-commitment the Son said to the Father, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." In this world of body people it was only by His body that "we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus once for all." By that one offering "He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:5, 7, 14).
We see that the final glory of being a person is the saving of others at the price of ourself. It is as with Jesus: "He saved others; Himself He cannot save" was how they mocked Him as He hung on that cross.
Therefore it is only by our bodies that God can fulfill His saving purpose in this body world. Let us have this plainly understood. Our service to Christ is only fulfilled by some body action of ours - by body dedication. Only by this means does redemption reach the multimillion bodies of our human brotherhood. There still is for us a body death and body involvement by which God’s saving purposes are fulfilled, as by His own Son’s body. This is intercession.
This is a far cry from the loose way in which we Christians continually talk of intercession in terms of intercessory prayer. Intercession is the whole mountain of which prayer is one peak. There are only one or two places in Scripture where the word intercession is linked just to prayer. So let us lift it out and put it in its full perspective, and see that we ourselves accept our highest privilege as intercessors, who are also saying "A body hast Thou prepared me.... Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God"; and each in his unique calling into intercession.
Intercession is revealed in the Bible as God looking for special men by whom He will give some special deliverance. In Isaiah 59:16, God wonders that there is no man, no intercessor, among Israel in its backslidden condition; and then the prophet leaps on from Israel’s failure to have the-man-for-that-moment to speak of the-Man-for-the-whole-of-history: "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion… [for] My Spirit is upon thee" (59:20-21).
So we see the intercessor is the Spirit Himself through His chosen bodies. And the way of intercession is "death" in the soul and body of the human intercessor that others might live. Of Jesus it was said: "He hath poured out His soul unto death... and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12).
And that means a completed task. "It is finished"; and when finished, the intercession is gained and the fruit of it appears. It was said of the ascended Jesus, "Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). That was the completed intercession of the great High Priest.
So it is the calling still today of us as priest-intercessors to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His body’s sake. It is the law of harvest: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." If a corn of wheat remains comfortably in its bin, it feeds no one. If it is sown into the ground, wrought upon by rain, snow, and frost, it disintegrates, but reappears as food for the world. That is the general body principle of intercession, just as we saw a general spirit principle of faith.
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