The following is a short clip from a sermon on Hebrews 7:25, about the ongoing intercession of Christ on our behalf. In it, John Piper reminds us of our greatest problem, and our greatest hope.
From what am I being saved? Now the reason I start with this is because in our culture, which is increasingly a post-Christian culture, you can’t assume that the word saved — “Are you saved?” — means anything to anybody, or that the word salvation means anything. They might fill those words up with meaning totally contrary to the Bible. And so we have to get, at least, our heads and our hearts straight on this matter of what we are being saved from.
Why Christ Intercedes
Now let me pose the question for you. Don’t jump around to other parts of the Bible. Just stay right here with this verse. If I say that my ongoing salvation depends on Christ’s ongoing intercessory work for me with the Father, what do I need saving from? The Father — God, else I would not need an intercessor. Intercessors interpose themselves to help fix something that isn’t right, or to keep something fixed that is fixed. The big issue is God’s wrath.
Now let’s just get this real clear and real straight, because I have the feeling we live in such a kind of touchy-feely day, that Christianity is being so psychologized and so therapeutized that we really do believe the Bible was written for our mental health; it wasn’t. It was written to help us get right with a wrathful God. God is one great massive fire of holiness. He hates sin, and cannot abide it. We are little ant-like cinders of sin. And if we got within ten trillion miles of this God, we would be consumed.
Our Greatest Problem
The problem in the universe is not our fragile marriages. The problem in the universe is not my failing health. The problem in the universe is not my wayward children. The problem in the universe is not the conflicts at work. The problem that the Bible was written to deal with is: I have no hope of drawing near to God without being consumed, because I am a sinner. And unless there is some kind of priest who can wrap me round with all he is, and take me into the center of this fire, there is no hope for me at all. That is what the Bible is about.
Now there are some spin-offs for our mental health and our marriages and our kids and our jobs, but those are just spin-offs, folks. And if everything went wrong and this got right, you would leap for joy forever and ever and ever, because God is the main issue. Life is very short. Sin is very horrid. Salvation is so needed.