Second, Christ is seated to gather and defend His church. His work in doing so reflects His threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King. As King, He subdues us to Himself by His Word and Spirit, and He subdues His and our enemies, putting them all under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). The kingdoms of this world are the kingdoms of the seated and reigning Christ (Rev. 11:15). As Prophet, He furnishes “his ministers and people with gifts and graces” (WLC 54; Ps. 110:1; Eph. 4:10–12). He teaches through His ministers (Rom. 10:11–17) so that those who hear Him are taught by God (Isa. 54:13; John 6:45). As Priest, He intercedes for His people (Heb. 7:25). The seated Christ stood to receive Stephen to Himself (Acts 7:56). The seated Christ still stands in our place to make sure there is room for us in God’s eternal house (John 14:2). Christ’s three offices converge in His session. He is the King who takes captives and distributes teaching gifts to the church to fulfill His prophetic office. The primary content of this prophetic office is His priestly work, culminating in His death on the cross (1 Cor. 2:1–5).
Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand to secure a place for us in heaven. Do we seek our exaltation in His exaltation, and do we find our safety in His defense? We can no more lose a seat at the Father’s table than Christ can lose His seat at the Father’s side.
How Is Christ Exalted in His Intercession?
Christ is exalted by His intercession both by who He is and by what He does. While we use words when we intercede for others in prayer, Christ needs none. He appears “in our nature continually before the Father in heaven” (Heb. 9:12, 24). The same human nature that fell from God by sin is seated at God’s right hand in righteousness. His session is the primary part of His intercession, because He sits at God’s right hand “in the merit of His obedience and sacrifice on earth” and by “declaring His will to have it applied to all believers” (John 17:17). The Father does not need persuasion through Christ’s intercession. He sent His Son in the place of His elect, and He sees the elect complete in the finished work of His Son (Col. 2:10), who is always in His presence.
Christ’s intercession secures our place before God in heaven. We do not know whether Jesus uses words or not in His intercession, but we do know many glorious effects of His intercession. He intercedes for us by “answering all accusations against” us (Zech. 3:2). These accusations do not come from the Father. Christ’s intercession is not a cosmic wrestling match between the Son, who defends us, and the Father, who keeps trying to get His hands on us. The whole Trinity is united in planning, purchasing, and applying our redemption. Christ puts down all external accusations against His people by casting Satan out of his place, who “accused them before God day and night” (Rev. 12:10). Who can bring a charge against God’s elect if Christ’s intercedes for them (Rom. 8:33–34)? If God is for us, then who can be against us?
Christ’s intercession stops all internal accusations against us by procuring everything that we need for salvation. As a result, He brings us “quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings” (Rom. 5:1–2). In spite of indwelling sin, we can come to God with full assurance of faith, “with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22). This is because He gives us “confidence [to] draw near to the throne of grace” (4:16), where we can find grace for the forgiveness for sins and the power for subduing sin.
Christ intercedes for us so that God accepts our service as well as our persons (1 Peter 2:5). God not only accepts our persons as a reconciled Judge, but He accepts our service as a loving Father. He is the God of adoption as well as the God of justification and sanctification. Is it not remarkable that with so many faults tainting even our best works, Christ will say one day, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matt. 25:21)? Is it any surprise that we will say, “Lord, when did we do these things” (25:37)? God ignores the dross in our works and sees the pure silver of Spirit-wrought righteousness because Christ intercedes for us.