Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (7:25)
Here is one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture. Like John 3:16, it contains the whole essence of the gospel. Salvation is the main theme of the entire Bible. Salvation is what the text is all about.
Jesus’ priesthood not only is eternal and unalterable, but is also unlimited in its scope. He saves forever (panteles). Although the meaning in the context of 7:25 can be that of eternal, the basic idea of the word is that of completeness or perfection. The King James translation (“to the uttermost”) is therefore accurate and significant. Jesus’ priesthood is no halfway measure, as were the old sacrifices that only symbolized removal of sin. The symbol was important for that covenant. It was God-given and God-required, but still was only a symbol. But Jesus Christ is able to save both eternally and completely.
We can learn some things about God from nature. Paul recognizes that God’s “eternal power and divine nature,” that is, His greatness and His glory, are evident for every person to see (Rom. 1:18–20). We call such evidence natural revelation. But it is limited revelation. The birds can suggest to us God’s beauty, but they do not sing redemption’s song. The ocean and its pounding waves can suggest God’s greatness and His dependability, but they do not proclaim the gospel. The stars declare the glory of God, but not the way to get to Him. Natural revelation, like the Old Testament sacrifices, is God-given. It is the nature He Himself has made that proclaims His greatness and glory. But we can only learn about salvation from special revelation, from His written Word, the Bible. When people say they can find God on the beach or on the golf course or at the lake, it is a very superficial claim. In nature, we cannot possibly see clearly God’s judgment on sin or His goodness or His grace or His redemption or His Son. In nature we cannot see the need for salvation or the way to salvation. These are only seen with spiritual eyes, through the revelation of His Word.
Within the few words of Hebrews 7:25 we can see salvation’s basis, its nature, its power, its objects, and its security.
the basis of salvation
Hence, of course, refers to what has just been said—namely, that Jesus’ priesthood is permanent, eternal. He can save forever because He exists and ministers forever. The basis of salvation is Jesus Christ’s divine eternality.
the power of salvation
The power of salvation is Christ’s ability—He is able. Other priests were never able to save, not even partially or temporarily. The old sacrifices partially and temporarily covered sin, but they did not even partially or temporarily remove sin. They did not to any degree or for any length of time bring deliverance from sin. But Jesus Christ is able, perfectly able.
A friend of mine had a little boy who, at the age of four, was found to have leukemia. One of our own sons was the same age. When I visited the stricken boy in the hospital, I felt particularly heartbroken and helpless. I had the strongest desire to make him well. I would have done anything in my power to bring that little fellow back to perfect health. I was completely willing, but I was not able to. I did not have the power.
Many, perhaps most, of the priests of the Old Covenant were willing to cleanse the people of sin; but they could not, no matter how strongly they desired it. But our great High Priest is not only willing, He is also able—absolutely able. Praise God for Christ, who is able!
Evangelicals are often criticized for claiming that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. The reason we make this claim is that this is what the Bible teaches. Jesus Himself said “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus not only is able to save, but He is the only One able to save. He is the only One who has the power of salvation (Acts 4:12).
the nature of salvation
The nature of salvation is bringing men near to God. By delivering from sin, it qualifies believers to come to God. Deliverance from sin has all three of the major tenses—past, present, and future. In the past tense, we have been freed from sin’s guilt. In the present tense, we are freed from sin’s power. In the future tense, we shall be freed from sin’s presence. So we can say, “I have been saved,” “I am saved” (or “I am being saved”), and “I shall be saved.” All these statements are true; all are scriptural. Together they represent the full, complete nature of our salvation.
the objects of salvation
The objects of Christ’s eternal salvation, of course, are those who come to Him to be saved, those who draw near to God through Him. There are no restrictions but this, no other qualification but faith in God’s Son. “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). There is no other way but Jesus, but this way is open to every person who puts his trust in Him. The other side of this truth is that Jesus can save only those who come to Him in faith. He is able to save all, but not all will be saved, because not all will believe.
We are tempted to think that when we have presented the gospel, presented the truth of salvation, that our obligation is over. But there must be a response to the gospel for it to be able to save. Parents need continually to remember this fact when teaching their children the things of God. We cannot make them believe or make them obey, but our responsibility is not over until we have urged them as strongly as we know how to trust in the Savior of whom they have heard.
the security of salvation
He always lives to make intercession for us. The security of our salvation is Jesus’ perpetual intercession for us. We can no more keep ourselves saved than we can save ourselves in the first place. But just as Jesus has power to save us, He has power to keep us. Constantly, eternally, perpetually Jesus Christ intercedes for us before His Father. Whenever we sin He says to the Father, “Put that on My account. My sacrifice has already paid for it.” Through Jesus Christ, we are able to “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). In His Son we are now blameless in the Father’s sight. When we are glorified we will be blameless in His presence.
25 It is Jesus’ eternity that makes him the perfect Savior. “Completely” translates the phrase eis to panteles, which can be taken either of degree (“wholly, totally”) or of time (“forever”). In this discussion of mortality and immortality, the latter sense would clearly be appropriate, but since a “total” salvation must be one that is “for all time,” the two senses are not in competition. The nature of that salvation is succinctly summed up in the phrase “come to God through him.” The Christian privilege of entering the presence of God, for which Paul uses the evocative term prosagōgē, “access” (Ro 5:2; Eph 2:18; 3:12), is expressed equally powerfully by our author with the simple term “to come to” God, which recurs in 4:16; 10:1, 22; 11:6 and will be vividly illustrated by the imagery of “coming to” the two mountains in 12:18, 22 (cf. “draw near to God,” v. 19). But just as the OT priests acted as intermediaries for the people, so we too need the services of a priest to introduce us to the divine presence; we come to God “through him.”
As the argument develops, it will become clear that the primary sense in which we come to God “through Jesus” is that he has offered on our behalf the perfect sacrifice. But the priests in the OT had also another function, not so often mentioned—the role of intercession for the people before God (perhaps best exemplified by Moses, Ex 32:11–14, 30–32, but also symbolized in the high priest’s “bearing the names of the sons of Israel over his heart … as a continuing memorial before the Lord,” Ex 28:29), and that role too is fulfilled by our high priest. Whereas his sacrifice was offered once for all, his intercession continues, and that is why we need a high priest who “always lives.” While he was on earth, Jesus prayed for his people (Lk 22:32; Jn 17), and Paul speaks in Romans 8 not only of the Spirit pleading on our behalf but also of Jesus interceding for us at God’s right hand (Ro 8:26, 34; cf. also 1 Jn 2:1). The theme may not be frequently mentioned, but it is a vital source of pastoral assurance and one without which the process of our salvation would be incomplete (cf. 9:24).
7:25 / Because Jesus’ priestly work is not hindered by death, he is able to save completely (or “for all time,” rsv; cf. nasb) those who come to God through him. In view here is the quality of the salvation. By its very nature, what Jesus offers is an “eternal salvation” (cf. 5:9; 9:12; 10:14; 13:20) and a perfect or “complete” salvation, unlike the temporary and the incomplete work of the levitical priests. Because is added by niv, being inferred from the participial clause translated he always lives. The priestly work of Christ depends directly on “the power of an indestructible life” (7:16), and it is that same kind of permanence that determines the character of the salvation experienced by its recipients. They are sustained by the continual intercession of Jesus on their behalf. On this point the author is in agreement with Paul (Rom. 8:34; cf. 1 John 2:1).
His limitless power (7:25a)
It is also possible to translate these words for all time (eis to panteles) as ‘completely’ (niv), ‘fully’, or ‘absolutely’ (neb). The phrase is doubtless a further reference to the far-reaching effects and unlimited adequacy of Christ’s saving work. His power knows no limits and his life knows no end. He is able to save his people fully and completely. Nothing is necessary to supplement their salvation. They are not saved by a little believing plus a little doing. He achieves it absolutely by his victorious work and, moreover, he can save them now. The tense of the verb is of the greatest importance here. It is present tense (sōzein), reminding us, as Westcott says, that ‘support comes at each moment of trial’.
His present ministry (7:25b)
Although this letter has so much to say about Christ’s redemptive work on the cross in the past, ‘once and for all’, it also emphasizes his present work for his people. His saving mission complete, he now supports and sustains us through his intercessory ministry. Day by day and hour by hour Christ prays for us. We ought to pay special attention to this aspect of Christ’s present work, especially in the light of this letter’s Jewish background.
The rabbis maintained that intercession on behalf of people was a ministry entrusted to the angels and especially to Michael the archangel. Here, yet again, Christ is portrayed as one who as priest exercises an intercessory role far superior to the angels in the Jewish tradition. He intercedes for us meaningfully for, unlike the angels, he has first-hand experience of our trials. He intercedes for us compassionately, for, unlike the angels, he knows exactly what we need. He intercedes for us effectively, for, unlike the angels, he has the power to meet our need.
During his earthly ministry Jesus prayed for his friends. The early Christian people rejoiced at the thought that his effective intercessory ministry was not confined to his life on earth; it is continued in heaven.7
7:25. Jesus has a permanent high priesthood. As High Priest he prays always for his people. He pleads the cause of his people. The result of this priestly prayer is the salvation of his people. Because Jesus lives forever, he is able to save forever.
The word completely may mean that Jesus can save with totality or that he can save permanently. Either possibility supplies good meaning, but most commentators feel that here the emphasis is that Christ is able to save people entirely. Anyone who comes to God for salvation must come through Jesus, for salvation comes only through Christ.
25. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
These verses form one lengthy sentence in the Greek text. They convey three basic ideas that can be described in the terms problem (v. 23), person (v. 24), and purpose (v. 25).
- The problem relates to the length of the priest’s term in office. By law, the Aaronic priesthood would “continue for all generations to come” (Exod. 40:15), but in reality the priestly office was temporal. Every priest was subject to death, and therefore a seemingly endless succession of priests emerged. Death determined the extent of the high priest’s service, for death is no respecter of persons. The high priest was powerless in the face of death.
A somewhat literal translation of the first part of this verse reads, “and they that have become priests are many.” The list of names of high priests who served for long or short periods of time is extensive,28 but the concluding comment for every one of them is this: “and he died.”
- Next, the author contrasts the Levitical priesthood with the person of Jesus. What a contrast when we look at Jesus! The priests were many; Jesus is the only priest. Their term of office was limited by death; “Jesus lives forever.” The Aaronic high priest was overcome by death; Jesus conquered death.
The writer of Hebrews has chosen the name Jesus to illuminate the earthly life of our Lord. This name describes his birth, ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. However, Jesus is no longer a citizen of this earth; his residence is in heaven, where he abides forever. Because of his eternity, Jesus’ high priesthood is unchangeable. That is, no one can terminate his priestly office. Death is conquered. And God has sworn an oath that his Son will serve as priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. No one can take Jesus’ place, for he is the one and only high priest.
- What purpose does Jesus’ permanent priesthood serve? In fact, it serves many purposes. First, “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.” Jesus is a Savior who does his work completely, fully, and to perfection. He sets man free from the curse of sin and accomplishes restoration between God and man; through Jesus man is united with his God (John 17:21).
Second, Jesus as eternal high priest lives not for himself, but for the people who look to him for help (2:17–18; 4:14–16). He is their Mediator, truly God and truly man. Without ceasing he pleads for us; standing between God and man, he constantly intercedes for those who come to God in prayer (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24). God grants us everything we need for the furtherance of his name, his kingdom, and his will. He answers our prayers for daily sustenance, remission of sin, and protection from the evil one.
Third, Jesus taught: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The writer of Hebrews repeats this very thought and reminds his readers that prayers to God must be offered in the name of Jesus.
Fourth, knowing that Jesus is always praying for us in heaven, we long to be with him. We have the assurance that as he lives eternally before God so shall we live forever with him. Presently we come to God in prayer, but at the end of our earthly stay he will take us home to be with him eternally.
7:25 Because He lives forever He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him. We generally understand this to refer to His work in saving sinners from the penalty of sin, but actually the writer is speaking of Christ’s work in saving saints from the power of sin. It is not so much His role as Savior as that of High Priest. There is no danger that any believers will be lost. Their eternal security rests on His perpetual intercession for them. He is also able to save them for all time because His present ministry for them at God’s right hand can never be interrupted by death.
7:25 Christ is … able to save because He is fully God and fully human (2:18; 4:15). Since this verse speaks of Jesus’ present intercession for us, the word save in this verse speaks of our sanctification, the continuing process by which we are freed from the power of sin. This continuing process of salvation will eventually be completed in our glorification, when we our saved from the presence of sin. The word uttermost may speak of this glorification, this “complete” or “whole” salvation. come: The Greek verb for come is in the present tense. Therefore, the word indicates that Jesus continues to save those who keep coming to Him. Our justification is a once-for-all event accomplished on the Cross, but our sanctification is a continuing process. Since Christ has a permanent priesthood, He can save to the uttermost (Gk. panteles), a word which means “completely,” or “wholly.” To be saved completely (1 Thess. 5:23), believers must come to God through Christ and Christ must intercede for them. This is the last and greatest of the three great “ables” in the book (2:18; 4:15).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 199–201). Chicago: Moody Press.
 France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 100). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 110). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 135–136). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
 Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 137). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 203–204). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2180). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 1646–1647). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.