Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;Hebrews 7:15-16
If God dwells in the heart, and is vitally united to it, He will show that He is a God by the efficacy of His operation. Christ is not in the heart of a saint as in a sepulchre, or as a dead saviour that does nothing; but as in His temple, and as one that is alive from the dead. For in the heart where Christ savingly is, there He lives and exerts Himself after the power of that endless life that He received at His Resurrection.
—Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (pt. iii. ch. XII.).
References.—VII. 14.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. iii. p. 450; ibid. vol. vi. p. 96. VII. 15, 16.—Archbishop Alexander, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 17. VII. 16.—Bishop Boyd-Carpenter, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p. 136. Expositor (5th Series), vol. v. p. 451; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 430. VII. 18.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 111. VII. 20-22.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvii. No. 1597.
His honour, and His great court in heaven, hath not made Him forget His poor friends on earth. In Him ho ours change not manners, and He doth yet desire your company. Take Him for the old Christ, and claim still kindness to Him, and say, 'O it is so; He is not changed, but I am changed'. Nay, it is a part of His unchangeable love, and an article of the new covenant, to keep you that ye cannot dispone Him, nor sell Him. He hath not played fast and loose with us in the covenant of grace, so that we may run from Him at our pleasure. His love hath made the bargain surer than so; for Jesus, as the cautioner, is bound for us.
—Samuel Rutherford, to Lady Kenmure (26th November, 1631).
References.—VII. 22.—F. B. Cowl, Preacher's Magazine, vol. xviii. p. 380. VII. 23.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p. 443. VII. 23-25.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxii. No. 1915.
The name of priest has been desecrated, till the very word, in some degree, carries with it the idea of something either spiritually despotic, or drily ecclesiastical and official; yet what word, what thought is in reality so tender as that of a Man, brought nearer than other men are, at once to man and to God 1 When applied to our Lord Himself, no other of His offices seems to bring and keep Him beside us in so intimate and human a relation as that of His 'unchangeable Priesthood'. 'He is a Priest for ever'; one separate from sinners and undefiled; and yet, through this very separation, drawn into the closest union with Humanity. Christ, when on earth, was upbraided for His freedom and accessibility. 'Behold, this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them;' and yet, like Joseph, the very type of bounty and brotherhood, He is one 'that is separated from His brethren,' drawing their souls after Him, while He withdraws from their presence. The heart desires one who is greater, purer, kinder, freer than itself, one standing aloof from its conscious falseness, its self-confessed littleness; therefore is Christ, because he is lifted up, able to draw all men unto Him; to draw as none other can do, close to Humanity, and to draw it close to Him.
—Dora Greenwell, in Two Friends.
The Power of Christ to Save
We have here a brief but explicit statement, on the one hand, of the ability of Christ to save, and, on the other, of the ground on which that ability rests.
I. As to the ability of Christ to save—this is considered under two different aspects: as to its extent or range, and as to its intrinsic efficacy. (1) It extends to all those who come to God by Him. For though the word 'all' does not occur in the passage, it is of course implied. The phrase is precisely analogous to our Lord's own words: 'Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out,' which is equivalent to saying: 'Every one that cometh to Me shall certainly be received'. No doubt He has power to save even those who neglect or refuse to come. But this thought is not present to the mind of the writer, who is contemplating the completeness of the salvation provided tor those who come to God to obtain it, not the possibilities that are open to those who do not. (2) But Christ's ability to save, not only meets us at the threshold as it were of our approach to God, and assures of its sufficiency to bring us into His fellowship, it also assures us of His power to complete the process which He thus begins. He is able to save to the uttermost. This does not mean to the end of life, or up to the time of the Second Advent, though that is no doubt involved in the words. The idea rather is that His power is adequate to secure the perfect salvation of all who come to Him, so that nothing shall be required for its completeness which He is unable to supply. And this is the assurance that we need. II. But we have still to consider the ground on which this saving ability of Christ rests. (1) It rests upon the fact of His ever living to make intercession. In this respect He presents a contrast to the Levitical priesthood. It passed from one to another as death removed the successive occupants of the office. But Christ abideth for ever, and there is no interruption to the continuity of His mediation. (2) Again, we may gather that the power of Christ's intercession springs from His atonement. This is, so to speak, the basis on which it proceeds, the great argument which makes it conclusive. And what can make it more so? It is true our sins cry out for vengeance, but Christ's blood cries still louder for mercy. And its cry continues sustained, penetrating through all obstructions, resistless, clear, never failing to enter into the ears of God.
—C. Moinet, The Great Alternative and other Sermons, p. 139.
'If the person,' says Guthrie of Fenwick, in The Christian's Great Interest, 'have a heart to come unto Him through Christ, then He is able to save to the uttermost. Yea, it is more provoking before God, not to close with Christ when the offer comes to a man, than all the rest of his transgressions are.'
References.—VII. 25.—C. Perren, Sermon Outlines, p. 327. T. D. Barlow, Rays from the Sun of Righteousness, p. 110. J. Keble, Sermons for Ascension Day to Trinity Sunday, p. 42. T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 86. G. A. Sowter, From Heart to Heart, p. 219. J. Keble, Sermons for Lent to Passiontide, p. 386. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 84. J. Keble, Sermons for Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, p. 421. W. Robertson Nicoll, Sunday Evening, p. 355. VII. 26.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. vii. p. 297; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 423. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Hebrews, p. 10. VII. 27.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvi. No. 2693. VIII. 1, 2.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Hebrews, p. 20.
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
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, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.