SO -- what does it mean that Jesus is "able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25)?
Many think it's a great verse for eternal security (I used to, too!), suggesting that, by constantly interceding for His saved ones before the Father, Christ absolutely ensures that every born-again child of God WILL, without fail, finally reach Heaven's shores.
But that would mean something additional is needed after Christ shed His blood for six hours on the Cross, loudly cried out, TETELESTAI ("it is finished") and "gave up the ghost" (John 19:30).
Either He completed the task on Calvary's cross, or He didn't. Either His shed blood paid the price of our redemption IN FULL, or something more was needed to supplement that payment.
Either He meant what He said when He cried out, "it is FINISHED," or what He really meant to say was, "we've only just begun."
‘Cause if Christ’s ongoing intercession is needed to get us into Heaven, that means the blood He shed on the Cross simply was not enough; it did not complete the task, it did not get the job done.
But certainly, one of the clearest, most emphasized themes throughout Hebrews is that our Lord finished FOREVER the work of our eternal redemption through His ONE TIME offering at Calvary (1:3; 7: 27; 9:12, 26, 28; 10:10, 14).
In fact, at a climactic point in the epistle, the writer of Hebrews uses the exact word Christ shouted in victory from the Cross (TETELESTAI) to describe the perfected state of every believer who has trusted in Christ and that finished work: "For by one offering he hath TETELESTAI-ed forever" the ones He has ”sanctified” (set apart as His own and made saints - Hebrews 10:14).
Let me tell you, when the Eternal Son of God shouts out, "IT'S FINISHED!”, well, you just can’t get any more FINISHED than that! (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
The Greek expression translated "to the uttermost" is eis to pantelos.
Besides Hebrews 7:25, you can only find it in one other passage in the New Testament -- Luke 13:11. There, the beloved physician, Dr. Luke, is describing a woman who "had an infirmity for eighteen years" that left her unable to straighten up. "She could in no wise lift herself up UNTO COMPLETION," is what it literally means. Apparently she was so bent she was only able to achieve a bowed down position no matter how she might try to stand up straight.
But Jesus healed her, and she was able to straighten up once again “to the uttermost.”
Likewise, the ”save to the uttermost" of Hebrews 7:25 is a saving "unto completion,” or, all the way to the very end.
Hebrews 7:25 is telling us the Lord is able to "save" TO THE VERY FINISH them "that come unto God by Him, because the particular salvation he has in view here is NOT yet finished for each of us!
But the work of our redemption has BEEN finished by the great Finisher, Himself!
What is it that is NOT finished for us as long as we still roam the earth, that is also repeatedly emphasized through the whole epistle?
Our pilgrim journey through this present wilderness. Will we finish well?
The name, “Hebrews,” actually means those who are “strangers, sojourners, wanderers, pilgrims.”
There is a GOAL in view, and it will not be ours for certain until we can say, with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
WHOM does He "save to the uttermost?" Those who "come unto God by Him." The Greek word here is proserchomai, which describes a "drawing near." The word is used several times in Hebrews. The last time it was used before this was Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
The "draw near" here in 7:25 ought to bring that earlier “draw near” readily to mind. I believe they are the same. Those who "come unto God by Him" in 7:25 are those who boldly avail themselves of His "throne of Grace" as instructed in 4:16.
Neither "drawing near" is for the purpose of personal salvation from sin, but that we might live and finish our course as OVERCOMERS, instead of being overcome, as we "run the race that is set before us."
J. Dwight Pentecost says, "Here the author is not referring to the salvation of sinners from judgment and death, but rather using the words "to save" in the sense of "to bring to God's desired end."
Hamilton Smith says, "He is able to save to the uttermost point of our wilderness journey; while through Him we can approach to God while on that journey. He can save us from every enemy, bring us to God, and intercede for us in all our infirmities."
Philip Mauro says, "what these words signify is to save the people of God through all the temptations and hindrances of this world, and to bring them into the blessing and glory of "the world to come" (by which is meant the Messianic Kingdom). Rotherham renders it, "Save TO THE VERY END." Thus we are reminded of God's great purpose to "bring many sons unto glory," and that it is through the work of the Son of God as a High Priest forever that this is being accomplished."
Franz Delitzsch wrote: "Christ is able to save in every way, in all respects, unto the uttermost; so that every want and need, in all its breadth and depth, is utterly done away."
J. Paul Tanner says, "For those Christians who rely on Christ's priestly role and intercession for them, they find that He is able to carry them completely through all trials and difficulties to arrive at their eschatological salvation, qualified to enter "the greater rest."
The "eschatological salvation" and "greater rest" Tanner is referring to, once again, is not eternity in Heaven, but the great inheritance of reigning with Christ in the Messianic Kingdom (II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 5:10).