Below is a selection from Puritan pastor Thomas Watson’s exposition on Romans 8:28. A friend from church let me come over and take my choice of books a client had given her to give away. I’m grateful to the client and to her, and to the Lord, who put another of Watson’s work in my hands. You can read it online for free here, or buy a copy at Amazon here or directly from the publisher here. -AR
Christ is in heaven, as Aaron with his golden plate upon his forehead, and his precious incense; and He prays for all believers as well as He did for the apostles. “Neither pray I for these alone but for all them that shall believe in me” (John xvii. 20). When a Christian is weak, and can hardly pray for himself, Jesus Christ is praying for him; and He prays for three things.
First, that the saints may be kept from sin (John xvii. 15). ” I pray that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. ” We live in the world as in a pest house; Christ prays that His saints may not be infected with the contagious evil of the times.
Second, for His people’s progress in holiness. ” Sanctify them ” (John xvii. 17). Let them have constant supplies of the Spirit, and be anointed with fresh oil.
Third, for their glorification ” Father, I will that those which thou hast given me, be with me where I am ” (John xvii. 24). Christ is not content till the saints are in His arms. This prayer, which He made on earth, is the copy and pattern of His prayer in heaven. What a comfort is this; when Satan is tempting, Christ is praying! This works for good.
Christ’s prayer takes away the sins of our prayers. As a child says Ambrose, that is willing to present his father with a posy, goes into the garden, and there gathers some flowers and some weeds together, but coming to his mother, she picks out the weeds and binds the flowers, and so it is presented to the father: thus when we have put up our prayers, Christ comes, and picks away the weeds, the sin of our prayer, and presents nothing but flowers to His Father, which are a sweet smelling savour.