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Jesus Christ is the Author of Salvation
Where will you spend eternity? You were born to live forever, and spend eternity in heaven or in hell.
The great letter to the Hebrew Christians began with one of the most glorious Christologies in the Bible. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the promised son of David, the sovereign whom angels worship as Yahweh, the Messiah, the Creator, the eternal King who rules over all His enemies, etc. Because He is the eternal Son of God seated in glory "we must pay much closer attention" to what He has said and done on our behalf. He is the anchor of our soul. We must be careful not to drift away from our mooring. The warning in Hebrews 2:1-4 is against neglecting, not rejecting, salvation. The writer assumes all his readers are in fact born again, regenerated by the Holy Spirit. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Heb. 2:3). He does not specify the punishment, but it definitely is not loss of eternal life or salvation because other passages of Scripture are clear that we cannot lose our salvation. We have eternal life from the moment we are born spiritually (John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:31-39; Eph. 1:11-14; Phil. 1:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 5:11-13). How could one possibly lose eternal life? You either have it or you do not.
Chapter two begins with the first of five warnings (Heb. 2:1-4; 3:1-4:16; 5:11-6:20; 10:19-39; 12:1-29). It is a strong warning not to drift. Every born again believer will take this admonition seriously. One of the greatest dangers Christians face is to lose interest in the basics in the Christian life. We need to constantly encourage one another to remain steadfast at every stage of spiritual growth. It is easy to become discouraged and drift. We must keep our focus upon Christ!
Hebrews 2:5-18 gives eight reasons for the incarnation of the Son of God. He fulfills God's eternal purpose for man (vv. 5-9), tasted death for everyone (v. 9), brings many sons to glory (vv. 10-13), destroyed death and the devil (v. 14), delivered us from bondage (v. 15), became merciful and faithful high priest (vv. 16-17), made propitiation for sins (v. 17) and provided help for those who are tempted (v. 18). John Calvin said, Christ "put on our nature in order to submit Himself to the state of death: for God could not undergo death." Thomas Aquinas said, the Son "assumed a nature in which He could suffer and die, which He could not do in the divine nature."
Jesus Christ rules the world (v. 5)
Everything is subject to the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. Nothing, not even angels, are outside His control. "For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking" (Hebrews 2:5).
Angels have certain delegated responsibilities in the administration of the world today (Daniel 10:13, 20-21). They are sent out as God's emissaries (Heb. 1:7). They will be administrators of divine judgment upon the world (Rev. 8, 9). However, this is temporary. Believers, not angels, are described as reigning with Christ (Rev. 20:6).
"The world to come" refers to the coming age, when Christ returns and will establish His rule. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). There is coming the day when the future reign of Christ over the messianic kingdom when all His enemies will be finally brought into submission. God is in final control of the creation.
The angels are not the rulers of the world; everything is subject to Christ. Here is another argument by the author to demonstrate that Christ is greater than the angels. Therefore, do not neglect your great salvation. Christ rules the world to come. He will rule on the earth and sit on David's throne.
To whom has He subjected all things? (vv. 6-8)
It is not to the angels. It is man who is created in the image of God who is appointed to be the ruler over His creation. But the questions remains, who is this man when it says, "You have put all things in subjection under His feet"? Is it man in general or is it Christ?
"But one has testified somewhere, saying, 'What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet.' For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him" (Hebrews 2:6-8).
I love the way the author of Hebrews quotes Scriptures, even though he drives modern scholars nuts. "But one has testified somewhere," and he knows exactly where even as he quotes it from the Greek Septuagint (LXX). He is not concerned to quote the precise identification of his source. He has the conviction of the full inspiration and authority of the Word of God. He is like Billy Graham who often introduces His Scriptures by simply saying, "The Bible says . . . ." For the author it is God who is speaking. The first readers were well acquainted with the Old Testament in the Greek translation. It was their "Bible."
It is obvious sinful man has never exercised dominion over all creation. He is not in control of the fish, birds animals. He has not fulfilled the command of God to Adam. Look at the headlines on any given day and it is clear man cannot even control himself.
It is safe to assume when we interpret an Old Testament passage quoted in the New that the New Testament writers built on the Old Testament meaning. What was the understanding of these passages by the author of Hebrews?
The writer is quoting Psalm 8:4-6 and interprets it as Messianic. The New Testament repeatedly treats this great Psalm as Messianic and applies it to Christ. We know from Daniel 7:13-14 that the title "Son of Man" is Messianic. Jesus was temporarily lower than the angels during His incarnate life. But He returned to heaven with authority and power. Jesus Christ is God's ideal man. He was the only perfect man. Sin and disobedience came through one man, Adam, but "the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:15). The ideal Man accomplished what sinful disobedient man could never do. What sinful disobedient depraved man lost in the Fall, the man Jesus Christ has achieved.
Evidences of that can be seen in events in His life. I have
lived through a few hurricanes in my life. I have never been able to calm one of
them down. Jesus was in the boat one night with His disciples and "there arose a
great storm in the sea, so that the boat
was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. And they came to
Him, and awoke Him , saying, 'Save us, Lord; we are perishing!' And he said to
them, 'Why are you timid, you men of
little faith?' Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became
perfectly calm. And the men marveled, saying, 'What kind of a man is this, that
even the winds and the sea obey Him?'" (Matt. 8: 24-27).
When they came to
Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels, but after that humiliation God "crowned Him with glory and honor." The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:6-8 tells us about the extreme humiliation of Christ, "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." And when God raised Him from the dead "highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name." "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:11). He is greater, more highly exalted than what every name comes to your mind. The writer of Hebrews quotes this Messianic psalm and declared, "Thou hast made Him for a little while lower than the angels; thou hast crowned Him with honor and glory, and hast appointed Him over the works of Thy hands; Thou has put all things in subjection under His feet." In 1 Corinthians 15:27 the apostle Paul wrote, "For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25).
The psalmist looked forward to the future and saw its culmination in the person and work of Jesus the Anointed of Yahweh. Everything is moving to that day when Christ returns.
Everything is not subjected to man now. Psalm 8 is not fulfilled in man now. Man is still subject to death. All men die. The answer is seen in that Christ died for men and rose from the dead.
Jesus is not now glorified on earth, but we do see Him through the eyes of faith glorified in heaven. God has glorified Him in heaven because "He sat down at the right hand of Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3; cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-28). We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. That is a theme that is repeated throughout Hebrews. It is always first the cross and then the crown of glory. It is because of His suffering and death that Jesus is now crowned with glory and honor.
"But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings" (Hebrews 2:9-10).
The word "taste" is a common metaphor meaning to experience something. Jesus experienced death in the fullest sense for "everyone" (pantos). God's purpose in the incarnation of Christ was that He might suffer death for sinful man. "To taste death" is a striking expression of the hard and painful reality of dying. "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). His atoning sacrifice is sufficient for all who will call upon Him and be saved. "Whosoever will may come." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved . . ." (Acts 16:31). This is the constant plea of the evangelical Christian.
The author of our salvation is Jesus Christ. The word "Author" (archegos) or Leader, Prince, Pioneer, Pathfinder, Captain signifies one who takes the lead or is the source or first cause of something. It is related to the ideas of beginning, cause, rule and authority. Jewish religious leaders "put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses" (Acts 3:15). In Acts 5:31 Jesus is the Prince and Savior. Jesus is the source of our great salvation.
How could the author of our salvation be made perfect? Later the author will emphasize the incarnation of Jesus and His learning obedience. A. T. Robertson notes it is "by means of sufferings"that God perfected His Son in His human life and death for His task as Redeemer and Savior. One cannot know human life without living it. There was no moral imperfection in Jesus, but He lived His human life in order to be able to be a sympathizing and effective leader in the work of salvation. Jesus was already the sinless, blameless Lamb of God. "To perfect the author of their salvation through suffering" places the emphasis on the fact that Jesus removed the sins of His people from the presence of God. The perfection of Jesus places the emphasis on the work of salvation He accomplished.
Psalm eight can only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus has passed through weakness and death and is crowned with glory and honor. "He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3). Even His enemies are a footrest for His feet! (v. 13) The book of Hebrews presents the glory of Christ as the sequel to His suffering and death. It is the progressive unfolding of one grand event that God may be glorified in Christ atoning sacrifice for sinful men.
The blood of Jesus Christ covers all our sins for all eternity. Jesus has paid the penalty in full, and that fact can never be changed. His blood wipes away all evidence of sin. He has covered them all in His atoning sacrifice on the cross. "He made purification of sins" (Heb. 1:3). There is now no evidence that can ever be brought against me. "By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). We are perfected before God for all eternity. That is unchangeable. "Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17). Don't miss those beautiful words--"to make propitiation for the sins of the people." The wrath of God has forever been turned away because of His death on our behalf. He bore our wrath, our punishment. It was all vented against Him.
In contrast to the suffering and dying, the bringing of many sons into glory is the eternal purpose of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.
Christ is crowned with glory and honor over all creation. He was the first man to be restored to the magnificent destiny pictured in Palm eight. He is bringing many sons to the glory pictured in this majestic psalm. We will experience that same fulfillment because of what Christ has done for us. Because of our vital union with Christ we experience His glorified life. It is only in vital union with Christ that man can possibly become man as God meant and created him to be. What has happened to Him will happen to us. We share in that same resurrected life. All Christians will ultimately reach the goal of Psalm 8 because of our vital union with Christ.
There is a great glorious future awaiting the believer when Christ returns. We enjoy the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, but there is more we will inherit in the future. We are destined for something unspeakably great because of our relationship with Christ. What we see in Christ will one day be ours because we are in Him.
All of "His sons," believers in Jesus Christ, will experience glorification.
Do not neglect your great salvation because you will reign with Christ in glory forever.
Christ is the Author, the Forerunner of our salvation. He suffered and died in our place. He rose from the dead and entered into glory. He did this so that He might "lead many sons to glory." We are destined for glory with Christ through the incarnation, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification of Jesus Christ. We have the assurance of this great promise will be fulfilled for us because it has already been fulfilled in Christ. He "tasted death for us" so that he could "lead us to glory."
"For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.' And again, 'I will put My trust in Him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me' (Hebrews 2:11-13).
From the introduction of Jesus in the Gospels we see Him as
His custom attending synagogue on the Sabbath and going to the
The author of Hebrews uses three Old Testament quotations to demonstrate the identification of Christ with believers (Psa. 22:22; Isaiah 8:17-18). The author interprets these passages typologically of Christ. It associates the children with the Messiah.
Jesus is the one who sanctifies, and those who are sanctified are the believer. These verses stress the vital unity of the believer and Christ. Stress is laid on the spiritual oneness between Christ and those being sanctified. Only believers are in view, and not everyone, in the sense of the whole world. Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brethren because He has redeemed us and He leads us to glory with Him. He does not see us and blush. He is not embarrassed when we come into His presence. We are of infinite value to Him.
Because we are one with Christ we share in the glory of His reign (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17; Rev. 22:5). Thee is also the sense in which the apostle Paul declared that God has already "raised us up with Him and made us sit with Him in heavenly places" (Eph. 2:6). We are the sons God is bringing to glory.
The death of Jesus has set us apart to God. We are sanctified. We belong to Him. "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). Because of this saving grace we can have intimate fellowship with Jesus who dwell in and among us by His Spirit. It is interesting to observe that in Hebrews the references to the Holy Spirit are generally incidental, and much of the Spirit's work in Hebrews is filled by the exalted Christ. The emphasis in Hebrews is upon the exalted Christ working in the hearts of believers.
"I and the children whom God has given
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:14-18).
In order to free us from the consequences of sin, Christ had to assume the same limitations in His incarnation. Jesus broke the power of Satan by His death and resurrection. Satan no longer has the power to enslave us.
"And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
How many people do you know who have a fear of dying? Even those who deny the existence of God fear dying. It is a natural fear for sinful people. "The wages of sin is death . . ." It is a natural fear for people are not ready to meet God. Death is absolutely inevitable, but people live in dream world of denial. Death is for someone else, not me. But one day they will pull the sheet over your head and mine.
The devil has power in the realm of death, and incites
people to sin and come under its power. Jesus said the devil "was a murderer
from the beginning" (John 8:44). There is a spiritual realm in which men are
enslaved to Satan, sin and death. Satan brought death about when he enticed Eve
to disobey God. Adam and Eve sinned and brought about the penalty of death.
However, the good news is Christ destroyed the devil at
We all share in flesh and blood. Christ became incarnate so He could identify with us. He became one of us. He partook of our flesh and blood. He existed before creation, from eternity to eternity as the very image of God, was God Himself, yet He took on our flesh and blood. He was the God-man. He was fully God, and He was fully man. God could not die, therefore He sent His one and only, unique one of a kind Son to become man and die for our sins and pay our sin debt. No one else could pay our death penalty. Becoming a man and dying was necessary to obtain our salvation.
Christ became man so He could die. As God He could not die. He had to become a man in order to die. He had to become a man and die to assume our guilt and punishment for sin. He paid our debt to the righteousness of God (Heb. 7:27). "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14).
In the process of dying Christ rendered powerless the one who has the power over death, the devil. "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). In dying Christ defeated the power of the devil. The devil no longer has the power to destroy by death because Christ was victorious over death.
Because Christ rose from the dead, Satan no longer has us bound in slavery to death. He no longer has a grip on us. He no longer has the ability to destroy by death. He is defeated. We are delivered from the slavery to the fear of death. The devil is powerless that Christ "might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives" (Hebrews 2:15).
The great message of these verses is that Christ became human just like you and me so that He could die for us and nullify the power of the devil in order that we might be freed from the slavery to fear and enjoy the blessed hope of eternal life with Him.
Not even death can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
Again, note the strong emphasis on the incarnation. Christ assumes human nature and makes it His own. The use of the present tense stresses the permanence of this union on earth and in heaven. "For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:16-18).
The suffering of Christ was necessary to qualify Him as a merciful high priest. This is the first mention in Hebrews of Christ as our high priest. It is a theme the author will develop in greater detail later. It is enough here to cause the Hebrew Christian readers to think of the Day of Atonement and begin contemplating the fulfillment of the Levitical sacrificial system in the atoning work of Christ.
In this context bear in mind the reality of the wrath of
God which is the constant expression of His absolute holiness and righteousness
toward sin (
Our great high priest was merciful and faithful in the things pertaining to God and made "propitiation for the sins of the people." He was the high priest and the sacrifice who made "propitiation" (hilaskomai) and turned away the wrath of God against sinners. Some of our translations read "expiation" placing the emphasis on the taking away of sins so that God's wrath does not fall upon the sinner. Here the emphasis is on the atoning sacrifice that puts away sin and satisfies God's wrath so it is turned away from the believing sinner. The word hilaskomai means to turn away the wrath of God by the sacrifice that God Himself offers in the death of His own Son. No sinful man could ever bring an offering to propitiate the holy wrath of God. Everything that sinful man touches defiles it. Only a holy God could possibly offer a sacrifice sufficient to atone for sin and make a sinner right with God. It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character through the provision He has made for Himself in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ. God demanded the sacrifice, and He provided it by sending His own Son to die as the Lamb of God. He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins and thereby turn away the wrath of God from the believing sinner. Based upon the death of Christ, God can now show His mercy to the believing sinner. The barrier that sin interposed between God and man is broken down and removed. Christ by His death annulled the power of sin to separate God and the believer. Jesus Christ is the hilasmos in that He became the sacrifice which perfectly met the demands of the broken law. The Scriptural background for the idea is found in the Jewish Day of Atonement and the sprinkling of sacrificial blood to cover or atone for Israel's sin Leviticus 16:15, and thus satisfy a holy God for another year. In the New Testament, Jesus' death is viewed as the final sacrifice which completely satisfies God's demands against sinners, and the turning away the wrath of God from all who believe on Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is God's propitiatory sacrifice for sin. Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the Law and justify lost sinners. Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world and fully met the just demands of God's Law. Only the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ would make expiation for sins.
Christ "Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). The apostle Paul says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed" (Romans 3:23-25).
"Seed of Abraham" here refers to the believers, spiritual descendents of Abraham (Gal. 3:29). The recipients of this letter were Hebrew Christians, completed Jews who were both physical and spiritual descendents of Abraham. "The people" in v. 17 also refers to the people of God, believers.
Christ has undergone the same trials that we have and is qualified to be our high priest. The older brother comes along side and helps his younger brothers.
The author will take up the priesthood of Christ later. It is characteristic of this author to introduce an idea and then to dismiss it and take it up later for fuller treatment. Like a composer he intertwines one theme with another and fully develops it later.
How did Christ render Satan powerless? Christ is our propitiation. Christ strips the devil of his power, by making propitiation for our sins. Christ removes God's wrath toward us. In His death he bore our guilt and punishment for our sins. God's justice is satisfied. Christ removed God's righteous anger toward us. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Yes, we will all die physically. "The wages of sin is death." The penalty has to be paid. But Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for all of your sins. The penalty has been paid in full. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).
If your sins are forgiven, the wrath of God is turned away from you. Christ is the propitiation and now the wrath that was due you and me has all been paid by Jesus Christ. The wrath of God was turned against Christ, and we have been justified through faith in Christ. There is now no condemnation for everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ.
Satan is rendered powerless if your sin has been removed by the death of Christ and you stand righteous before God in Christ Jesus. That is the greatest promise. There is no fear of death for the believer in Christ because Christ rose from the dead. He is alive. We have eternal life with God in Christ if we have trusted in Him as our savior.
Where will you spend eternity? There are only two places--heaven with God or in hell. Both are eternal. I have made the choice to spend eternity in heaven with Christ. I hope you have, too. If you haven't now is the perfect time to trust in Him. Jesus wants you to spend eternity with Him. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. . . " "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36).
If you need help in becoming a Christian here is A Free Gift for You.
Title: Hebrews 2:5-18 Jesus Christ is the Author of Salvation
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2008. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted â€œScripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEÂ®, Â© Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist missionary and teaches seminary extension courses and Evangelism in Depth conferences in Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and Ecuador.
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