Monday, August 19, 2013
Hebrews Chapter Two Part 3
2:9-10 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
It is now contrasted what we do not see (what we have dominion over) against what we do see, Jesus our Lord. The Greek word for “made” in this verse is “elattoo” and means “to lessen in rank or influence. It signifies being made less or inferior in quality, position or dignity.” Christ our Lord was brought down from His unique position of God the Son and incarnated in flesh; He never ceased being God, but chose voluntarily to make Himself of no reputation, coming in the form of a man, Philippians 2:7.
The purpose of this act was “for the suffering of death”; the result was that He was crowned with glory and honor. The reason is that Jesus, by the grace of God, might taste death for every man. I think in laymen’s terms this simply means that “tasting death” could be rendered “die.” Contextually speaking, the metaphor of tasting death simply indicated dying in the New Testament, Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1. The verse then reads that Christ died for every man. In other words, Jesus died on behalf of mankind, or everyone. This verse, along with a score of others laced throughout Scripture, clearly indicate that Jesus did not die only for the sake of the elect, as Calvinists insist. He died even for those who He knew would never believe in Him. The infinite sacrifice He made on the cross put away sin; that is, all sin for all mankind for all time; not merely the individual sins of a handful of people scattered here and there. As the Last Adam, Jesus died as our representative and substitute. Being sinless Man and infinite God He alone was capable of paying the debt our sin created and reconciling us with our Creator. As Adam’s sin made all sinners, so too did Christ’s sacrifice atone for all mankind’s sin.
We go on to learn that all things are for and by God. These are critical, if not elementary lessons that every Christian ought to meditate over. We read a corroborating testimony in Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” All things are for God’s will and pleasure. This is why all things that offend will eventually be utterly removed from God’s kingdom forever, Revelation 21:27; 22:15. The universe and our race were made BY God FOR God, and God alone as Creator and owner determines what is fit for His creation. Sin perverts God’s creation so it will be removed; as will those whose love of sinning compels them to reject the only salvation found in Jesus Christ. Anything that defiles or causes either an abomination or a lie will not enter God’s kingdom. Sexual perversion runs rampant today as issues such as homosexuality are treated as “sexual preference” rather than what the Bible terms it: sin. All such perversion will not be permitted in the kingdom of God, and those who practice these things will be found without, exiled forever from God’s presence, Revelation 22:15; 2nd Thessalonians 2:12.
Moving along, we see that God determined in order to bring many sons to glory, that Christ should precede them. Strong’s Concordance suggests that the word “captain” in this verse means “a combination of the meaning of leader with that of the source from whence a thing proceeds.” In other words, Jesus our Captain is our Savior and our salvation. The source of our salvation is found in Jesus Christ; He is our salvation. The same Greek word is translated later in this epistle as “Author” or beginner/origin of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. He is also the finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
How was Jesus made perfect? Was He not perfect to begin with? His obedience was perfected when He submitted to the will of the Father on the cross, doing His Father’s will and not His own. Salvation could not have been offered to mankind if Jesus had not gone ahead and done His Father’s will. The life of Jesus Christ saved no one; it was His sacrificial death, burial, and triumphant resurrection that is the heart of the gospel and the truth men need to believe to be saved. Preaching a Jesus without the cross or marginalizing the cross effectually makes one’s message pointless. Our Lord personally drew attention to His death on the cross as the means by which He would be perfected. “Go, tell that fox (Herod), ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem,” Luke 13:32-33. Jesus knew that His life would culminate with His victorious death over sin as God’s perfect Lamb. His death and resurrection would provide the way through which we might have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. His perfect, sinless life and steadfast obedience earned our Lord the glory due Him of bringing many sons to glory; “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied,” Isaiah 53:11. The sufferings mentioned in this verse were none other than the suffering of the cross and the resultant victory, Philippians 2:8-11.