by Mike Ratliff
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10 ESV)
Adherents to any man-focused religion that call themselves Christian place the onus of salvation on the person and make God a passive entity who will not or cannot interfere with Man’s free will. This is not Biblical. It is philosophical. When we debate those who elevate free will above God and His sovereignty using Sacred Scripture their response is never in kind. That is because we are actually contending against a philosophy that is based on Man’s conceptions and understandings not on Biblical exegesis. Let us look at the founder of our salvation from the source our God gave us. Through this, He will make His truth apparent to our hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit as we study His Word.
5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:5-9 ESV)
The writer of the book of Hebrews is unknown to all except God. Notice that the Kingdom of God is not in the hands of angels nor will they inherit it. Then the writer quotes Psalm 8:4-6. He is actually questioning why God would go to such great lengths to provide a way of salvation for Man. It is obvious that no son or daughter of Adam is worthy of this. The “him” in vv7-9 is referring to Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Son, the second person in the Holy Trinity. He is the one through whom God created the Universe (John 1:1). He is far above the angels yet in order to accomplish the salvation of people God made Him a little lower than the angels. This is referring to His incarnation as a man. He was not sent as an angel, but a man. God originally gave dominion over the Earth to Man at creation. However, the fall in Genesis 3 made Man incapable of fulfilling that mission. However, our Lord Jesus Christ, since He became a man and fulfilled His redemptive work on the Cross has fulfilled all that is required in order that He became the supreme representative of our race (Romans 6:23; 1 John 4:10).
During the short period of His incarnation, our Lord was lower than the angels, but He is no longer. This is a point that many today overlook. When Jesus returns He will do so in all His glory. He will return to separate the Sheep from the Goats. He will tread down all who oppose Him. However, at the Cross He tasted death for everyone who believes, not everyone who has ever lived. This is a true statement because the death of Christ can only be applied in its efficacy to those who come to God in repentance and faith. This God given faith (Ephesians 2:8,9) causes all whom God draws to Christ (John 6:44) to ask God for saving grace and forgiveness of sins.
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 2:10-13 ESV)
While we view our Lord’s suffering and death on the Cross as horrible, it was fitting that God used this to bring His elect to glory (Ephesians 1:3-14). The Greek word translated in v10 as “fitting” is πρέπω or prepō. This verb literally means, “to tower up” or become conspicuous in the context of becoming suitable or proper. Since this is describing a work of God then we understand that sending the Son to the cross to become the propitiation for the elect lined up perfectly with His character and by no means violated His sovereign righteousness. In Christ’s victory through suffering on the Cross He became the founder of the elect’s salvation. He is the author of our salvation. He is the forerunner of all who follow Him in salvation and into eternal glory.
Our Lord calls all who believe “brother.” He loves His elect and even speaks of them to those who have preceded them into eternity. Notice that all who come to Christ are “given” to Christ by God.
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18 ESV)
The Greek word for “share” in v14 is κοινωνέω or koinōneō. In this context it means “fellowship, communion, or partnership.” What could this mean? Believers have “shared” in what they are in flesh and blood with one who is not by nature flesh and blood. We see this in the verb “partook ,” μετέχω or metecho. This word means “to take hold of something that is not related to one’s own kind.” Our Lord Jesus Christ was not flesh and blood by nature, however, He “fellowshipped” in flesh and blood with those who were given to Him by God thereby providing redemption for them.
Never forget my brethren that Jesus was incarnated as a man so that He could die. He came to die. Why? He had to die in order to be resurrected. It was through His resurrection that the power of death, Satan, was defeated. This rendered our enemy powerless. At salvation, a believer is regenerated. This changes them forever. Formerly they walked through life in the fear of death and this made them slaves to our enemy. However, as God does His miraculous work in the heart by giving the new believer saving faith they soon realize that there is no need to fear death. Why? The power of death is broken for the believer. To live is Christ; to die is gain (Philippians 1:21)!
The Greek word translated as “help” in v16 means “to take hold of in order to rescue.” Who does our Lord “help?” It isn’t angels. No, it is the offspring of Abraham. Who is this? Who are the real children of Abraham? It is all who have faith as had Abraham.
Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was the work of the High Priest on behalf of all given to Him by God. This sacrificial work made Him the propitiation for their sins. In other words, He atoned for their sins by taking on their sins and incurring the wrath of God in their place. Therefore, their sins are atoned for. Not some of their sins, but all of them.
What a blessing it is to know that our Lord was tempted in every way just like us! He understands and sympathizes with us because of this. He felt the full force of temptation, but never sinned.
It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart–Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet-Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in His power His members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake there!
It is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as He overcame, so surely shall His followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for His people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to Him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for He can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one. – C.H. Spurgeon
My brethren, we are saved because of what God has done. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the founder of salvation. We are saved because God gave us to the Son. He is the one who draws us to Him. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and indwell us. We are saved from first to last by God’s work. We do not become a Christian because we decide to, but because God opens the heart and causes us to believe. Praise Him, Oh Praise Him!
Soli Deo Gloria!