Biblical salvation vs man-made philosophical religiosity

by Mike Ratliff

10 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 2:10 (NASB) 

The basis of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism are the very same as that of Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or any other religion except Genuine Christianity. That basis revolves around Man’s Free Will and making a decision then receiving some sort of blessing or curse depending on whether the decision was according to the tenets of one’s man-made religion or not.

Those adherents of those religions in this genre 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 author 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 He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying,
“What is man, that You remember him?
Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him?
7 “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;
8 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.
9 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. Hebrews 2:5-9 (NASB) 

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 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. 11 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, 12 saying,
“I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
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 whom God has given Me.” Hebrews 2:10-13 (NASB) 

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 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, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 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. 18 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 (NASB) 

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 an 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 author of our 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!

4 thoughts on “Biblical salvation vs man-made philosophical religiosity

  1. The Lord sees our hearts are ready to receive Him, and He then gives us a new birth in Him. Many hearts will never be ready to receive him. But we do have a free will in our spirits to never want Him to open the door of our hearts to be born anew. He opens our hearts when He sees we will accept Him, and He will not open hearts whom He can see who will not accept Him.


  2. Terri, do you have scripture to back up your statement? No, of course you don’t because what you stated is not Biblical. Do you believe Paul’s heart was ready to receive Christ as he was on his way via horseback to persecute Christians in Damascus before Christ’s appearance via that bright light knocked him off his horse and blinded him? What was Paul’s response to Christ’s question, “Why do you persecute me?” Paul said, “Who are you lord?” Paul’s regeneration is a perfect example of God intervening into one his elect’s life when they are not ready or not looking for it. Your statement puts the onus on US, no it is all God’s work from beginning to end.


  3. Mike, I admit ignorance on free will. Explain this to me in simple terms what it is (it sounds a lot like mysticism to me) and why it’s not biblical. Yes, I know that phrase is not in the Bible and neither the concept…so where does it come from? I read the article as well, but I’m the kind of person where bullet points help me understand a concept.

    Thanks and God Bless you .


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