Today: [Hebrews 2:] The Depth of Redemption: In reading chapter 2 of Hebrews we are given the opportunity to sound out the vast depths of redemptive understanding of what God wrought for us in Christ through the work of Calvary. As the writer of Hebrews begins to open these profound truths to us, we begin to realize the unique dimensions of revelatory understanding the book of Hebrews makes available to us as we study it.
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[Heb 2:1-18 KJV] 1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him]; 4 God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? 5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 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. 10 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. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Chapter one of Hebrews concludes with a declaration of the supremacy of Christ and the subservience of the angels to the heirs of salvation. The following chapter begins then exhorts us in light of these truths to give earnest heed to the message of the gospel lest we forget our commission to spread the good news. This warning came at a time that the New Testament was not formed as yet and the concern of the writer was that the message of Jesus would fade into oral tradition. This first generation of believers was tasked with preserving the gospel message for generations to come. The word must not (v. 3) be neglected concerning the things that Jesus said, and those things witnessed that he had done in his earthly ministry.
At the time of the writing of Hebrews, the overwhelming impression in the light of the teachings of Jesus and the miracles he performed was that angels were not the highest order of being. They now understood that the world to come, the coming of the kingdom was invested in humanity – specifically one man namely Christ Jesus. What is man the writer quotes the Psalms that God would be mindful of him or the sons of men that God would visit them clothed in flesh to pay the purchase price of Calvary for our redemption?
Jesus came to earth in human form, born to humble circumstances only to die a criminal’s death. Nonetheless, it pleased the Father to crown Him with glory and honor and set Him at his own right hand over all the works of creation. Verse 8 then makes an interesting statement – God put all things in subjection to Christ, but at this present time, that dominion is not fully implemented. Because of sin the authority God gave Adam was usurped by Satan, and Satan then became the god of this world, not by any legitimate means but by virtue of the happenstance of the transgression of Adam and Eve in the garden.
Thus when we look at humanity we see that they were created in innocence and crowned with authority, but that entitlement was taken away, and Satan ruled in Adam’s stead. Thus when we look at man we see a creature of captivity but (v. 9) when we look at Jesus even from the depths of his suffering on the cross he was nonetheless crowned with glory and honor, not tasting of death for his own transgression but in a sinless state tasting or partaking of death for all of us that we might partake of His sinlessness and gain eternity.
The whole of God’s plan (v. 10) was not just to demonstrate the power of one spotless Son but rather in the work of redemption to bring many sons to glory. The plan of God is not perfected in raising up Jesus alone but rather in raising up many sons and daughters to constitute a corporate man, the body of Christ, the many-membered habitation of God on the earth.
By virtue of the work of Christ upon the cross as far as God is concerned, we are one with Christ and for this reason, Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. This is a quote from Psalm 22:22 where David speaks in the words of the coming Messiah that he (Jesus) would declare the name of God to those who were constituted His brethren by virtue of the work of redemption and faith in that work whereby we become born again. Having paid this price then Jesus turns to present Himself to the throne of God with the declaration to the Father from Isaiah 8:18 “Behold I and the children which God has given me.” If we finish that statement in Isaiah, it concludes with the declaration that we are for signs and for wonders in the earth to testify to God’s name and the message of salvation for the purpose (v. 15) of delivering them who through fear of death all their lifetime were subject to bondage.
You can pause here and take a moment to consider the tremendous depth of these statements. The book of Hebrews is undoubtedly one of the most profound writings in all of the New Testament with only the book of Romans to scarcely be compared to it.
Verse 16 goes on to expound on the nature of Jesus as not that of an angel or a supernatural being but rather that He came as the Eternal Son and insinuated himself into the bloodline of Abraham in order that he might in all respects have complete commonality with fallen man that He might in His mercy pay the full and final price to redeem not just Jewry but all humanity from the chains of darkness and servitude to Satan. In order to in truth and in reality pay this price it was necessary for Him to come in the likeness of sinful flesh in order that temptation – the temptation common to all men might confront Him and then having overcome this same temptation Jesus would go to the cross to release a grace through His shed blood that we might also be delivered from temptation as well. Until Jesus bled and died then, we see that true and full obedience was not possible. The law didn’t make men obedient – it only served as a schoolmaster to demonstrate their disobedience in order to make us aware of our need for a savior. We must then as believers not draw our obedience from our will or our determination to obey a set of rules for that is not what God is after. The Father desires that we draw our grace to obey and be changed and transformed not from religious culture or a resolve to reform our ways but rather by drinking as it were from the fount of Salvation that Jesus came to make available through the work of redemption on Calvary.
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