Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bringing Many Sons to Glory

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Hebrews 2:10-11)
“It was fitting,” the author of Hebrews says, for the Captain of our Salvation (Jesus) to be made “perfect through sufferings.” Made “perfect” does not refer to Jesus in His own nature or being, as if He was somehow flawed. Rather, it is about His role in our salvation. The word “perfect” refers to completion. In order for Him to make our salvation complete, it was necessary for Him to suffer.

Why was it fitting that the Lord of all and Creator of everything should come and suffer anything? Would it not be a disgrace for the Most High to become so low, and that for the sake of sinful man? Yet we are told that it was indeed fitting, appropriate for Him to do so.

But why? God did not do this for any of the angels who fell in satan’s rebellion, but He immediately moved to do so when Adam sinned. Why for us and not for the angels?

Look back in Hebrews 2:5. “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying” [here the author quotes Psalm 8:4-6]:
What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.
Then the author of Hebrews makes this observation: “For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him” (v. 8).

Consider carefully what he has just said: The world to come is not placed in subjection to angels, but God has created and cared for man and place all things in subjection under his feet.

Wow!

See, God created man in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). This was never said of angels, or of any other creature except man. Then God blessed them — male and female — and gave them dominion over all the earth, to subdue it, that is, to bring it into line with the plan of God. That is what David was talking about in Psalm 8.

When Adam sinned, the image of God in us was marred, but God’s purpose remained. That is why the Son of God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He is the perfect man who fulfills Psalm 8 and God’s purpose for mankind. In Him, we are made complete, perfected in the salvation for which He suffered.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus partook of human nature — flesh and blood — but not the nature of angels. Why? Because man was created in the image and likeness of God; angels were not. God created man, not angels, to have dominion, with all things in subjection to him.

So it was fitting, quite appropriate, that Jesus would come and suffer for our salvation. It was not a matter of divine necessity, but of divine grace. For there was no necessity upon God to create man in the first place, much less to give him dominion over His creation. That was pure grace. Then God graciously restored and fulfilled that plan at the terrible price of the Cross.

Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and Jesus became human, partaking of flesh and blood in order to redeem us and “bring many sons to glory.” This glory is not about a place we go to but a state of being in which we exist, the glory of God we were originally created to bear. We are, by this, true sons of God and the brothers of the Lord Jesus. As the author of Hebrews says, “For this reason, He is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

Jesus partook of human nature that we might partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 2:4) as sons of God restored to glory.