Friday, 24 August 2018
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 their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10
The word “For” is based on the previous verse which spoke of Christ’s “suffering of death.” The Hebrew audience is being instructed more perfectly on the nature of God. As Jews, they expected a conquering king. This theme, based on the exploits and history of David, was their ideal for the coming Messiah. But before the crown came the cross.
Continuing, the author says, “it was fitting for Him.” This is speaking of God. To Him, there is a rightness, an order, and a propriety in the way in which Messiah was brought from suffering to glory. It is, by the very nature of God, the way that it should be. Before the world was created, the plan was set in motion. Thus, it is an eternal design which reflects God’s eternal mind.
Understanding this, the author next explains that it is God “for whom are all things.” Vincent’s Word Studies explains this by saying, “For whom, that is, for whose sake all things exist. God is the final cause of all things.” Everything that exists does so because it finds its ultimate reason in Him. As God created the world for man to dwell on it, then man’s existence must have a reason which is for God. It is to God that man’s existence is to be directed.
Further, the author continues that it is God “by whom are all things.” This is the creative effort of God. He is the One who accomplished the act of creation. There was nothing; and by God’s wisdom, order, and power, all things came into existence and exist as they now are. In these two thoughts – “for whom” and “by whom” – we find that God is the initiator and the final reason for creation. As man’s existence is to be directed to Him (the reason for his existence), then the cross (Christ’s “suffering of death”) is how God has determined that it should most gloriously come about.
It was through the cross that he has brought “many sons to glory.” The idea here is one of a superlative abundance. It is God’s design that the cross of Christ would be the cherished way that man would understand His love and draw many to Him through it. These words are again a stab directly at the heart of the Calvinist idea of predestination and election. God did not merely choose some for salvation and disregard the rest (limited atonement). Rather, He sent Christ to the cross so that the entire body of humanity would have a chance to hear the message and willingly respond to it.
Unlike Islam which teaches submission through force – which is practically the idea of Calvinistic predestination (irresistible grace which results in limited atonement) because man is supposedly converted apart from his will – the message of the Gospel is one of voluntary yielding to God through His glorious display of love. There is no sinner so lost that God cannot show mercy upon him. There is no people group so void of morality that they cannot hear of what God did in Christ and be converted. There is no color, race, creed, or ethnicity which is walled off from God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith.
It is by God Himself, through Christ Jesus, that this comes about. He is, as it says, “the captain of their salvation.” The word “captain” comes from the Greek archégos. It is not a captain in the modern sense, meaning a junior officer. Rather, it signifies the author of something. He is the first in a long procession of others who will follow. Jesus Christ is the founder and the leader of the salvation which leads man back to God, the reason for their very existence. It is this Jesus who it says, was “made perfect through sufferings.”
The idea of being “made perfect” is tied directly to the words of verse 7 where it says, “You have crowned him with glory and honor.” This making perfect does not carry the idea of being made “better,” as if there was a lack in Christ. Rather, it speaks of bringing to completion, or meeting, the goal. Christ suffered, was crucified, and died with the intent of bringing God’s plan of salvation to fruition. In His passion, man sees the very heart of God, and willingly responds to that glorious offering. The work of Christ makes Him fully and completely suited to bring those many sons to glory. This then explains the constant theme of Paul’s writings – “no works.”
If a person does something to merit God’s favor, then God is not glorified through their salvation. However, if God does all the work necessary, and in such a way that the sinner understands this – full and complete forgiveness through the work of another – then God will receive all of the glory. Again, the reason for man’s existence is to find his end in God. If we feel we have found our end in God through our merit, then we have not found our end in God. The perfecting of Christ through suffering means that in His sufferings He is fully qualified to bring man back to God. There was no lack or deficiency in Him. Rather, He was fully complete before His suffering, but we were not. He has made a perfected way of salvation through His work.
Life application: All hail the name of Jesus.
Lord God, when it says You have brought many sons to glory, it doesn’t mean by advanced selection. Nor does it mean by forced submission. Instead, we have seen the perfecting work of the Author of our salvation – Jesus Christ – and we have seen the deficiency in ourselves. He has filled up what is lacking in us. We come before You as poor beggars, and You have offered us eternal glory in Your presence because of the work of our Lord. All hail the name above all names! We give glory to You, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.