How easily do you find yourself drifting from Christ? How often? With the world as it is, and fallen human nature being as distracted as we are, this is something all too common for people from all walks of life. But what makes it possible for some people to walk closely with the Lord, year after year, without the backsliding so many fall into? Does God show special favor to certain people or are we just missing something?
I’d say much of that answer can be found in this second chapter of Hebrews.
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. (verse 1)
I love the plain language of that text. Because if we are steadfast in our pursuit of God’s word, and purposing in our hearts to follow after it, not only will we not turn from it, we won’t even slip away. It’s a warning with a promise delivered in such a way that it sounds like the simple advice from a friend.
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 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; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will. (2-4)
The setting forth of the gospel was accomplished by Christ who came and lived it, but the torch was then passed to those who heard Him. They were anointed and commissioned to go forth with the good Word to teach all nations, confirming to be true that which the Lord had said and done. They were endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and were equipped, by God, for the task presented them.
Because it was the purpose, the sheer will of God, that sinful man have a sure foundation on which to build his faith. On which to nail both his hope and his trust in a redeemer and friend.
For unto the angels hah he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou are mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 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; 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. 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. (verses 5-9)
The angels, while they have their role and are dear to the God who created them, will never be left to govern the world. It simply isn’t their job and that’s being established here. Every created thing has been placed in subjection to Christ. The world appears to be in the hand of the deceiver for a time. But Jesus chose to shroud his divinity in a humanity a little lower than the angels for the purpose of assuming the suffering and penalty of death due us. In this way He would usurp the assumed power of Satan and be restored to glory and honor. But the most beautiful part?
He will bring the faithful fallen, yet redeemed, to be with Him. Purchased at the price of His blood.
Are you fallen? In need of a Savior? Desperate for redemption? Good, because this promise is for YOU even as it is for ME!
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. 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. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (verses 10-13)
Christ laid the path to the crown straight through the cross and then stands as the beacon, lighting the way. Man’s nature is one of foolish pride, distortion and distraction and as such the path is often hard to find or seems too hard to follow. But when our eyes are fixed on the captain of our salvation, we clearly see how it was His great love for us, even as messy as we are, that made the way for the sanctification of sinners.
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. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved 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. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (verses 14-18)
He gives us His name and dares to call us brethren!!
Those final verses are almost too much! Because when you break them down you see a picture of a God that was willing to stop at nothing, sparing Himself no pain or suffering, to see the path made clear for us. He chose to take on our humanity so that He could fully enter into our nature subject to temptation, so He might have the greatest possible understanding of our condition as He stands in behalf of His people. Does that not just bring you to your knees? If it doesn’t, read it again. And again. Because there is love beyond comprehension tucked in those verses.
He has come to deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. That’s me. The prisoner shackled to my own fear. In chains of my own making because the tempter is so skilled at his craft. He came to deliver me-poisoned, broken me-from that bondage. He’s come to tell me the way is sure and the path is steady. He has come to lead me, by His tender hand, to a place where chains cannot exist.
And He’s come to lead you there, too.