Sermon 2619. The Captain of Our Salvation
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 23, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JANUARY 19, 1882.
"For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to Glory, to make the Captainof their salvation perfect through sufferings." Hebrews 2:10.
OBSERVE, dear Friends, how glorious God is. The description given here by the Apostle contains but few words, and those nearlyall little ones, but how full of meaning they are! "Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things." Here you haveGod set forth as being both the beginning and the end of everything! All things are frHim-to do His bidding, to accomplishHis purpose, to act forth His Glory and this because all things are byHim-in their first creation, in their subsequent preservationand in all that is yet to come of them! Of whom speaks the Apostle this but of the Triune God, to whom be glory forever andever? Of whom speaks He this-if we would be still more exact-but of the Father who has made His Son perfect in bringing manysons to Glory? It is the Father "for whom are all things, and by whom are all things."
And, my dear Brothers and Sisters, the Apostle was wisely guided by the Holy Spirit to give this title to the Father in thisparticular place. Sometimes, in prayer, men call God by one or another of His names and each name may be correct, yet it maynot be well chosen for that special occasion. But you will notice that if the Holy Spirit describes either God the Fatheror the Lord Jesus by any term other than His usual name, the title is always very wisely chosen and is most appropriate inthat place. Now, in the matter of our salvation, we need One, "by whom are all things," for none but the Creator can createus anew in Christ Jesus. No one who has less power than the Divine Preserver of men can keep us from falling. And none butthe Divine Being who encompasses all things within the range of His Infinite mind, can guard us against the many terribleperils on the way to Heaven. If ever we are to be brought to Glory, it must be by the God "by whom are all things." And certainly,if we are brought there, as I pray that we all may be-it will be by Him "for whom are all things"-and we shall forever adorethe mystery of His Grace which landed us safely on the heavenly shore!
Every part of the great plan of salvation sets forth the splendor of the Grace of the Most High God. What do we see in ourelection but His Grace? What do we see in our redemption but His Grace? What do we see in our conversion but His Grace? Whatdo we see in our justification, sanctification, adoption and final preservation but His Grace? By Him, in Grace as well asin Nature, are all things-and for Him, in Grace as well as in Nature, are all things. Unto Him belongs both the power andthe glory, the two must always go together. He works all our works in us and to Him be all the praise, world without end!
We start, then, with this as a sort of keynote-that the great Father, who has purposed our salvation, is able to fully carryout what He has planned, for by Him are all things. And He also has an admirable reason for accomplishing it, because it willbring Him glory, and for Him are all things. If our salvation would degrade His name in any sense or respect. If the salvationof sinners would even obscure the severity of His justice, it might be a question as to whether it would ever be accomplished.But, since there is nothing about this work but what will bring Him honor and glory, we rest assured that, having put Hishand to it, He will not withdraw His arm until He has fully accomplished His eternal purpose to the praise of the glory ofHis Grace!
Our text sets before us some most precious Truth concerning our Lord Jesus Christ and His people. First, here is a high enterprise-thebringing of many sons to Glory. In the second place, this enterprise is being carried out by an ordained Captain-there isa Captain of our salvation through whom the many sons are to be brought to Glory. And, thirdly, we are to notice the becomingwork of the Father upon Him who is Captain. "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringingmany sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
I. First, then, here IS A HIGH ENTERPRISE-the bringing of many sons to Glory.
I think that you will find the historical parallel of this enterprise in the Lord's great work of bringing the tribes of Israelout of Egypt, through the Red Sea, through the wilderness and into Canaan. The Lord, in His deliverance of His ancient people,gives us a type of what He is doing and will do for all His chosen. The exodus was not merely the bringing of the people outof Egypt into the wilderness, for then they might truly have said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have youtaken us away to die in the wilderness?" But the whole transaction was not completed, the enterprise was not finished, untilall those whom the Lord intended to bless had actually crossed the Jordan and had taken possession of the promised land. Heled not the children of Israel merely out of Egypt, but He led them into Canaan- and His leadership of them through the desertis a picture and emblem of Christ's leadership of the many sons whom He is bringing to Glory. I want you to think of the salvationof the redeemed in that light.
To begin at the end, the Lord Jesus is bringing many sons to Glory, just as God brought His ancient people into Canaan. Theultimate destination of every Believer is eternal Glory. There is not one of us who will be perfect and complete until westand at the right hand of God, even the Father. There is no secondary position where some of the redeemed may be satisfiedto remain, but the many sons are all to be brought to "Glory." That is the word-one of the biggest words that can be spokenby any mortal mouth. Do you know all its meaning? No, my Brothers and Sisters, you do not, and there is another word thatcomes before it-"The Lord will give Grace and Glory." Do you know all the meanings, even, of, "Grace"? No, you do not-yetyou have tasted of God's Grace and if you know not all the meaning of that of which you daily partake, I am sure you do notknow the meaning of that, "Glory," which you have not yet obtained.
Heaven is rightly called, "Glory." I do not doubt that it is a very glorious place. People have written books in which theyhave sought to give us some idea of Heaven as perfecting all the joys of our earthly domestic life. And artists have triedto depict the plains of Heaven, but the books and the works of art are equally worthy to be burnt, for they fall so infinitelyshort of what the reality must be that they are only a caricature and a mockery of what "Glory" must really be. No, Beloved,no tongue can tell what it is, and no pencil can depict the Glory of the place, itself, the Father's House, where the manymansions are-
"Eye has not seen it, my gentle boy- Ear has not heard its sweet songs of joy!"
Nor shall your imagination be able to bring these things down to you, for there is a spiritual Glory which must far exceedall the glories of which you know anything on earth!
I think, also, that Heaven is called, "Glory," because its inhabitants follow glorious pursuits. What they are doing thereall day long, I shall not attempt to guess, but we are told that "the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it and Hisservants shall serve Him. They shall see His face and His name shall be on their foreheads." They will have enough to do tocast their crowns at His dear feet who gave them all the joy they have-and to make known to principalities and powers in heavenlyplaces the manifold wisdom of God! Of this we are quite sure-all their pursuits will be glorious, there will be nothing low,nothing groveling, nothing selfish done in Heaven-certainly, nothing wearisome, nothing laborious that can bring sweat tothe brow, again, that comes here because of the Curse. No, it is a glorious place where the happy dwellers are engaged inglorious pursuits!
And they also have glorious pleasures. They realize to the fullest what David said, "In Your Presence is fullness of joy.At Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Did you ever think-have you the power to conceive-what the pleasuresof God must be? What is the joy of the Lord-the infinite satisfaction of the Eternal-the profound bliss of Him who is mostblessed forever? It is that joy, that bliss, that peace of which they shall have a share, as the Master says to each one ofthem, "Enter you into the joy of your Lord." As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is God's joy above our joy.Therefore we cannot attempt to describe it, but we can only say of it that the joy of Heaven is Glory! The bliss of Heavenis "from Glory to Glory" forever and ever!
And, as Heaven is a glorious place for glorious pursuits and glorious pleasures, so all there will be glorious persons. Thereis not one low or mean inhabitant of Heaven! There are many there who were despised on earth-the lowly and the suffering andthe persecuted-but they are no longer despised. God has put eternal honor upon them. They are all priests and kings unto God!The priestly garments they wear are more grand than Aaron's raiment of glory and beauty and in their royal robes they keephigh holiday, where the sun goes down no more, and the days of their mourning are forever ended. It is all glorious and Ido not wonder that Heaven is called, "Glory," and that we have so little said about it. There is just this great word-"Glory"-whichby itself says more than I would be able to say if I kept you here till the clock tolled out the midnight hour!
This is the high enterprise of God, to bring His many sons to Glory. I call it a high enterprise, and so it is, for He willbring them to Glory despite all difficulties. Where do the redeemed begin their march? Down there, at the iron furnace, wherethey have lain among the pots, and where their slavery has been hard and cruel. Their march begins with Pharaoh to opposethem, but, with a high hand and an outstretched arm, God brings them up out of the bondage of Nature, and out of the bondageof corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God! How gloriously does He lead them through the Red Sea anddestroy their adversaries with the precious blood of Jesus, till the depths have covered them, and there is not one of themleft! And the rest of the passage of His people, from that high day at the Red Sea onward till they reach Glory-what is itbut a march of miracles, an ever-moving panorama of wonders? I do but speak of the experience of the true Christian when Isay that he is opposed from within and from without and that he is his own greatest enemy-and that is not saying a small thingwhen I remind you that the world, the flesh and the devil are all leagued against him!
It is with push of pike that I make my way to Heaven, disputing with my fierce foe every inch of the road. Yet I shall winthe day, for He, "by whom are all things," has undertaken to lead His sons to Glory-and He willead them there! If they hadto cut their way through a whole legion of devils, as when men reap their path through a thick cornfield, yet should they,everyone of them, pass through unharmed! If there were seven thousand Hells between them and Heaven, yet they would reachit in safety because He, "for whom are all things, and by whom are all things," has determined to bring them there! Yet itis no easy march and it will be no little glory that shall redound to Him who will lead us all through the wilderness andbring us to the Canaan which is above, that is, to "Glory."
I want you to notice, next, that this high enterprise on God's part is concerning the bringing of "many sons to Glory." Inthe second part of The Pilgrim's Progress, we read about Mr. Great-Heart, who had a tough task to lead those women and childrenall the way to the Celestial City. They caused him a deal of trouble and he is a picture of many a Christian minister. Someof us have not to go before a few faint-hearted pilgrims, but we have to lead hundreds, or even thousands! Every morning beforebreakfast, I have to kill a giant for somebody or other, and hard fighting it is! And as soon as ever I have killed him, Ihear one of the dear children crying out that he is going to be eaten up alive by another, so that I have to keep my swordalways drawn! It is no easy task to be, under Christ, helping to bring some of these sons to Glory!
But think of the work that God has undertaken-to bring many sons to Glory-untold millions of them! I shall not attempt touse figures to represent the numbers of the saved, for I believe my Master's redeemed ones will be as the dew of the morning,as the drops of the spray, as the sands on the seashore and far excelling the starry hosts marshaled on the midnight plains.Many sons will be brought to Glory by the great Father. Sometimes, in the old days of war, there used to be a number of littleships wanting to cross the sea, but the privateers were on the watch, so the seamen were afraid to hoist the sail and getaway from the shelter of the shore, for they would soon be caught by their enemies, like doves by the hawk. Well, what wasdone? There they lay, in port, until His Majesty sent down a man-of-war, perhaps two or three, to be a convoy. Then the littleships would all be safe-their crews need not any longer be afraid of the Frenchmen or the Spaniards. So is it with those whoare under the protection of God. We, weak little vessels, could never, by ourselves, reach our desired haven, but, lo, theLord High Admiral of the seas and the great Emperor of the land has come forth in the majesty of His power to conduct us toGlory! And we shall get there safely, even though our enemies should be beyond all count. It was a grand thing when thoseconvoys brought many little ships into harbor, but what a fleet the Lord will bring into the Fair Havens of eternal happiness!We read that on one occasion, when the Lord Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee, "there were also with Him other littleships." And there are still with Him many other little ships, but He will bring them all safely into the harbor. Let the enemyattack them if he dares to do so, but their Protector will preserve them all, for it is His purpose to bring many sons toGlory.
I have not yet said all I need to say about this high enterprise, for perhaps the chief wonder of it all is that He, "forwhom are all things, and by whom are all things," has resolved to bring to Glory many sons. They shall, all of them, be Hissons! Oh, what a marvel it is that they should be His sons! Who will have them for sons? I am sure that there is many a manwho might be ashamed to take for sons those whom God takes-the most depraved, debased and fallen-whom men have passed by,as those to whom they could not even speak. The Lord, in Infinite Love, has taken them to be His children and He has saidof them, "I will be a Father to them, and they shall be My sons and daughters." But, oh, what a work is needed in order toturn these rebels into children! What a wonder of Grace it is that they should first be regenerated and so get the natureof children! And then that they should be adopted and so have the status of children! And then that they should be sanctifiedand so exhibit, from day to day, those qualities that must be found in the children of a holy God! To make them sons is, indeed,an amazing work!
God did not do as much as that for the people in the wilderness. In that respect, the type broke down, for the Israeliteswould not be God's sons. He acted as a father towards them, but they were rebels against Him and, therefore, the carcassesof that first generation fell in the wilderness. What a mercy it is that God does not now write the Law on tablets of stone,but on the fleshy tablets of our hearts! And the Law of God being written there, He gives us the Grace to obey it and, especially,He gives us Grace to believe in Jesus and to receive Him! John wrote, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to becomethe sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." And it is still true of all who receive Him and believe on His name!Oh, what a mercy it is that guilty sinners may so receive the adoption of children! What a blessed thing it is that God willnot only bring us to Glory, but that we shall be sons when He gets us there! He will bring us to Glory as sons-we shall beHis sons while on the road and we shall be acknowledged as His sons in the presence of the entire universe in that day whenthe righteous shall "shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father," for that is the glorious Kingdom to which Heis going to bring us!
Blessed be His name that He should ever make us sons and resolve to bring us to Glory! Ah, well, He has set His heart upondoing it and He can do it-therefore let us again bless and praise His holy name!
II. Now I turn to my second point, which is concerning THE ORDAINED CAPTAIN. God intends to bring "many sons to Glory," butHe means to do it by the hand of a chosen Captain, greater than Joshua, who will fight for His people and conduct them safelyinto the Canaan of "Glory."
The word here translated, "Captain," is, in another place, rendered, "Author," and, in yet another passage, "Prince." In fact,it is twice translated, "Prince." But I feel perfectly satisfied to take the term as our Authorized Version gives it and tosay that the Lord our God leads His people to Glory by a Captain. He might have done it, if so it had pleased Him, by Hisown power and might, apart from a Mediator, but He has not done so. He has ordained everything by the hand of a Mediator andit is an essential part of His arrangement of the whole system of Grace that the Father should work by the Son to bring themany sons to Glory, that the Son should bring them there by being the Captain in their midst, representing Him among men,being clothed with His power, effecting His Divine purpose for them. God will bring no sons to Glory except through this Captain!None may ever hope to enter Glory except by Christ Jesus! He Himself has said, "I am the way." And He is the only way. Therefore,woe be to those who refuse to come to God by Him! God will bring all His sons to Glory, but it must be by the Captain whomHe has ordained. Let us think for a little while what a captain is and what a captain has to do, for that will help us tounderstand the office and work of the Captain of our salvation.
First, then, the Lord Jesus Christ has come to conduct us to Glory by making all arrangements for the march. There is a greatdeal of responsibility connected with the leader of an army, not only in deciding as to where his troops shall encamp forthe night, but where they shall march on the morrow, and in what direction they will be likely to be needed many days ahead.The commissariat of an army requires great thoughtfulness and care on the part of the leader and our Captain, the Lord JesusChrist, has made all necessary arrangements for His people between here and Heaven! I am quite sure that we shall never cometo a halting place between here and Glory, of which we shall be able to say that no provision has been made for us there.Providence, or seeing beforehand, is always at work on behalf of the Lord's people. God is always looking ahead and Christmakes every arrangement for the salvation of all His people, even down to the minutest details. He is a most blessed Captain.
A captain's work, after he has arranged for the march, is, next, to give thee word of command. "Go," he says, or, "Stay.""Do this," or, "Be still." The soldier's one business is to obey his orders. He has not any right to choose what he will do.His marching orders are to be his law. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ will lead many sons to the Glory of His Father by givingthose gracious commands which always bring a blessing with them whenever they are obeyed.
Captains, however, do more than command, for, if they are wise, they lead the way. I have heard that a Turkish officer saysto his men, "Go along," and stays behind and watches the soldiers. But when a British officer cries, "Come on!" he leads theway! That is what our Lord has done. In the sternest fight, He is always conspicuous, and there is no weary march that Hebids us tramp in which He does not foot it at our side. You shall never climb so high that you will not find the footprintof the Crucified there, nor shall you be called to descend even into the depths of the sea but you shall find that He hasbeen there, too, for He leads us always as the Captain of our salvation!
It is a captain's business, also, to encourage his men. How often the presence of a true leader has effected more for thearmy than all their own strength could do! When Basing could not be taken by the Parliamentary troops in Cromwell's day, "OldNoll" went down and he took Basing, directly, as he did every other place that he determined to capture! And infinitely moreglorious is the Captain of our salvation, whose Presence secures victory to the most discouraged band if they do but see Him,and say, "It is He!" The next word is, "Be not afraid," for where He comes, devils fly. The earth shakes at the Presence ofthe Christ of God! It is the captain's business to encourage his men, and that our great Captain does continually!
Sometimes it is the captain's delight to reward his followers. A wise leader gives words of praise when they are deservedand, on special occasions, he distributes more substantial things. As for our blessed Lord, His gracious commendation, "Welldone, good and faithful servant," would more than repay us for the toils of a lifetime-even if our lifetime were longer thanMethuselah's! Let us, then, be faithful and true as we have such a Captain as our Lord Jesus Christ who can do for us allthat captains should do for their soldiers, and a great deal more.
Now, seeing that it is the will of the Lord to lead us to Glory by the Captain of our salvation, I want you to be worthy ofyour Leader. Do you not think that, sometimes, we act as if we had no Captain? We fancy that we have to fight our way to Heavenby the might of our own right hand and by our own skill, but it is not so. If you start before your Captain gives you theorder to march, you will have to come back. And if you try to fight without your Captain, you will rue the day. "Oh," saysone, "but I have been thinking today what I shall do if such-and-such happens." My dear Brother, it would be a great dealbetter for you to remember that "the Lord lives," and to leave the thinking and arranging in His hands. There are a greatmany ifs in the world that are like a swarm of wasps-if you let those ifs out, they will sting you from head to foot! Butthere is one glorious if that will kill them all! It is this-if the Lord Jesus Christ could fail-if He could desert us, thenall would be lost! That kills all the other ifs, because it is an impossible if. He cannot fail us or leave us! He must live,He must conquer and while that is the case, the other ifs do not mean anything to us. Therefore, cast yourselves on your Captain'scare. March onward though you cannot see your way! Fly at the enemy though they seem to outnumber you by ten to one, for greateris He that is for you than all that can be against you! Be not afraid of anything, for your Captain is equal to all emergencies.
When the Lord our God chose Him as our Leader and Commander, He laid help upon One that was mighty. He did not take some poorweak mortal to be the captain of such a company as we are! He did not even select an angel for this great task. He exaltedOne chosen out of the people who was most suitable for the position-and God's wisdom would be dishonored if Christ were foundincapable of bringing the many sons to Glory! But He is blessedly capable of all that is required of Him-and the ancient propheciesconcerning Him shall be completely fulfilled! "He shall not fail nor be discouraged." "and the pleasure of the Lord shallprosper in His hands."
III. Thus far, then, we have seen that the Great Father will bring His many sons to Glory by a Captain. But the meat of thetext lies in the part we have now to consider, and that is, THE BECOMING WORK OF THE FATHER UPON OUR CAPTAIN. "It became Him,in bringing many sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
God always acts becomingly and, therefore, it was right that Christ should suffer. I have sometimes heard discussions as towhether the Lord might not have saved sinners without a Mediator, or, if through a Mediator, whether we might not have beensaved by some other method without the death of Christ. I do not think it is right for us to form any kind of judgment uponthat matter, but to say, as our risen Lord said to His disciples, "It behooved Christ to suffer." It was becoming that Christshould die. "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him." It was a seemly and proper thing, in the sight of Him, "for whom are allthings, and by whom are all things," that we should be saved by a Mediator, and that the chosen Mediator should not have usapart from His own terrible sufferings.
It was becoming that our Captain should be made perfect, complete, fully equipped for saving us by suffering. The agony couldnot be left out. The cup must not pass from Him without His drinking its awful contents. It was becoming that Christ shouldbe poor-so He had not where to lay His head. It was becoming that He should be hungry-so He fasted for 40 days. It was becomingthat He should sweat great drops of blood. It was a becoming thing in the sight of God that there should be suffering on thepart of His chosen Captain. It was becoming that He should be spit upon- that He should be mocked-that He should be scourged-thatHe should be nailed to a tree-that He should be parched with fever and, in awful depression of spirit, should cry, "My God,My God, why have You forsaken Me?" It was becoming that all this should happen and, therefore, it did happen. Let that bea sufficient answer to us whenever we are asked any questions about Christ's suffering-it was becoming in God's sight.
And let those who deny the Atonement, and those precious critics who sneer at every hymn that tells of the agonies of Christ,understand that it was becoming that He should endure all this and that we are not ashamed to sing of what God counts becoming.I, for one, mean still to sing-
"His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o'er His body on the tree."
I mean, still, to sing-
"Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut its glories in, When God, the mighty Maker, died For man, the creature's sin."
Even though it seems to some as if we knew Christ after the flesh, I would rather know Him so than not at all. And some seemto wish not to know Him at all. They want, especially, to get rid of the blood-"the offense of the Cross" has not yet ceased-itis still a cause of stumbling to a great many! But, oh, I pray you who are offended at the Cross, not to think that you willever get to Heaven, for God and you would not agree, there, for He counts the Cross becoming, and you count it foolishness-sothere is a radical difference of opinion between you two and one Heaven would not hold you! You must get agreed with God aboutthat matter, or else, depend upon it, you will never enter the pearly gates! You must honor the Son even as you honor theFather, and honor the Son in His blood and wounds and in all His agony and death, or else you shall not come where the Fathertakes pleasure in the Well-Beloved.
Further, the text seems to say that it was becoming that Christ should be made perfect through suffering. There are many pointsin which Christ could not save us without suffering. He could not be a perfect Substitute unless He bore our sin and shame.He could not be a perfect Sympathizer unless He bore our suffering. This, perhaps, is the main point in which Christ is perfected.He becomes capable of entering into all the griefs that disturb the many sons whom He is to lead to Glory. In our Elder Brother,the heir of all things, there is an epitome of all the sorrows of all the rest of the family. In Christ there is every pangthat rends the heart, every grief that forces tears from the eyes-except such griefs as are sinful and could not enter intoHis holy bosom-but everything that is inevitable to flesh and blood, to hearts that break, spirits that are depressed andeverything of that kind, Jesus knows.
Sometimes I have been where none of you have ever been, but I have never been where I could not find Christ. And some of you,my dear Brothers and Sisters, have been in heartbreaking trouble that I never knew. But the Master has been there, if thePastor has not, and if the dearest Christian friend has not-and so He has become perfect through suffering. "I know theirsorrows," He says, "I know their sorrows, not by having read or heard about them, but by having suffered them." Of all thebitter medicine in the great apothecary's store, Christ has had a draught. He knows all about them and this makes Him "perfectthrough sufferings."
Finally, it was becoming on the part of God, "for whom are all things, and by whom are all things," that He should perfectHis Son as our Captain through sufferings. But the original Greek gives us a fuller meaning than this-that God should glorifyHis Son. It is becoming on God's part that He should give to Christ everything that can make Him glorious and honorable. Seeingthat He bowed His head to suffer and to die, it was right that God should raise Him from the dead, that He should set Himat His own right hand, that He should crown Him with many crowns, that He should grant Him to "have dominion from sea to sea,and from the river to the ends of the earth." It is becoming that Christ should have all honor and Glory paid to Him, thatmen should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. In prayer, when I need an argument that I know will prevail with God,I say to Him, "Father, glorify Your Son! You love Him, look at Him, is He not lovely in Your eyes as the suffering, obedientSon of Your love? Do You not admire Him beyond all conception? Therefore, hear my supplication and grant my petition for Hissake."
I like, sometimes, to leave off praying and singing, and to sit still, and just gaze upward till my inmost soul has seen myLord. Then I say, "He is inexpressibly lovely. Yes, He is altogether lovely!" If He is that to my poor eyes, which are sodull and dim that they cannot half discern His beauties, what must He be in the eyes of God? In the eyes of God He is so preciousthat, as my text says, "It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things"-it was becoming even in Him, "inbringing many sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings"- glorified beyond all imaginableglory and to have universal homage paid to Him throughout the universe forever and ever! God sees it to be becoming and, therefore,we delight in it. Amen and amen!
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: HEBREWS 2:1-15.
Verse 1. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should letthem slip. We have heard them. Do not let us forget them! Let them not be like the driftwood which goes floating down thestream. Let us make a desperate effort to retain them in our memories and, above all, to ponder them in our hearts.
2. 3. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompenseof reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? They could not trifle with the angels' message withoutreceiving just punishment from God. Much less, then, can we trifle with Christ's Gospel! We have not an angelic savior, butGod Himself, in the Person of His Son, has deigned to be the Mediator of the New Covenant. Therefore, let us see to it thatwe do not trifle with these things. You see, dear Friends, that we need not be great open sinners in order to perish-it ismerely a matter of neglect. See how it is put here. "How shall we escape, if we neglectso great a salvation?" You need notgo to the trouble of despising it, or resisting it, or opposing it. You can be lost readily enough simply by neglecting it.In fact, the great mass of those who perish are those who neglect the great salvation!
3. Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto me by them that heard Him. The Apostles and theother followers of our Lord constantly bore witness to His miracles and His Resurrection.
4. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, accordingto His own will. Those who doubt the Truth of the Gospel, or who say they do, are often found believing historical statementsthat are not half as well proved. A man sits down and reads a book of the Gallic wars and he believes that Julius Caesar wroteit-yet there is not a half or a tenthas much evidence to prove that he did write it as there is to prove that our Lord Jesuslived, died and rose again from the dead! The witness to the truth of these great matters of fact has been borne by God, Himself,with signs, wonders and miracles. Honest and true men, Apostles and others, have witnessed them-and they have also been certifiedby Incarnate Deity, even by the Lord who deigns to speak to us by His Spirit. We cannot, therefore, trifle with this Gospelwithout incurring most serious guilt!
5. For to the angels He has not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak. We are the preachers of it- not theangels! And the great Author and Finisher of our faith is the Man, Christ Jesus-not an angel. We have not, now, the ministryof angels, but the ministry of men, by whom the Lord of the angels sends His messages to their fellows.
6-8. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that You are mindful of him? Or the son of man, that You visithim? You made him a little lower than the angles; You crowned him with glory and honor, and did set Him over the works ofYour hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet This was the original status of man. God made him to be Hisvicegerent on earth and he would still hold that position were it not that since he has rebelled against his own Sovereign,even the beasts of the field take liberty to be rebellious against him. Man is not now in his original estate and, therefore,he no longer rules. And we see many men who are very far from being royal beings, for they are mean and groveling. Yet theglory of man is not all lost, as we shall see.
8, 9. 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 allthings put under him. But we see Jesus. Here is the representative Man who is supreme over all. "We see Jesus."
9, Who was made a little lower than the angels for suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He, by the Graceof God, should taste death for every man. Oh, how glorious it is to realize our position in Christ and to see how He has liftedus up, not merely to the place from which the first Adam fell, but He has made us stand so securely there that we shall notagain descend around the ruins of the Fall! Glory be to His holy name!
10, 11. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to Glory, to make theCaptain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all ofone: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. The Christ and the Christian are one-the Man, Christ Jesus,and the men whom He redefined are one! He has so become partaker of our nature that now we are one family and He is not ashamedto call us brothers and sisters. Am I addressing any who are ashamed of Christ, or who are ashamed of God's poor people, andwho would not like to be known to be members of a poor Church? Ah, how you ought to be ashamed of yourselvesfor having anysuch pride in your hearts, for Christ is not ashamed to call His people brethren! Oh, what wondrous condescension! He hasdone this many times in the Psalms where He speaks of His brethren.
12. Saying, I will declare Your name to My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise to You. That is a quotationfrom the 22nd Psalm.
13. And again, I will put My trust in Him. Thus entering into the very faith of His people!
13, 14. And again, Behold I and the children which God has given Me. Inasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of fleshand blood. As you know to your cost, for perhaps you have aches and pains about you at this very moment. Verily, you are "partakersof flesh and blood." Perhaps you are suffering from despondency and depression of spirit. If so, that reminds you that howevermuch you may, in spirit, sometimes soar to Heaven, yet you are still "partakers of flesh and blood."
14, 15. 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. He so took uponHimself flesh and blood as to die in our nature, that thus He might slay death, and might set us free from all fear of death.Do you not see that if the representative Man, Christ Jesus, died, He also rose again, and also that so will all who are inHim rise, too? If you are in Him, You shall rise again! Therefore, fear not to lie down in your last sleep, for the trumpetshall awaken you and your bodies shall be molded afresh like to His glorious body and your soul and body together shall dwellin infinite bliss forever! "Therefore comfort one another with these words."