Heb 2:17                     Our Great High Priest                                 8/28/2011        ßą   

 

#1.       Organism (Rom 5:12, Gen 3:21, 3:16, 2Tim 1:9, Eph 1:4, Heb 2:17, Isa 42:1)

 

 

 

#2.       Mediator (Heb 2:17-18, Rom 3:23, 1Tim 2:5-6, Rom 5:10)

 

 

 

#3.       Propitiation (Rom 3:24-26, Lev 17:11, Heb 11:1, 2:17)

 

 

 

#4.       Reconciliation (2Cor 5:18-19, Rom 4:8, 5:11)

 

 

 

#5.       Kinsman-Redeemer (Psalm 19:14, Ruth 2:20, John 8:44)

 

 

 

#6.       Justice (Rom 5:15)

 

 

 

#7.       Debts of Sin (Psalm 40:6-8,12, Heb 2:17, Matt 1:21, John 10:11, Heb 1:14, 2:10,12,16, Eph 1:21-23)

 

 

 

#8.       Temptation (Heb 2:18, Luke 22:28)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 3:16 (2X). Finally we have come to the end of Heb chapter 2 and we now stumble unto a verse that is very intense, Heb 2:17. Therefore, this sermon will be a little different. I would like to teach you some difficult words that appear in the New Testament that have to do with Heb 2:17. We all need to know and understand these words when we read the New Testament, so that we all are on the same wavelength concerning these concepts. As you can see I listed these words in the outline. You have seen these words often but may not have understood what God is saying to us concerning the Gospel of salvation. But first we have to dig into Gen 3:16, for there are some details concerning Mankind as an organism.

#1.       Organism (Rom 5:12, Gen 3:21, 3:16, 2Tim 1:9, Eph 1:4, Heb 2:17, Isa 42:1)

Mankind is one organism, like a fungus is one organism, or like a termite colony is one organism. An organism has one federal head, who is the one who started the organism. And thus Adam is the federal head in the flesh of all human beings which are born into this world. When Adam sinned by eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil the hole human race fell into sin, because Adam carried the whole human race in his loins. Likewise when Adam was cursed by God the whole human race was cursed by God. We read in Rom 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” But then we read in Gen 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” It means that God saved Adam and his wife, for God shows us that He sacrificed animals to cover the nakedness of Adam and his wife. This is symbolic for covering their sin by an animal sacrifice, which is a picture of the death of Christ on the cross. All animal sacrifices in the Old Testament serve as types and figures of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Does this then mean that the whole human race was saved when Adam and his wife were saved? No, because in the meantime God had decreed in His curse on the woman that the whole human race would be divided into two groups of people. Let us read that in Gen 3:16 carefully.

Gen 3:16 ¶  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

What does this mean? It means that God said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and I will greatly multiply thy conception.” But children are supposed to be a blessing from the Lord, according to the Bible. Why then would children here in Gen 3:16 be part of the curse on the woman? This is so because a second contingent of children would be added who are not going to be saved; they are going to be messengers of Satan, and they would be a constant source of trouble for those who are God’s children. And thus, when God saved Adam and his wife it only included the first contingent of children, but not the second. The first contingent of children was chosen unto salvation. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. It was like the first act of God. This was the first sign of the sovereignty of God in salvation. Let us now also agree on the terminology of salvation. When were we saved? Some people say we were saved before the foundation of the world. That is wrong. The man on the radio has been promoting the idea that Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world. That is heresy, for the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly tells us that Christ was crucified only once, and that was in AD 33. It reflects a sloppy reading of the English KJV, whereas we should realize that the inspired text is the Hebrew and Greek text. When we were born we came into this world with a wicked nature in body and soul, and we were by nature the children of the wrath of God. We were, so to speak, going on a slippery slide into Hell even as others who never will be saved. And so, when we read in 2Tim 1:9, let us read this carefully,

2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

This is not a verse we should interpret chronologically. Our works were not in question before the foundation of the world. Indeed He saved us and called us with an holy calling. But when Did God call us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in this age, in the 20th or the 21st century. And what was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began? Not salvation, but it was His own purpose and grace that was given us. God says in Eph 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” You see it was the purpose of God to choose His elect before the foundation of the world, and it was His grace that guided us through all the events in our life, but He did not save us until He effectually called us and gave us the faith to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only then were we actually washed from our sins. Only then were we transformed from sinners into saints.

Please turn now to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 2:17 (2X). What we see here in the last part of Heb 2 is the distinguishing grace and predestinating love of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is called God’s elect, from Isa 42:1, and His people are chosen in Him, from Eph 1:4. And now we encounter the second of Christ’s attributes:

#2.       Mediator (Heb 2:17-18, Rom 3:23, 1Tim 2:5-6, Rom 5:10)

Heb 2:17-18  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 (Lit: propitiation) for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

What is a Mediator? A mediator mediates between two warring parties. Before we were Born Again God was our enemy. We were at war with God. But Christ caused us to have peace with God. He was our Mediator. How did He do it? The answer is here in Heb 2:17. First of all, “it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.” This means that He, God the Son, the creator of the universe, the one who is God and who is One with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, had to step down from His lofty place and become a man. What an infinite step down that was! And so, what we are going to encounter in these two verses is the incarnation of Christ, the priesthood of Christ, the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the temptation of Christ, and the succor of Christ. We have a full plate, and we ask that God the Holy Spirit will guide us so that we will remain faithful to His Word. Since the human race is an organism, Christ had to become like one of us so that He could become our faithful high priest. This is how Christ entered into history. First He was born of the Virgin Mary with the main purpose that He would give His life on the cross for us. But in all things He became like one of us in His human nature. For He was hungry, and thirsty, overcome with fatigue, and He slept. As a child He had to be taught, He grew in wisdom concerning the things around Him, He increased in stature, and He grew in mental and physical strength. In His affections He loved, He was astonished and He marveled at men’s unbelief. Sometimes He was glad and rejoiced in spirit, sometimes He was angry and indignant, as when He saw the hypocrisy of the Jews. Zeal like fire burned within Him, and He showed a vehement fervor in protecting the holiness of God’s temple. He was grieved, He trembled with emotion, and sometimes He was overcome by the prospect of suffering when He beheld the future before Him. He exercised faith, He read the Scriptures for His own guidance, He prayed the whole night, He sighed when He saw a man who was dumb, tears fell from His eyes when He saw the power of death and of Satan at the tomb of Lazarus and  at the sight of Jerusalem, His supplications were with strong crying and tears, and His soul was exceeding sorrowful. He passed through all the experiences of men, except in sin and sickness.

Please turn to the First Epistle to Timothy, 1Tim 2:5 (2X). It was necessary that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of a woman, for He had to be both God and man. He had to be man because man has sinned and thus man has to atone for those sins. We read in Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” He had to be God, for only if He was God could He endure the penalty of an eternity in Hell, for that is what the righteousness of God required. Therefore He took on Himself the nature of a man so that He could become our High Priest, and as Priest He could become our Mediator. What is a priest? A priest is the opposite of a prophet. A prophet brings a message from God to the people. A priest brings a petition from the people to God. What was the petition that He brought to God? Paraphrased I would say: He brought the ransom to the Father and pleaded that the Father would accept it as full payment for all the sins that His children had committed. We read in 1Tim 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” But more than that, after His atonement for our sins He still intercedes for us every day, for we read in Rom 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being (or having been) reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” In other words after we have become Born Again the Lord is continuing to intercede for us so that all circumstances will turn out in favor of those who are the elect children of God. Christ is not interceding for our many sins, for these have already been paid at the cross, but He is interceding for the many circumstances in history that need to be turned into His favor upon the children of God. He controls all of history, for He controls when He is coming again. Next we will look at:

#3.       Propitiation (Rom 3:24-26, Lev 17:11, Heb 11:1, 2:17)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 3:24 (2X). The word “propitiation” is a compound word derived from “a provision for pity” or “a provision for mercy.” And thus it is not something abstract, but it is something that can be objectively viewed. This provision for pity, or provision for mercy, is a covering for our sins. What is that covering? Symbolically speaking, the covering is the blood of Christ which covers all our sins, so that God only sees the blood, but He does not see our sins. But in order for His blood to flow Christ first had to be made man. And thus we see that the word propitiation is used instead of “atonement”. The word “atonement” is not used in the New Testament; it is only used in the Old Testament. Christ used His own self to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Atonement for the sins of God’s elect could not be made except the Son became Man; except He became “all of one” with those who had from eternity past been set apart in the counsels of the Most High to be brought unto glory; except He took part in “flesh and blood”, and in all things be made like unto His brethren.

To illustrate that the concept of propitiation is an object, the context of Rom 3:25 bears out that an objective provision for mercy has been made. We read in Rom 3:24-26,

Rom 3:24-26 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

In Rom 3:24 we are told that we are justified by the liberation purchased by the payment of a ransom which is in Christ Jesus. This can only mean that our account, as sinners, before a holy God is objectively settled. In Rom 3:26 this propitiation in Christ’s blood, this vindication of God’s righteousness, is said to be directed to the purpose “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” In other words, the propitiation by the blood of Christ vindicates God’s holy character as He justifies the sinner. And when we speak of “the blood of Christ” we actually mean “the life of Christ,” for “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev 17:11). Christ gave His life, both body and soul, since the penalty for sin is to be cast body and soul for an eternity in Hell.

Without the propitiation God would be saying, “Sin may be ignored.” With the propitiation in the life of Christ God is saying, “This is what your sin cost Me, and I bore it in My Son, as I justified you.”

Now, what does Rom 3:25 say? “God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” We might get the impression that the covering for our sins is obtained through our faith in His blood. And thus the simple act of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah would be sufficient to wipe away all our sins. But that is not so. We need to harmonize this concept with the concept that salvation is by grace alone; it is a free gift, not of works, and thus our action of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ cannot contribute one iota to our salvation. And thus, the propitiation, or the gift of Christ’s payment by His life, is not obtained by our faith in His blood, but is obtained freely by grace, and it is evidenced by God’s gift of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross. But the faith must be a gift from God or else it would not harmonize with salvation by grace. That is why God writes in Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is the evidence that I am a child of God. Let us now return to Heb 2:17, for we read another word there:

Heb 2:17  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.

It is unfortunate that the KJV translators chose the word “reconciliation” instead of “propitiation”, for it is a totally different Greek word. Reconciliation is one of the effects or fruits of propitiation; reconciliation is between God and us; propitiation is only God ward, like atonement. Propitiation was the appeasing of God’s holy anger and righteous wrath; reconciliation is entering into the peace which the atoning sacrifice of Christ has purchased. That leads us into the next word we need to understand: Reconciliation.

#4.       Reconciliation (2Cor 5:18-19, Rom 4:8, 5:11)

   Please turn in your Bibles to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2Cor 5:18 (2X).   What is the meaning of

reconciliation? It means to bring peace to two warring parties. Before our salvation we were at war with God. Then Christ brought peace with God, because He took away our sins that were offensive to God. Propitiation is the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and reconciliation is the result of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the result being that we have peace with God. These two words have been mixed up by the translators, but we do not have that excuse any more, for we can see clearly what is the first cause and what is the second cause. We have peace with God because Christ paid for our sins. But Christ did not pay for our sins because we have peace with God, for we were enemies of God until the payment of Christ was applied to our souls. And what task did God give us after our salvation?

2Co 5:18-19  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Let us paraphrase this by substituting the words “made peace” instead of “reconcile”. What do these verses say? All things are of God, who has made peace with us through the cross of Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry to others making peace with God; “To wit”, means “As.” As that God was in Christ making peace between the world and Himself through the cross of Christ, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed unto us the word toward others of making peace with God. We can understand this clearly: God wants us to be ambassadors for Christ, letting others hear the words of the Gospel and have them too make peace with God. And thus, the world, mentioned in verse 19, is not the whole world, but only the world of the elect, which is also proven by the following words, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Why did God include these words into verse 19? If God would have left these words out of verse 19 would it have changed the meaning of it? And the answer is: absolutely not. Verse 19 would still have read, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. But who are those to whom God will not impute their trespasses unto them? In other words, who are those who will not be charged with guilt even though they are committing sins against God? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 4:8 (2X). This is an amazing thing that God was willing to be reconciled, to make peace, with those people who were enemies of God, but to whom God will not charge any sin. Did God know ahead of time that these enemies were going to be the friends of God? And indeed God did know them ahead of time. We read in Rom 4:7-8,

Rom 4:7-8, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Now we understand that the Lord Jesus Christ paid for all the sins of those who are His elect. They are the ones whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered by the blood of Christ. Therefore these are the ones to whom the Lord will not impute sin. These are the ones who in 2Cor 5:19 are characterized by, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” And thus, reconciliation between God and man will occur only between God and His elect, those whom He chose to become saved before the foundation of the world. And let us also look now at Rom 5:11, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Again, it is an unfortunate choice of the KJV translators to use the word “atonement”, for the word “atonement” does not appear anywhere in Greek text of the New Testament. It is not even the word propitiation, which is a synonym for atonement. It should have been translated “reconciliation” which is a result of propitiation. The essence of Rom 5:11 is, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received peace with God.” Now the next word is “Redeemer”, or “Kinsman.”

#5.       Kinsman-Redeemer (Psalm 19:14, Ruth 2:20, John 8:44)

Please turn to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 19:14 (2X). A Kinsman is a next of kin to someone who has fallen victim to circumstances or who has fallen victim to a criminal act. The Kinsman is a powerful near relative who is able to help his relative in need. We can see this in three examples. The first one is Psalm 19, the last verse. Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” My Rock is Christ; He is my unmovable strong tower in whom I can put my trust, and He is my Redeemer, my near Kinsman who will be my Defender and my Avenger, who will be my husband in this life and in the life hereafter. Secondly please turn to the Prophecy of Ruth, Ruth 2:20 (2X). Two impoverished widows came back to Bethlehem from the country of Moab where they have been when a famine ravaged the land of Judah. Their names were Naomi and her daughter in law Ruth. Then Ruth told Naomi where she had gleaned.

Ru 2:20  And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

And the word “Kinsmen” is the word “Redeemer.” What would the Redeemer do for them? Since Ruth was a widow without any relative who could support her Boaz, the Redeemer, would marry her, and he would buy the property for Naomi and Ruth that Naomi lost in her poverty. The Redeemer would buy the property, and turn it over free of charge to the original owner. The Redeemer would marry the widow of his deceased brother and generate children on behalf of his dead brother, which is a picture of our salvation through Christ. Here is the picture: We come to Christ as widows, having no husband, for our wicked husband died and is no longer giving us spiritual support. We were impoverished and dying. Then Christ had mercy on us, He takes us in and becomes our Bridegroom, and we are to be married on the Last Day. Please turn now to the Gospel According to John, John 8:44 (2X). The third example is when a murder has taken place. I have been murdered. The murderer flees to a far country, but my Redeemer, my next of kin, is also the Avenger of blood. He will catch up with the murderer and will kill him. This is the promise of God to every one of His children who have been murdered by Satan. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” The Lord Jesus is referring to Satan’s lies in the Garden of Eden which caused the spiritual death of Adam and Eve and of the whole human race. The Lord promised that He will avenge our spiritual death on Satan, and this will also take place on the Last Day. Now listen carefully:

#6.       Justice (Rom 5:15)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 5:15 (2X). The Son of God became the Son of Man “to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” That is what we read in Heb 2:17. This was written on the subject of the atonement of Christ. It brings out the absolute righteousness of God concerning sin. But in the backs of the minds of many there lurks the suspicion that though it was marvellous grace and matchless love which moved God to give His only begotten Son to die for sinners, yet strictly speaking it was an act of unrighteousness. Was it right, or was it just, for an innocent person to suffer in the place of the guilty? Was it justice for the One who had so perfectly honored God and kept His law, to endure its awful penalty? If we say, “It had to be, there was no other way of saving us,” we have given no direct answer to this question. Instead we have been arguing on a hypocritical basis that “the end justifies the means.” Indeed a sinless substitute must be found to pay the wages of sin in our place. But would you not agree that it would have been infinitely better for all of us to be cast into the Lake of Fire, than for God to act unrighteously to His Only Beloved Son? Is it then true that our salvation has been purchased at the awful price of casting an everlasting dirty stigma upon the holy name of God? You see, this is how the theological schools of many have left it. It is a dirty trick of theology. And so, let us honestly face the question: Was God just in taking satisfaction from His spotless Son in order to purchase the salvation of His people? It is at this point that so many preachers have shown a zeal for that which is not according to knowledge. All their well meant efforts are simply carnal efforts. The atonement of Christ is the greatest transaction in the entire history of the universe, and we should not misrepresent it in any way, for that is blasphemy. As you know, blasphemy is bearing the name of the Lord in vain. That is what the Hebrew text says. Look at it this way: Under a perfectly righteous government of God no innocent person ever suffered and no guilty person ever escaped, and the atonement of the Son of God must not be an exception to this rule.

But, once we perceive that the atonement is founded upon the Unity of Christ and His people, a unity that was formed by Christ taking part of flesh and blood, then the righteousness of God is immediately cleared from any wrongdoing. The propitiation that was offered to God was not made by a stranger, or by a friend, but by the Head which was responsible for the acts of the members of His spiritual body. And now you can appreciate that I began this sermon with the fact that mankind is an organism. Adam is the federal head of the organism in the flesh, and now we have to insert into this mass of mankind another organism which is a spiritual organism with Christ as the federal Head. We read in Rom 5:15 and in the following verses about the two organisms.

Ro 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

By God’s providence whenever a murderer suffers capital punishment it is the head which is dealt with. In France the murderer is decapitated. In England the murderer is hanged. And for many centuries throughout many parts of Europe the criminal is hanged in public. Thus the head is responsible for the feet which were swift to shed blood, and for the hands which committed the deadly crime. Here then is the answer to our question. It was against no innocent victim that God raised His wrath. It was against the One who had graciously condescended to be “numbered with the transgressors,” who not only took their place but who had become one with them as a near Kinsman. The justice of God’s imputation of our sins on the account of the Lord Jesus Christ rested upon His oneness with His people. We became the Bride of Christ. When Christ became one with His people our guilt became His, like the debts of a wife become by marriage the debts of the husband. This is the legal rule on earth as well as before God in heaven. Let us see how this load of our sins weighed heavily on our Savior.

#7.       Debts of Sin (Psalm 40:6-8,12, Heb 2:17, Matt 1:21, John 10:11, Heb 1:14, 2:10,12,16, Eph 1:21-23)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 40:6 (2X). Psalm 40 is a Messianic Psalm, for when we read verses 6 through 8 we see that these words are repeated in Heb 10:6-9 as a prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let us read that here in Psalm 40:6-8,

Ps 40:6-8  Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Animal sacrifices and meat offerings the Lord does not require, for none of those can take away one sin. Then the Lord says, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.” What does that mean? It means that Christ and the Gospel of Christ were written in the entire volume of the Bible. And thus we should look for Christ in spiritual types and figures everywhere in the Bible, and ignore the critics, for we want to obey Christ rather than obey the critics. But look now how the weight of our sins laid heavily on Him. He said in verse 12, Psalm 40:12,

Ps 40:12  For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

Christ was making propitiation for the sins of His people. He called our iniquities His iniquities, because He voluntarily was numbered with the transgressors. The propitiation which Christ made was the perfect satisfaction that He offered to the holiness and justice of God on behalf of His people’s sins. And then those sins could be righteously blotted out, and removed forever from before the face of God “as far as the east is from the west.” And what we see is that the sacrificial work  of our Savior was a priestly act. And when we say in Heb 2:17 that it was “for the sins of the people” we should compare this with Matt 1:21, and with John 10:11, and then we come to the conclusion that atonement has been made for the sins of God’s elect only. “The people” are parallel with the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14), the many sons (Heb 2:10), the brethren (Heb 2:12), and the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16). It is with them alone that Christ identified Himself. They are the “all of one” of Heb 2:11, which is expressly defined as being only between “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified.” He laid hold of the seed of Abraham, and not the seed of Adam. He is the Head, not of mankind, but of His church, which is His body, and that is found in Eph 1:21-23. So we see that “universal atonement”, which mostly fails of its purpose, is an invention of Satan with the design to cast dishonor upon Christ who would then be a defeated savior. But that is not how God wrote the Bible. A particular atonement made for a particular people, all of whom shall enjoy the eternal benefits of it, that is what is uniformly taught in the Word of God. Let us now look at the last item:

#8.       Temptation (Heb 2:18, Luke 22:28)

Heb 2:18  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

To succour means “to come to the aid of” and to tempt also means to try or to test, and to test someone’s faith by enticements to sin. The Lord Jesus was tempted, but He did not give in to the tempter, He never yielded, and thus He suffered. We do not suffer when we yield to temptation: the flesh takes pleasure in the things by which it is tempted. But when our spirit resists the attacks of the enemy, whether it is subtle, or by persecution, then we suffer. This the Lord did, and this we are called to do. The temptations to which our Lord was subjected were real temptations, which caused Him to suffer, and which caused a conflict within Him. However, it was absolutely impossible that the Lord Jesus would give in to even one of those temptations, for that would have disqualified Him for being our Redeemer, and it would have destroyed God’s entire purpose for creating man and for creating a salvation plan that is so exquisite and beautiful that no one in the world could even have imagined it. For example, we read in Luke 22:28, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.” What is the Lord saying there? He spoke of His life as one unbroken experience of trial. Also the Messianic Psalms indicate how real and deep His sufferings were. He was a “Man of Sorrows” and acquainted with grief. This makes Him unique in His compassion for us who are not able to live a life without sin. The Lord knows this, and we should know how great sinners we are. And then we can also reach out in love to those who have sinned, and have compassion on them.

Let us see ourselves now. Christ came to succour us who are being tempted. Let us clearly understand that it is not the flesh in us which needs succouring, but the new nature, the faithful heart that desires to please Him. Christ did not come to succour us before we were Born Again, for then we were enemies of God, and were in no need of His counseling concerning sin. But after we were Born Again we needed daily His counseling to mortify our members which are upon the earth. We are still in the wilderness, which provides nothing which ministers to us spiritually. We are living in a world where everything is opposed to true godliness. We are called upon to run the race which is set before us, to fight the good fight of faith, and for this we daily need His succour. We daily need His compassion and love and forgiveness so that we may learn also to have compassion and love and forgiveness to those who do step out of line, and in their youthful lust commit the unthinkable. Let us remember our past life and how the Lord was gentle with us, and He even was gentle in the midst of chastening us. Looking back we see that in the course of time the Lord has given us a faithful heart, a heart that desires to please Him at every occasion, a heart which shows that the love of God was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is in this condition actually that we would like the Lord to counsel us, and to tell us where He would like us to go. When we were young we had visions of grandeur, we were going to strike it big and make a big impact on this world. We would want to be a street preacher and turn this whole world upside down. When we are older we have become a little wiser and much humbler, and it is only now that the Lord can really use us to reach the people to whom He wanted us to minister. And we realize that it does no longer depend on us, it does not depend on our efforts, it does not depend on our communication skills, or our arguing skills, but it depends on where the Lord placed us. There is where we will serve Him, and there is His purpose for our life. Let us do that in all humility, and let us watch that we do not get contaminated with all the religious filth of our days. For in our zeal we are sometimes not careful with whom we come in contact. The Lord Jesus Christ is able to succour us in all our sufferings and sorrows.

As man, a man of sorrows, Thou hast suffered every woe, And though enthroned in glory now, Canst pity all Thy saints below. What a Savior! Almighty God, yet the all tender man. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.