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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 2 - Verse 10
Verse 10. For it became him. There was a fitness or propriety in it. It was such an arrangement as became God to make, in redeeming many, that the great agent by whom it was accomplished, should be made complete in all respects by sufferings. The apostle evidently means by this to meet an objection that might be offered by a Jew to the doctrine which he had been stating—an objection drawn from the fact, that Jesus was a man of sorrows, and that his life was a life of affliction. This he meets by stating that there was a fitness and propriety in that fact. There was a reason for it —a reason drawn from the plan and character of God. It was fit, in the nature of the case, that he should be qualified to be a complete or perfect Saviour—a Saviour just adapted to the purpose undertaken, by sufferings. The reasons of this fitness the apostle does not state. The amount of it probably was, that it became him, as a Being of infinite benevolence—as one who wished to provide a perfect system of redemption—to subject his Son to such sufferings as should completely qualify him to be a Saviour for all men. This subjection to his humble condition, and to his many woes, made him such a Saviour as man needed, and qualified him fully for his work. There was a propriety that he who should redeem the suffering and the lost should partake of their nature; identify himself with them; and share their woes, and the consequences of their sins.
For whom are all things. With respect to whose glory the whole universe was made; and with respect to whom the whole arrangement for salvation has been formed. The phrase is synonymous with "the Supreme Ruler;" and the idea is, that it became the Sovereign of the universe to provide a perfect scheme of salvation—even though it involved the humiliation and death of his own Son.
And by whom are all things. By whose agency everything is made. As it was by his agency, therefore, that the plan of salvation was entered into, there was a fitness that it should be perfect. It was not the work of fate or chance, and there was a propriety that the whole plan should bear the mark of the infinite wisdom of its Author.
In bringing many sons unto glory. To heaven. This was the plan—it was to bring many to heaven who should be regarded and treated as his sons. It was not a plan to save a few—but to save many. Learn hence,
(1.) that the plan was full of benevolence.
(2.) No representation of the gospel should ever be made which will leave the impression that a few only, or a small part of the whole race, will be saved. There is no such representation in the Bible, and it should not be made. God intends, taking the whole race together, to save a large part of the human family. Few in ages that are past, it is true, may have been saved, few now are his friends and are travelling to heaven; but there are to be brighter days on earth. The period is to arrive when the gospel shall spread over all lands; and during that long period of the millennium, innumerable millions will be brought under its saving power, and be admitted to heaven. All exhibitions of the gospel are wrong which represent it as narrow in its design, narrow in its offer, and narrow in its result.
To make the captain of their salvation. The Lord Jesus, who is represented as the leader or commander of the army of the redeemed— "the sacramental host of God's elect." The word "captain" we apply now to an inferior officer—the commander of a "company" of soldiers. The Greek word —archgov—is a more general term, and denotes, properly, the author or source of any thing; then a leader, chief, prince. In Ac 3:15, it is rendered prince—" and killed the prince of life." So in Ac 5:31—"Him hath God exalted to be a prince and a Saviour." In Heb 12:2, it is rendered author: "Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Comp. See Barnes "Heb 12:2".
Perfect through sufferings. Complete by means of sufferings; that is, to render him wholly qualified for his work, so that he should be a Saviour just adapted to redeem man. This does not mean that he was sinful before, and was made holy by his sufferings; nor that he was not in all respects a perfect man before;—but it means, that by his sufferings he was made wholly fitted to be a Saviour of men; and that therefore the fact of his being a suffering man was no evidence, as a Jew might have urged, that he was not the Son of God. There was a completeness, a filling up, of all which was necessary to his character as a Saviour, by the sufferings which he endured. We are made morally better by afflictions, if we receive them in a right manner—for we are sinful, and need to be purified in the furnace of affliction; Christ was not made better, for he was before perfectly holy, but he was completely endowed for the work which he came to do, by his sorrows. Nor does this mean here precisely that he was exalted to heaven as a reward for his sufferings, or that he was raised up to glory as a consequence of them—which was true in itself—but that he was rendered complete, or fully qualified to be a Saviour by his sorrows, he was rendered thus complete,
(1.) because his suffering in all the forms that flesh is liable to, made him an example to all his people who shall pass through trials. They have before them a perfect model to show them how to bear afflictions. Had this not occurred, he could not have been regarded as a complete or perfect Saviour—that is, such a Saviour as we need.
(2.) He is able to sympathize with them, and to succour them in their temptations, Heb 2:18.
(3.) By his sufferings an atonement was made for sin. He would have been an imperfect Saviour—if the name Saviour could have been given to him at all—if he had not died to make an atonement for transgression. To render him complete as a Saviour, it was necessary that he should suffer and die; and when he hung on the cross in the agonies of death, he could appropriately say, "It is finished." The work is complete, All has been done that could be required to be done; and man may now have the assurance that he has a perfect Saviour—perfect not only in moral character, but perfect in his work, and in his adaptedness to the condition of men." Comp. Heb 5:8,9; See Barnes "Lu 13:32.
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