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2. Warning to Pay Attention
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them. 2For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; 4God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will. 5For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one hath somewhere testified, saying,
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels;
Thou crownedst him with glory and honor,
And didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet.
For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. 9But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12saying,
I will declare thy name unto my brethren,
In the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise.
13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I and the children whom God hath given me. 14Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16For verily not to angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
11. For both he that sanctifieth, etc. He proves that it was necessary that what he had said should be fulfilled in the person of Christ on account of his connection with his members; and he also teaches that it was a remarkable evidence of the divine goodness that he put on our flesh. hence he says,
that they are all of one, that is, that the author of holiness and we are made partakers of it, are all of one nature, as I understated the expression. It is commonly understood of one Adam; and some refer it to God, and not without reasons; but I rather think that one nature is meant, and one I consider to be in the neuter gender, as though he had said, that they are made out of the same mass.
Though many, ancient and modern, such as Chrysostom, Beza, Grotius and Bloomfield, regard “God” as meant here by “one”, yet the context is in favor of the view taken by Calvin, which is also adopted by Dr. Owen and Stuart. The 14th verse seems to decide the question.
The word to sanctify ἁγιάζω, means — 1. To consecrate, to set apart to a holy use or to an office, Matthew 23:19; John 17:19; — 2. To purify from pollution, either ceremonially, Hebrew 9:13, or morally and spiritually, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; — 3. To purify from the guilt of sin by a free remission, Hebrews 10:10, compared with verses 14 and 18. Now, which of these meanings are we to take here? Calvin takes the second, that is to purify from pollution, or to make spiritually holy; others, such as Stuart and Bloomfield, take the last meaning, and the latter gives the rendering, “the expiator and the expiated,” This is more consistent with the general tenor of the passage. The subject is not sanctification properly so called, but expiation or atonement. See verses 9 and 17. — Ed.
It avails not, indeed, a little to increase our confidence, that we are united to the Son of God by a bond so close, that we can find in our nature that holiness of which we are in want; for he not only as God sanctifies us, but there is also the power of sanctifying in his human nature, not that it has it from itself, but that God had poured upon it a perfect fullness of holiness, so that from it we may all draw. And to this point this sentence refers, “For their sakes I sanctify myself.” (John 17:19.) If, then we are sinful and unclean, we have not to go far to seek a remedy; for it is offered to us in our own flesh. If any one prefers to regard as intended here that spiritual unity which the godly have with the Son of God, and which differs much from that which men commonly have among themselves, I offer no objection, though I am disposed to follow what is more commonly received, as it is not inconsistent with reason.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren. This passage is taken from Psalm 22:22. That Christ is the speaker there, or David in his name, the evangelists do especially testify, for they quote from it many verses, such as the following, — “They parted my garments,” — “They gave gall for my meat,” — “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And further, the other parts of the chapter prove the same; for we may see in the history of the passion a delineation of what is there related. The end of the Psalm, which speaks of the calling of the Gentiles, can be applied to none but to Christ alone, “Turn to the Lord shall all the ends of the world; adore before him shall all the families of the nations,” — “The Lord’s is the kingdom, and he will reign over the nations.” These things are found accomplished only in Christ, who enlarged the kingdom of God not over a small space, as David did, but extended it over the whole world; it was before confined as it were within narrow limits. There is, then, no doubt but that his voice is what is referred to in this passage; and appropriately and suitably does he say that he is not ashamed; for how great is the distance between us and him? Much, then, does he let down himself, when he dignifies us with the name of brethren; for we are unworthy that he should deem us his servants. And this so great an honor conferred on us is amplified by this circumstance — Christ does not speak here as a mortal man while in the form of a servant, but when elevated after the resurrection into immortal glory. Hence this title is the same, as though he had raised us into heaven with himself. And let us remember, whenever we hear that we are called brethren by Christ, that he has clothed us, so to speak, with this honor, that together with this fraternal name we may lay hold on eternal life and every celestial blessing. 4242 “If Christ was merely a man and nothing more, where (we may ask with Abresch) would be either the great condescension, or particular kindness manifested in calling men his brethren? If however, he possessed a higher nature, if ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, Philippians 2:7, if ἐκένωσε ἑαυτὸν μορφὴν δούλου λαβὼν, Philippians 2:8; then was it an act of particular kindness and condescension in him to call men his brethren?” — Stuart
We must further notice the office which Christ assumes, which is that of proclaiming the name of God; and this began to be done when the gospel was first promulgated and is now done daily by the ministry of pastors. We hence learn, that the gospel has been presented to us for this end, that we may be brought to the knowledge of God, in order that his goodness may be celebrated by us, and that Christ is the author of the gospel in whatever manner it may be offered to us. And this is what Paul says, for he declares that he and others were ambassadors for Christ; and he exhorted men as it were in the name of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20.) And this ought to add no small reverence to the gospel, since we ought not so much to consider men as speaking to us, as Christ by his own mouth; for at the time when he promised to publish God’s name to men, he had ceased to be in the world; it was not however to no purpose that he claimed this office as his own; for he really performs it by his disciples.