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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.

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14. Forasmuch then as the children, etc., or, since then the children, etc. This is an inference from the foregoing; and at the same time a fuller reason is given than what has been hitherto stated, why it behooved the Son of God to put on our flesh, even that he might partake of the same nature with us, and that by undergoing death he might redeem us from it.

The passage deserves especial notice, for it not only confirms the reality of the human nature of Christ, but also shows the benefit which thence flows to us. “The Son of God,” he says, “became man, that he might partake of the same condition and nature with us.” What could be said more fitted to confirm our faith? Here his infinite love towards us appears; but its overflowing appears in this — that he put on our nature that he might thus make himself capable of dying, for as God he could not undergo death. And though he refers but briefly to the benefits of his death, yet there is in this brevity of words a singularly striking and powerful representation, and that is, that he has so delivered us from the tyranny of the devil, that we are rendered safe, and that he has so redeemed us from death, that it is no longer to be dreaded.

But as all the words are important, they must be examined a little more carefully. First, the destruction of the devil, of which he speaks, imports this — that he cannot prevail against us. For though the devil still lives, and constantly attempts our ruin, yet all his power to hurt us is destroyed or restrained. It is a great consolation to know that we have to do with an enemy who cannot prevail against us. That what is here said has been said with regard to us, we may gather from the next clause, that he might destroy him that had the power of death; for the apostle intimates that the devil was so far destroyed as he has power to reign to our ruin; for “the power of death” is ascribed to him from the effect, because it is destructive and brings death. He then teaches us not only that the tyranny of Satan was abolished by Christ’s death, but also that he himself was so laid prostrate, that no more account is to be made of him than as though he were not. He speaks of the devil according to the usual practice of Scripture, in the singular number, not because there is but one, but because they all form one community which cannot be supposed to be without a head. 4747     See Appendix I




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