The Captain of Our Salvation
- January 19, 2014
- Rock of Ages 227, Crown Him with Many Crowns 92,
- Hebrews 2:10
10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ESV
Last week our continued comparison of Christ and the angels led us to what apperas to have been an underlying issue of the Jews and a reason why Christ was lower in their eyes than he ought to have been, and this is -- the suffering and death of Christ.
- Hebrews 2:9 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ESV
This was their stumbling block what they were most offended at and confused by, that the Christ should suffer death.
- They said to him on the cross, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" implying that his suffering was proof to them that he was not the Son of God.
This even his own disciples were slow to believe
- Matt 16:21-22 21From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." ESV
- Matt 17:22-23 22As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. ESV
- Luke 24:25-26 25And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” ESV
- Because of this difficulty of the Jews in believe in a suffering Christ , Paul in his letter to the Hebrews sets out to show the fittingness of the sufferings of Christ as was his habit practice towards the Jews.
For it was fitting...
- Paul begins his argument here, the appropriateness or suitability of Christ's suffering.
- And though these words begin our verse we will save our discussion for them until the last, when we will ask the question; "Why was it fitting for Christ to have died."
II. He for whom and by whom all things exist
- The LORD hath made all things for himself Prov 16:4 KJV his glory is the final cause, or the reason, behind everything.
- This subject deserves volumes. God is the upholder of all things, and all things exist for his glory.
- Rom 11:33-36 33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ESV
- Everything that exists has its existence for this reason, to put God's glory on display. Rocks exist for this reason, angels exist for this reason, Satan and the demons exist for this reason, the deer in the fields and the eagles soaring in the sky exist for this reason, the sun moon and stars exist for this reason. Everything, everything is both upheld by God and upheld for this purpose, to give him glory. More. This is why you exist.
- Does this make you worship? Does this make you dance in your heart? You exist to display the glory of God.
- This subject deserves much more time and effort than we are here giving it, but we have much more to discuss.
III. "In Bringing Many Sons to Glory" God the Author of Our Salvation
- Who is it, in our verse that brings many sons to glory?
- We ought to take care to remember the Father as the great originator of our salvation. It was he who first loved us.
- Rom 5:8 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ESV
- Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?ESV
How does God so love us?
He predestined us
- Romans 8:28–29 28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ESV
He was the originator of the inter-trinitarian plan (covenant?) to redeem man
- Titus 1:2 1Paul, [writes] 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began ESV
- John 17:24 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ESV
He first gave the promise of the covenant of grace to us
- Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
He gave and sent his Son to be a Saviour and our Redeemer
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
He draws us, and enables us to come to the Son, to believe in him, and so to obtain life, salvation, and glory by him
- John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
- When Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ Matt 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
He reconciles us unto himself, by giving us pardon and forgiveness of sins in and by the promises of the gospel; without which we cannot come to glory. He is in Christ reconciling us unto himself, by the forgiveness of our sins for Christ’s sake.
- Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.ESV
- 2Cor 5:18-19 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. ESV
He sanctifies us by his Spirit, to make us “qualified (or fit) for the inheritance of the saints in light;” that is, for the enjoyment of glory.
- Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
- Rom 8:11b ... he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
He adopts us, and makes us his sons, that so he may bring us unto glory
- Eph 1:4b-5 In love 5he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
He guards our faith so that we might not lose it
- 1Pet 1:5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
He gives us the Holy Spirit as a comforter
- Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
- John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
- Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
- He predestined us
- In brief, in bringing the elect unto glory, all the sovereign acts of power, wisdom, love, and grace exerted therein, are ascribed unto the Father,
- And so, it is God the Father; whose love, wisdom, and grace, believers are principally to eye in the whole work of their salvation. It is he who is bringing many sons to glory and it is he, who in order to accomplish this purpose, sent his Son on our behalf to be the founder of our Salvation.
IV. Christ our Captain (Founder) in our Heavenly Journey
- As Hebrews looks to the Father the originator of our salvation, it looks to Jesus as the principle means of its accomplishment. Jesus is the way God in his infinite wisdom works out his plan of salvation for us.
- The KJV renders this word as "Captain" which carries with it some of the Greek emphasis of leadership in this word that founder does not get across as well. (Leader, ruler, prince)
- Isaiah 55:4 4Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. ESV
- Joshua 5:14 "I am the commander of the army of the LORD."
Jesus fulfills this role as the captain of our salvation, prefigured and typed by Moses and Joshua who led the Israelites into the promised land, an analogy that begins here and takes on the forefront of Paul's argument into chapter 3.
- All the sons of God are put under his conduct and guidance, as the people of old were put under the rule of Moses and Joshua, to bring them unto the glory designed for them, and promised unto them
The whole work of saving the sons of God, from first to last, their guidance and conduct through sins and sufferings unto glory, is committed unto the Lord Jesus; whence he is constantly to be eyed by believers in all the concernments of their faith, obedience, and consolation
- Heb 3:6a but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son.
- Isaiah 22:20–23 In that day I will call my servant Eliakimwhom God will raise up the son of Hilkiah, 21and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. ESV
- There are two ways in which Christ is to us our captain. Owen says:
There is a double act of God's predestination: the first is his designation of some unto grace, to be sonsEph. 1:5; the other, his appointment of those sons unto glory; both to be wrought and accomplished by Christ, the captain of their salvation
- The Captain of Justification: Christ is our captain in that he fought on our behalf. He did for us, on our behalf what we could never do, he reconciled us to God.
- The Captain of Sanctification: Christ is our captain in that he leads us to heaven. He did for us what we must do and guides us into what we must become that is Holy, that we may dwell at peace with God.
These come together in some extent in that he is our fore-runner. Without which we would never have justification nor sanctification.
- Hebrews 6:20 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. ESV
- He our priest went into the holy of holies to both plead our forgiveness and to intercede for us in our heavenly journey.
- So that this expression denotes both his acquisition of salvation itself, and his conduct or leading of the people of God unto the enjoyment of it.
Hebrews as a book deals primarily with this second topic
- He [the author] deals not with the Hebrews in this epistle about the conversion of the elect, the traduction of them into a state of grace and sonship, but of the government of them being made sons, and their guidance unto glory. And therefore the sufferings of Christ, which absolutely and in themselves are the cause of our sonship and reconciliation with God, are mentioned here only as the means whereby Christ entered into a condition of leading sons unto glory, or of saving them who, upon the account of his sufferings, are made sons by grace. But yet this is not so precisely respected neither, but that the apostle withal intimates the necessity of the suffering of Christ, as to the whole effect of it towards the elect.
- Heb 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.ESV
- Hebrews declares to those who are already saved that they must take great care and effort to continue on in the race set before them. This will be declared to us consistently throughout the epistle.
V. Made Perfect through Suffering (Or the Necessity of Suffering)
- Jesus was made perfect through suffering. If Jesus was made perfect through suffering, how shall I be made perfect?
Simply put the road to heaven is the road of sufferings.
- The Spirit himself who most directly sanctifies us is called "refiners fire"
- Mal 3:2-4 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. ESV
- Christians are like gold to be refined in the fire.
- Maybe Never did a believer perish by afflictions or persecutions;—never was good gold or silver consumed or lost in the furnace. Hypocrites, indeed, and false professors, the fearful, and unbelievers, are discovered by them, and discarded from their hopes: but they that are disciples indeed are never safer than in this way; and that because it is consecrated for them. Sometimes, it may be, through their unbelief, and want of heeding the captain of their salvation, they are wounded and cast down by them for a season; but they are still in the way, they are never turned quite out of the way.
The Lord Christ, being consecrated and perfected through sufferings, hath consecrated the way of suffering for all that follow him to pass through unto glory.
- But, some object, Jesus took the way of suffering so that we would not have to. Not so,
- Matt 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.ESV
- There is not one road toward heaven for Christ and another for us. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.
- Suffering has been made for us both necessary and unavoidable.
- And the Holy Ghost hereby (in declaring Christ made perfect by suffering) also intimates, that the way whereby God will bring the sons unto glory is full of difficulties, perplexities, and oppositions, as that of the Israelites into Canaan was also; so that they have need of a captain, leader, and guide, to carry them through it. But yet all is rendered safe and secure unto them, through the power, grace, and faithfulness of their leader. They only perish in the wilderness and die in their sins, who, either out of love unto the flesh-pots of Egypt, the pleasures of this world, or being terrified with the hardships of the warfare which he calls them unto, refuse to go up under his command
From the Scriptures
- 2 Timothy 3:12 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, ESV
- Acts 14:22b “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” ESV
- Romans 8:16–17 16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. ESV (No glory without suffering)
From Pilgrim's Progress
Now at the end of this valley was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Death; and Christian must needs go through it, because the way to the Celestial City lay through the midst of it. Now, this valley is a very solitary place. The prophet Jeremiah thus describes it: “A wilderness, a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought, and of the Shadow of Death, a land that no man” (but a Christian) “passeth through, and where no man dwelt.” Jer. 2:6.
I saw then in my dream, so far as this valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep ditch; that ditch is it into which the blind have led the blind in all ages, and have both there miserably perished. Again, behold, on the left hand there was a very dangerous quag, into which, if even a good man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on: into that quag king David once did fall, and had no doubt therein been smothered, had not He that is able plucked him out. Psa. 69:14. The pathway was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good Christian was the more put to it; for when he sought, in the dark, to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other; also, when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch. Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly; for besides the danger mentioned above, the pathway was here so dark, that ofttimes when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where, or upon what he should set it next. About the midst of this valley I perceived the mouth of hell to be, and it stood also hard by the wayside. Now, thought Christian, what shall I do? And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises, (things that cared not for Christian’s sword, as did Apollyon before,) that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake himself to another weapon, called All-prayer, Eph. 6:18; so he cried, in my hearing, O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Psa. 116:4
Does this not capture the flavor of your journey to heaven? Has it not been fraught with danger and difficulty? Take comfort Christ your captain goes on before you!
VI. & VII. It Was Fitting To Make Jesus Perfect Through Suffering
- Questions left to answer: fitting, from whom and by whom, made perfect through suffering.
- 2 possible sets of answers to these questions based on the 2 ways in which Christ is our captain.
Captain of our Justification
- Such is the desert of sin, and such is the immutability of the justice of God, that there was no way possible to bring sinners unto glory but by the death and sufferings of the Son of God, who undertook to be the captain of their salvation
Pointing out the god-ness of God.
- All things exist for the glory of God. This table exists for the glory of God and is upheld in its existence by God for that very reason.
- The God of all grace, the God of all truth, and all justice, and all mercy, and all love, and holiness.
- This God, is perfectly just and perfectly merciful and has designed the only way of salvation that meets his justice and his mercy.
- It was fitting for the glorious God to pick exactly this way of salvation, sending his own Son to die on sinners behalf.
- In pointing out the god-ness of God, that all things exist by him and for him, his immensity his power, the fittingness of all things being for him and the power of him supporting all things, this God has designed the perfect way of salvation and the fitting way of salvation that matches all of his attributes being God, especially his justice and mercy.
- And so he has consecrated (made perfect) Christ unto being our Captain of salvation. He has designed for him to be and so made him the lamb slain, the perfect sacrifice to save us from our estate of sin and misery.
- He is our captain who fought on our behalf. Who died so that though death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
- He is our captain who, on our behalf, took on the full measure of the wrath of God who was to us, in our sin and rebellion, our great enemy and has made peace between us and God.
Captain of our Sanctification
- As we said before, the way to heaven is hard. The gate is narrow and the way is hard. The way is lined with difficulties and hardships, and at intervals along this way there will be trials and persecution so that the way to heaven leads us directly through these trials and persecutions and any who would avoid them altogether must step altogether out of the way to heaven.
- When asked, "who then can be saved" Jesus answered, "with man it is impossible" Yet with God, "all things are possible"
- This God, for whom all things are possible, this same God is the God for whom all things exist, and by whom all things exist.
- This God is the God of the way, the road. All the things on the road are his things. The trials are the trials he has decided for you, the difficulties are what he has ordained to set before you to try your faith.
- The devil, with whom you will do battle like Christian with Apollyon, is God's devil, he is upheld by our God for the purposes of God.
- And what is the end of this road, where does it lead. To God himself, to our glorifying of him and enjoying of him forever in heaven. Thus, all the more necessary for this road and way to be frought with perils for it is these very perils through which we will be refined as pure gold and so made meet and fitted well to dwell with God in holiness. For if we somehow made it to our journeys end without such difficulties and thus without such holiness we would be immediately scorned as unholy and thus unable to abide in the presence of God.
- Now this God, by whom and for whom all things exist, knowing perfectly the road we must walk to heaven, knows perfectly our great need for a captain and guide on this perilous journey. Thus he has ordained and fitted a captain and shepherd for us, to guide and lead us home. This is Jesus, the captain of our salvation.
- He is our captain on this incredible, dangerous, and perilous journey of salvation. Being made perfect to this task in this way: because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
- In other words, because he walked the same path ahead of us, a path he had no need for himself to walk, but he walked it on our behalf, because of this he has become our perfect guide knowing every rock, rut, and root that might trip us along the way.
- And so, it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ESV