Christ our Brother
- Febuary 9, 2014
- Were You There, Great is Thy Faithfulness, And can it be (Jesus and all in him is mine),
- Psalm 67 Make Your Face Shine upon Us
- OT Text:
- Deut 26
- NT Text:
- Hebrews 2:11-14
11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
- In verse 10 we looked at the necessity of Christ's sufferings. Or, to use the apostle's word, the fittingness of Christ's suffering. Thus answering the Jew's question of "why should the Christ be made lower than the angels?". He had to be made lower than the angels to be made into the perfect savior of man. Perfect as a justifier, meeting God's standard of justice; and perfect as a sanctifier to guide us on the way and road of holiness.
- This question, as it so often happens, leads to another:- We see that it is necessary for men to have an intermediary in order to be saved, but is that sufficient? Will God allow one man to take another's place? Can an innocent atone for the guilty?
- It was the sinner himself against whom the law denounced the judgment of death; and although the Lord Christ, undertaking to be a captain of salvation unto the sons of God, might be willing to suffer for them, yet what reason is there that the punishment of one should be accepted for the sin of another?
- Or, said another way, how is it that sinners should come to be partakers in these things as to be acquitted from sin and brought unto glory?
- In these verses the apostle addresses this great subject and inquiry.
- The answer to this question is simply thisvs 11: he who sanctifies and those who are to be sanctified have the very same nature. Because Christ took on a human nature and became like us in all respects except our sinfulness his sacrifice of himself counted as a first-fruits offering whereby the whole harvest was made holy. Christ as the first fruits of all who are saved represents us and sanctifies us as was typified in the Old Testament sacrifice of first-fruits.
The Sacrifice of First-Fruits
5 things about first fruits:
The First-fruits given to God were to be the first part of the harvest.
- Deut 26:1-2 1“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you ... 2you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground ...
The First-fruits given to God as a sacrifice were to be the best part of the harvest.
- Exod 34:26a The best of the first-fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. [The best]
- Not the lame, the sick, the spoiled, nor the blemished were to be given to God.
- Mal 1:13-14 Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
The First-fruits were to be the entirety of the first produce in many cases.
- Lev 19:23-25 23“When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. 24And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD.pause 25But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit
- Because, in giving of First-fruits, the entirety of the first harvest was given to God, if a storm or drought destroyed the rest of the harvest the giver would be left destitute.
First-fruits represented a special kind of faith, the kind of faith that is able to throw itself unreservedly on the faithfulness of God. I count on you LORD based on your promise that you will provide for me.
- Do you trust God like this? Can you throw yourself on him and his goodness entirely? More on this later
In First-fruits, the whole harvest was set apart to God and thus made holy in his sight (the portion brought represented the rest)
- Deut 26:1-2 1“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there.
- Deut 26:10-11 [and you shall say] 10And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. 11And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house
- "All the good" If you brought the first fruit of apples, the apples you brought represented all the apples that God was giving you and praising him for the whole harvest that was and the whole harvest that was yet to come.
Yet in all of this, the First-fruits offering had to be of the same kind as the harvest that it was representing.
- Ezek 44:30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests.
- Because the first-fruits given were of the same kind as the whole harvest of that type of fruit, the LORD saw it as a just representation and standing in for the rest of that particular type of harvest.
- Thus in the first fruits of the grain, grain had to be given as an offering or it could not sanctify the rest of the harvest of grain.
In the first fruit offering of your children (required by God after the 10th Egyptian plague), your first born child had to be dedicated to the LORD to represent the rest of your children. You could not offer grain as a substitute for your first-born, nor could your first-born be a substitute for your grain.
- Exod 22:29 “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me.
- Exod 13:2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
- The kind had to match, grain to represent grain, fruit to represent fruit, man to represent man.
All of these points are fulfilled by Christ and by his church in the New Covenant, but we focus here in Hebrews particularly on how the offering was able to make holy the entirety of the harvest because it was of one kind or nature with that harvest. Specifically, Man was able to represent man in the offering of first fruits.
- Num 3:11-13 11And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12“Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine, 13for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD.” Priestly office
- Soas our priest Christ to us is able to stand in as a sacrifice on our behalf in order that we all might be made holy in him because he is of the same kind and nature as we are.
- Behold the completeness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is said to be the wisdom of God1Cor 1:24.
- Romans 11:16 16If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. ESV
"Christ, the Sanctifier and his Church, the Sanctified Are All of One"
- "One Source"ESV, "One Father"NASB, "Same Father"NLT "Same Family"NIV, "One"KJV "ἐξ ἑνὸς"NA28
- One nature, that is "flesh and blood" is what is intended as can be seen in verse 14
- Heb 2:14a Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, ...
- Paul intends to show us that the Lord Christ was a fit sacrifice or an appropriate substitute for us and that because he was of the same nature or kind with us.
- For as in an offering made unto the Lord of the first-fruits, of meat or of meal, a parcel of the same nature with the whole was taken and offered, whereby the whole was sanctified,Lev. 2 so the Lord Jesus Christ being taken as the first-fruits of the nature of the children, and offered unto God, the whole lump, or the whole nature of man in the children,—that is, all the elect,—is separated unto God, and effectually sanctified in their season. And this gives the ground unto all the testimonies which the apostle produceth unto his purpose out of the Old Testament; for being thus of one nature with them, “he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” as he proves from Ps. 22 (Ps 18, Is 8)
- The agreement of Christ and the elect in one common nature is the foundation of his fitness to be an undertaker on their behalf, and of the equity of their being made partakers of the benefits of his mediation.
- He had in the previous sentences declared to them the necessity of a sacrifice to fit the demands of God's justice.
- He now declares to them the necessity of the union between Christ and them, whereby Christ became fit to suffer for them, as that they might enjoy the blessed effects of the deliverance and salvation that his sacrifice purchased for them who are of the same nature as he was.
- Therefore ...
"Not Ashamed to Call Them Brothers"
We are his brothers, signifying both the sharing of our nature and a love he has for us.
- In calling us brother, he declares that we are his family whom he loves
- He is not ashamed to call us brother that is, he does it willingly, cheerfully, and readily, without any sense of hesitation or reluctance.
Why is he not ashamed to call us such?
- For this reason, that he who sanctifies and we who are sanctified by him are all of one nature. "That is why he is not ashamed"
Do not these words "that is why" imply that he has good cause to be ashamed of us. And indeed he does have good cause.
- He is holy, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, without his sharing of our nature and his sanctifying work as our brother, he was and is unable to call us brother and friend.
- All are born guilty and defiled and only increase this guilt as we progress through life.
- Thus in Ezekiel, God compares us to an unwanted child cast into a field, gross, defiled, and wallowing in its own blood.
- Ezekiel 16:4–54And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. ESV
- Ezekiel 16:66“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ ESV
- I made you flourish, I spread the corner of my garment over you, [and I] entered into a covenant with you
- Then I bathed you, washed you, anointed you, clothed you, adorned you, until you grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty (excerpts from verses 9-13)
- I made you holy, beautiful, and righteous. By taking on your nature and becoming a sacrifice on your behalf I did all these things for you and therefore I am unashamed to be called your brother, for I have taken away your reproach by the virtue of my own blood, shared with you.
Thus Christ is the great sanctifier of the church ("he who sanctifies"), and he sanctifies his church that he might bring it to glory.
- Christ will never glorify an unsanctified person. The sanctified sharers of his nature alone are those he is unashamed to call brothers.
- The world would be glorified (and brought to heaven) by God but how many are desirous of being first sanctified by him. There is one way to glory, the way of holiness which as we have said before is paved with hardships and afflictions. Before we are brought to glory, we must be sanctified by our brother Jesus Christ, else, we have no part in him.
This is necessary on the part of the Father, the Son, and of us
Of God (we must be holy for God is holy)
- He is holy, of purer eyes than to behold evil. No unclean thing can stand in his presence. He is glorious in holiness and will be sanctified in all that draw near unto him. As he who calls us is holy so you to must be holy. Holiness becomes his house, and without holiness no man will see God.
If the Lord Christ, then, will bring the children unto God, he must make them holy, or they can have no admittance into his presence, no acceptance with him; for no unclean thing, nothing that defiles, can enter into the new Jerusalem, the place where his holiness dwells. It is utterly impossible that any soul not washed with the blood of Christ, not sanctified by his Spirit and grace, should stand in the sight of God. And this was expressed in all the typical institutions about cleansing which God appointed unto his people of old. He did it to teach them that unless they were sanctified, washed, and cleansed from their sins, they could be admitted unto no communion with him nor enjoyment of him. Neither can any serve him here unless their consciences be purged by the blood of Christ from dead works; nor can they come to him hereafter, unless they are washed from all their defilements. Their services here he rejects as an unclean and polluted thing; and their confidences for the future he despises as a presumptuous abomination. God will not divest himself of his holiness, that he may receive or be enjoyed by unholy creatures. And the day is coming wherein poor unsanctified creatures, who think they may miss holiness in the way to glory, shall cry out, “Who amongst us shall inhabit with those everlasting burnings?” for so will he appear unto all unsanctified persons.
- Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
Of Christ (we must be holy for Christ is holy)
- Christ is our head and we are to be members of his body. Now, he is holy, and so we must be also, or this relation will be very unsuitable and uncomely. A living head and dead members, a beautiful head and rotten members,—how uncomely would it be! Such a monstrous body Christ will never own. Nay, it would overthrow the whole nature of that relation, and take away the life and power of that union that Christ and his are brought into as head and members; for whereas it consists in this, that the whole head and members are animated, quickened, and acted by one and the self-same Spirit of life,—nor doth any thing else give union between head and members,—if they be not sanctified by that Spirit, there can be no such relation between them.
- Again, he takes them unto himself to be his bride and spouse. Now, you know that it was appointed of old, that if any one would take up a captive maid to be his wife, she was to shave her head, and pare her nails, and wash herself, that she might be meet for him. And the Lord Christ taking this bride unto himself, by the conquest he hath made of her, must by sanctification make them meet for this relation with himself. And therefore he doth it: Eph. 5:25–27,
- Eph 5:25-27 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Of the children themselves
- [They must be holy] for unless they are regenerate, or born again, wherein the foundation of their sanctification is laid, they can by no means enter into the kingdom of God.
- It is this that makes them “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” As without it they are not meet for their duty, so are they not capable of their reward. Yea, heaven itself, in the true light and notion of it, is undesirable unto an unsanctified person. Such a one neither can nor would enjoy God if he might.
In a word, there is no one thing required of the sons of God that an unsanctified person can do, no one thing promised unto them that he can enjoy.
- Just as without the new nature, you cannot do any right act before God. So you cannot enjoy any one gift from God. Both the doing and the receiving with joy require the new nature. What would the unregenerate man do in heaven?
Edwards way of holiness?
- Isaiah 35:8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. ESV
- God cannot make you happy unless he first make you holy
- It is grown amongst us almost an abhorrency unto all flesh, to say that the church of God is to be holy ... Yet is there nothing at this day more contended for in this world than that Christ might be thought to be a captain of salvation unto them unto whom he is not a sanctifier,—that he may have an unholy church, a dead body. These things tend neither to the glory of Christ, nor to the good of the souls of men. Let none, then, deceive themselves: sanctification is a qualification indispensably necessary unto them who will be under the conduct of the Lord Christ unto salvation, he will lead none to heaven but whom he sanctifies on the earth. The holy God will not receive unholy persons; this living head will not admit of dead members, nor bring men into the possession of a glory which they neither love nor like.
- Of God (we must be holy for God is holy)
- Can you see in this, the distance that is between you and God. He is Holy. How will you stand in the presence of the Holy GOD?
- While we were yet sinners Christdied for you.
- If God took you, loved you and sent his Son for you while you were at your worst and most unholy
- If Christ took you and owned you for a brother while you were yet unsanctified of whom he is unashamed, how much more will he do so now that the process is begun in you.
- If God took you in this condition of your distance from him and his ways and has become unashamed of you nonetheless, this should be a ground of everlasting consolation to you in all your troubles in this life.
- No unworthiness in you, no misery upon you, shall ever hinder the Lord Christ from owning you, and openly avowing you to be his brethren. He is a brother born for the day of trouble, a friend for the friendless a father for the fatherless. Let your miseries be what they will, he will be not be ashamed of you unless he says, you are ashamed first of him.
- God all glorious is not ashamed of you. Be not ever ashamed of him.
The Jews were somehow ashamed to call him brother because he was made lower than the angels. The absurdity of this is beyond the abilities of my skill with words to convey. Yet I will try.
- Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- Mark 8:36-38 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
- This is a powerful motivation to not being ashamed of Christ, yet I believe there is an even more powerful motivation yet. He is not ashamed of you!
He should be.
- You are a worm, sinful, comparable to a child in his blody mess being cast into an open field, and God who is high and holy is not ashamed of you?
- He has every right and warrent to be ashamed of you. It would make perfect sense if he was ashamed of you, yet he is not ashamed to call you brother.
- Never, ever, ever be ashamed of him! We have the high priveledge of calling him brother.
It is absurd that we are even thought of by God, and great are his thoughts towards us. We would never put ourselves in the same room as God. If we were in the same room, we would lower our eyes and scarce look at him in his holiness. This very God lifts up our face and not only says,
- You can be here as a servant and I'll tolerate your presence
- Nor what is more, you can be here as my friend and live with me here
- He goes beyond all of these and says you are my brother. My brother! We are in the same family. This is your home. I am yours and you are mine. Your hurts are my hurts and my graces are now your graces. The promises that were given to me by my Father are now given to you as well and are now your promises.
- Be never ashamed of him for he is not ashamed of you.