Sermon #1725 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Purpose of
Text: Hebrews 2:6-18
Date: Sunday Morning — December 23, 2007
Tape # Z-45b
Reading: John 1:1-18
My subject this morning is The Purpose of the Incarnation. We rejoice to know that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” that “God was manifest in the flesh.” But do we know why the Son of God assumed our nature? Was there a necessity for the incarnation? If so, what could the necessity have been? I ask these questions, not with the irreverence of carnal curiosity, but with utter reverence for God my Savior?
If he who is over all God, blessed forever, stoops to become a man, if he who is rich makes himself poor, if he who is Lord of all becomes himself a servant, there must be some great, divine necessity for such condescension. What was that necessity? Surely, the answer to that question will inspire the hearts of ransomed sinners to love and worship him all the more? Surely, to discover the answer to these questions will be edifying to our souls.
And the answer is not at all difficult to find. It is not tucked away and hidden in some secret code. This Book is not the hiding of God, but the Revelation of God. Why did Christ come?
· He came to do the will of God (Hebrews 10:5-14).
· He came to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
· He came to die, that God might be just and the justifier of all who believe (Romans 3:24-26).
Many, many passages of Scripture are specifically devoted to telling us why Christ came. There is no reason for anyone to be in the dark about the purpose of our Lord’s incarnation. But there is no place in the Word of God where the purpose and necessity of our Lord’s incarnation is so fully explained, especially in the light of the Old Testament Scriptures as it is in the Book of Hebrews. Turn with me to that blessed, inspired commentary on the Old Testament.
In the opening verses of chapter one, we see the unrivalled excellence and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate God, as our Redeemer, Savior and Lord (Hebrews 1:1-5). He is unrivaled in his excellence, supremacy and glory as…
· The Son of God and the Revelation of God. — “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (vv. 1-2).
· The appointed Heir of all things. — “Whom he hath appointed heir of all things” (v. 2).
· Our Divine Creator. — “By whom also he made the worlds” (2).
· The brightness of the glory of God. — “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (v. 3).
· The Sustainer of the universe. — “Upholding all things by the word of his power” (v. 3).
· Our blessed Redeemer. — “When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (v. 3).
· The exalted Son, our sovereign Lord. — “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (vv. 4-5).
In the rest of chapter one the Holy Spirit tells us that the thing he has in mind in this passage is the incarnation of Christ. He is telling us that this unrivalled excellence of Christ, his glorious exaltation and supremacy specifically relates to and is the result of his incarnation. The glory that Christ now possesses as the God-man in heaven is the reward of his incarnation and obedience as our Substitute. Read verses 6-9 with me.
(Hebrews 1:6-9) “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (7) And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (8) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (9) Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
“Christ exalted, is our song,
Hymn’d by all the blood-bought throng;
To His throne our shouts shall rise,
God with us by sacred ties.
Shout, believer, to thy God,
He hath once the wine-press trod ;
Peace procured by blood divine,
Cancell’d all thy sins and mine.
Here thy bleeding wounds are heal’d,
Sin condemn’d, and pardon seal’d;
Grace her empire still maintains;
Christ without a rival reigns.
Through corruption felt within,
Darkness, deadness, guilt and sin,
Still to Jesus turn thine eyes,
Israel’s hope and sacrifice.
In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee ;
With His spotless vesture on,
Holy as the Holy One.
O the heights, the depths of grace!
Shining with meridian blaze;
Here the sacred records show
Sinners black, but comely too.
Saints dejected, cease to mourn,
Faith shall soon to vision turn;
Ye the kingdom shall obtain
And with Christ exalted reign!”
In the first chapter of Hebrews the Holy Spirit declares the excellence, supremacy and glory of Christ as our incarnate God and Savior. Then, in the opening verse of chapter two, the inspired writer urges us “to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Then, in verses 9-18, he gives us a handle by which to grip theses things, showing us the purpose of our Lord’s incarnation. In these verses we are taught by God the Holy Spirit why the Son of God came into this world in our nature. Hold your Bibles open on your laps at Hebrews 2:6-18, and I will show you six reasons for the incarnation.
God’s Purpose for Man
Why did Christ come into this world? Why did the Son of God become the Son of man? I answer, first, — The Son of God became a man that he might fulfill God’s purpose for man (vv. 6-8).
(Hebrews 2:6-8) “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (7) Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (8) Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”
By the sin and fall of our father Adam, man who was made in the image of God lost his greatness and became the low, weak, sinful, groveling creature that he now is. Christ came into this world as a man to restore man to the glory for which God created him, to crown such fallen creatures as we are with glory and honor and put all things in subjection under us. We do not yet see all things put under our feet; but we are assured that they shall be, because “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (v. 9). By virtue of our union with Christ, we are, as John Trapp put it, “more glorious than heaven, angels, or any creature.”
The Suffering of Death
Why did the Son of God take our nature into union with himself? Here is the second answer. — Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God came into this world, assuming our nature, “for the suffering of death” (vv. 9-13)
(Hebrews 2:9) “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
He came here as a man, as one of us, assuming a real human body and a real human soul, made in all things like we are, sin alone excepted, that he might be capable of suffering death.
As once Joshua saw the sun go back ten degrees, here the Sun of Righteousness went ten degrees backward. He became lower than his Father by voluntary subjection to him, as his Servant. He became lower than the angels, for a while, being made in the likeness of sinful flesh. And he became the lowest of men, the very least in the kingdom of heaven, that he might save his people from their sins. He who is greater than all became the least of all, that he might give us all! Why?
“That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” that is for every man he would bring to glory, the children of God, his brethren (vv. 10-11). — He came here to save. In order to be our Savior, the Son of God had to become our Substitute and our Sin-offering. He had to die. But he could not die, except he become a man. Therefore he became a man that he might, by the grace of God, die under the wrath of God for chosen men! Justice had to be satisfied.
So we read in verse 10, “For it became him, in bringing many sons unto glory.” — These sons are those sinners chosen and predestinated to the adoption of children, redeemed by Christ, called by his Spirit and heirs of heavenly glory. There are many of them out of every kindred and nation (Romans 8:28-31; Revelation 5:9).
“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” In order to save us from our sins the Lord God must make his Son a perfect Savior by making him suffer death in our stead.
The Son of God is “the captain of their salvation.” He is called the Captain of our salvation because he is the Author of it; he is our King and Lord; he is our Guide and Leader. By the Father’s purpose and love (John 3:16) and because of the Father’s righteousness and justice, the Savior must suffer perfectly all that the law and justice of God required of us (Romans 3:19-26).
(Romans 3:19-26) “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
The only way that Christ could redeem us in agreement with the attributes of God was to suffer, and that in a perfect manner (Luke 24:26-46). Thus, he “died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” The only way justice could be satisfied for us, the only way Christ could sanctify us, was by himself becoming one with us (v. 11; 10:1-5).
(Hebrews 2:11) “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
(Hebrews 10:1-5) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:”
Christ, our Sanctifier and our Sanctification, and all who are sanctified by him have one Father. We are, as the chosen, adopted sons of God, his brethren. Christ is the first-born among many brethren. And he is not ashamed to acknowledge this relationship with us (Matthew 12:46-50; John 20:17). In Christ and with Christ all believers have one Father, we are one family, we are one body and we are beneficiaries of covenant. Though he is God over all, he is not ashamed to own us as his brethren. Imagine that!
Why is he not ashamed to call us his brethren? Because all those whom Christ came to save, all for whom he tasted death by the grace of God, all his chosen brethren, are the gift of God to him (vv. 12-13).
(Hebrews 2:12-13) “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (13) And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”
In verse 12 the apostle quotes from Psalm 22:22 (without doubt a psalm of Christ) as proof that chosen sinners truly are Christ’s brethren. The quotation in verse 13 is from Isaiah 8:17,18.
(Psalms 22:22) “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”
The quotation in verse 13 is from Isaiah 8:17-18.
(Isaiah 8:17-18) “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. (18) Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.”
How is it that Christ receives his people as the gift of God?
· He received his children as a gift form the Father (John 17:2).
· He receives them as a purchase paid for by his blood (1 Corinthians 6:20).
· He receives them from the Holy Spirit as those who are called; they come to him in faith (John 6:37-45).
Why was the Word made flesh? Why did the Son of God assume our nature and dwell among us? Here is the third answer. — The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world as a Man, so that he might crush the serpent’s head as the woman’s promised seed (v. 14).
(Hebrews 2:14) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
This is what was promised back in Genesis 3:15.
(Genesis 3:15) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Since those whom he redeems are of human nature, the Son of God became a man and assumed our nature. He took flesh and blood upon himself, and became subject to all the temptations and infirmities we must endure, and even became subject unto death. But Christ took his nature from a woman, not a man, so that he might be entirely free of sin.
We were under sentence of death because of sin. In order to bear our sins and the wrath, judgment and justice of God for us, in order to redeem us, Christ had to become a man (“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:21), a man who could die as a sinner under the law. God cannot die, but God in the flesh can and did.
Satan is called, “him that had power over death,” not because he has power to do anything on his own, but because, like a black-hooded hangman, God gave him the power.
Satan cannot kill or destroy anything, or anyone, except by God’s permission. He is said, to have the power of death, also, because he introduced sin, which brought death. Sin is the sting of death, and sin is the force and power of Satan’s kingdom. Christ destroyed his power for us. He crushed the serpent’s head, and bound him with the chain of his omnipotence (John 11:25-26; Revelation 20:1-6).
(John 11:25-26) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
To Deliver Us
What was our Savior’s purpose in his incarnation? Here is the fourth answer given in Hebrews 2:l5 — The Son of God came down here to die for us, that he might, by the merit of his blood and the power of his grace, deliver us from the fear of death (v. 15).
(Hebrews 2:15) “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
I do not understand how any sinner can die with his senses without Christ. But for those who are in Christ, all fear of death is most unreasonable. Since the Lord Jesus has taken away our sin and guilt, since he has fulfilled all righteousness for us, since he has paid all our debt, since he has destroyed Satan, since he has taken possession of heaven for us, as our Forerunner, we who believe have no reason to fear death.
Now, for those who are in Christ, death is the dawn of eternal day. It is not for us a punishment for sin, but the annihilation of sin. Death is, for ransomed souls, the door to eternal bliss, the gate to glory.
For the unbeliever death is a horrible thing. For the unbeliever, anything short of death is mercy. But, for the believer death is a great blessing. Why should Israel be afraid to cross the swelling Jordan into the land of promise, with the ark of God before them?
The fact is, believers do not die in the sense that others do. Our Lord said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” To the ungodly, death is the penalty of sin; but to the believer it is just a change of location. Death to the wicked is the execution of justice, but to the believer it is a deliverance from sin. To the worldling death is the beginning of sorrows, but to the believer it is admission into glory. To the rebel death is imprisonment, but to the believer it is freedom
Why did God’s darling Son come into this world in human flesh? Here is the fifth answer. — The Son of God came down here and became a man, because he had become the Surety for all God’s elect in the covenant of grace, because he laid hold of God’s covenant seed in old eternity and promised to save them (v. 16).
(Hebrews 2:16) “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”
He passed by the fallen angels (Jude 6). He passed by the multitudes of Adam’s fallen race. But he would not, he could not and he did not pass by the chosen seed of Abraham, God’s elect! The Father trusted him (Ephesians 1:12) as our Surety and trusted our souls to his hands. And he came into this world to fulfill that trust (Romans 9:11-26).
(Romans 9:11-26) “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
The Savior we Need
Why did the Son of God become one of us? Why did the Lord of Glory become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Here is the sixth answer. — The Lord Jesus Christ came down here in flesh and blood, lived, died, and rose again as a man, just like us, so that he could be the Savior we need (vv. 17-18).
There was no other way for him to save us (v. 17).
(Hebrews 2:17) “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
· Had he not become a man, he could not have become our High Priest to make a sacrifice and atonement for sin (Hebrews 5:1).
· Had he not become a man, he would have had nothing to offer as a sacrifice for sin, no body to suffer, no life to give, no blood to shed (Hebrews 9:11-12).
· Had he not become a man, to obey the law of God for us, he would have no righteousness as a man to plead as our Mediator in the court of heaven (Romans 5:19).
Only by becoming a man could the Lord of Glory become a great High Priest who has himself endured and prevailed over all the temptations we face (v. 18).
(Hebrews 2:18) “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
The Lord Jesus was tempted in all things. — He suffered. He hungered. He thirsted. He was despised. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Therefore he is able to sympathize with us and aid us in our infirmities.
(1 Corinthians 10:13) “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
The way, the only way, by which we escape every trial and temptation is Christ, our great Savior. What more can I say? “THANKS BE UNTO GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT!”
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