Hebrews 3:7-19 Warning: Unbelieving Hearts

Hebrews 3:7-19          Warning: Unbelieving Hearts                        WC McCarter
Chapter three begins by showing the supreme example of faithfulness, Jesus Christ, but in verses 7-19 it quickly turns to show a negative example of unfaithfulness/disobedience (Bateman, 44). Both of these passages are linked. Remember that last week we were told that we are Christ’s house if we hold fast. I think that we all want to be Christ’s house. So, in this next passage we are told to not be like the Exodus generation that rebelled against almighty God. They fell away into unbelief and did not enter God’s resting place for them, Canaan. Let’s take a look at their story from Numbers 13-14. Remember, the people of Israel had just seen the great Exodus event. They saw the ten plagues, and they saw the Red Sea parted. They also saw great things at Mt. Sinai. Now Moses has led them to the border of the Promised Land to go in and take it. He sends in ten spies to consider the military challenge, eight come back with a terrible report while only two report that the land can be conquered. The people want to stone Caleb and Joshua. Because of their unbelief, God says that He will not allow them into the land.
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Do Not Harden Your Hearts (7-11)
This warning passage uses Psalm 95 (94 in LXX), a psalm of ascent sung by pilgrims going to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. The psalm has a warning to worshippers to not harden their hearts and miss out on entering into God’s rest (namely, the temple). They negative example that is used is that wilderness generation. They were not allowed to enter into the resting place.
Thus, the unbelief of Israel influenced the psalmist to write Psalm 95 and the author of Hebrews to write chapter three. Although men wrote those two passages, Hebrews tells us that the Holy Spirit was the true author. As Christians, that is exactly what we believe. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the true author of all Scripture. All 66 books of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, were uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit and can be said to be breathed out by God.
There is not a lot to explain in verses 7-11. This is the story that we have just read from the Old Testament record. What are some of the things that we can initially hear from these first few verses? (1) Today is the day with which we must be most concerned. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day that we must hear God’s voice (in the Scriptures). If you want to hear God, read the Bible. If you want to hear God audibly, read the Bible out loud. (2) A person can harden their heart. To harden your heart is to form an attitude of indifference to the things of God. It is to completely doubt and no longer trust God as you once did. (3) To not know God’s ways means to not have a true understanding of God’s revelation. Many people have a simple familiarity with the standards of the Bible, but most people do not know His ways. They have never taken His ways as their own. They have never come to a thorough knowledge of the truth of His ways. They have never really submitted to Him as Lord and committed their full allegiance to Him. To harden your heart is to be in a state of disobedience. (4) God cannot overlook sin forever, and God cannot allow sin to go unpunished. He is righteous and holy in all His ways. (5) We will talk about it more in a few minutes, but let me go ahead and say that God expects us to finish well. The Promised Land, not the wilderness, is our destination. Continue on!
Beware and Exhort (12-15)
There are two exhortations given in the next paragraph, “see to it . . . that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart” and “encourage one another daily.” There is a real danger for believers (Bateman, 48). There is something you can do for yourself, and there is something you can do for those around you. First of all, you must consider your own heart. You must avoid at all costs an unbelieving heart (Hagner, 65). There are things that contribute to the hardening of a heart; steer clear of those things. There are situations that you can put yourself in that will not help your faith; do not go there. It is this kind of heart that leads you astray. It may lead you to turn away from the living God. Why is God referred to in this way? He is not a god made by human hands as if we can manipulate Him. He is the living God to who we must all answer. He will judge the world in righteousness. We cannot escape His wrath if we depart from Him.
The second exhortation given here is something you can do for others, encourage one another daily while it is still called “Today.” Remember, today is the day with which we must be most concerned. Today is when we must hear His voice, not yesterday or tomorrow. Hear His voice today so that you may be saved. You have to encourage others to hear His voice. Yet, we spend most of our time discouraging others, don’t we? We get in the way of others coming to a thorough knowledge of God’s ways. We discourage others with our words, attitudes, actions whether any of them be direct or indirect. You are called to exhort and encourage one another. Do not harden your heart, and do not contribute to the hardening of someone else’s heart. There is nothing worse! What can happen if we do not encourage one another? We may be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. What is the greatest sin? What sin is it with which Hebrews is most concerned? The sin of unbelief. That is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That is the unforgiveable sin. Do you wake up one day and no longer believe? Is that how it works? No, but you can contribute to the overall attitude of your soul in many ways. It takes time to turn away from the living God. It is a slow drift. Remember 2:1-4. Before you know it though, you have turned away from your first love, you have departed from the living God who is the One who must judge your sinfulness and who is the One who has provided the only way to be saved from that judgment. There will come a day when it is too late to believe. “Today” will not last forever.
“Even as Christ became a sharer in our humanity, Christians have come to share in Christ. . .” (Hagner, 65). “Once saved always saved” doctrine does not hold up under the warnings of the book of Hebrews. Look at verse fourteen. You have your share in Christ if you “hold the beginning of [your] confidence steadfast to the end.” The Israelites started out well. They were full of confidence as they saw the plagues ravage the land of Egypt. They were jumping for joy when they received all of the jewelry they did from the Egyptians. They praised the Lord when the Red Sea was parted and they crossed on dry ground. But that attitude did not carry them to the end of their journey. They died in the wilderness because of their ultimate unbelief.
They Could Not Enter His Rest (16-19)
The ones who rebelled against God were the same ones who had heard God’s voice. Astonishingly, they were the ones who came out of Egypt with Moses. The people who saw the mighty acts of God in Egypt were the same ones who rebelled against Him. God was angry with that generation because of their unbelief. They had seen His mighty hand in Egypt and experienced His provision in the wilderness, yet they still did not trust Him. Verse nineteen is the summary of the passage, they could not enter because of unbelief. What about you?
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) The one point of chapter three is that you must be faithful. Follow the positive example of Moses and the One who is far greater than Moses, Christ Jesus, and do not follow the negative example of the children of Israel who turned away from the Lord. We are all going to be followers in one way or another. The question is, who will you follow?
(2) This passage in Hebrews 3, and really the entire book of Hebrews, is written to say, You must finish well. Starting out well is not enough. Let’s also be clear that we do not mean that you finish well by religious performance. That is not what earns you salvation. You finish the same exact way you started, by faith. You come into salvation by faith in the work of Christ, and you finish the Christian life by faith in the accomplishments of the Lord. Thus, the Apostle says in Romans 1 that God’s righteousness is shown from faith to faith (faith in the beginning and faith in the end, faith and nothing but faith from start to finish). Therefore, when I say that we must finish well, I am saying that we must continue in faith until we die or the Lord returns.
(3) "Today" = while you are hearing God's voice (v. 7), while you are seeing what he has been doing (v. 9), while you are still having the opportunity to know his ways (v. 10), while none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God (v. 12), while you still have a share in Christ, and are indeed holding firmly till the end your original conviction (v. 14).
What happened years ago means nothing if your trust is not the same today. Where are you in your faith today? Do you treasure the Lord Jesus more today than you ever have?

Hebrews 3:1-6 Jesus Christ: Apostle and High Priest

Hebrews 3:1-6          Jesus Christ: Apostle and High Priest                        WC McCarter
Genesis 11:1-4 tells of how the descendants of Noah came together to build a great tower. We call this tower the Tower of Babel because of what God did to the people in response to their arrogance and ignorance of God. The passage reads, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” What was it that the people knew about building a great structure? They knew that they could really make a name for themselves. Architecture brings fame and honor to those who build. Today, we will read about another builder who has built a spiritual house.
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Jesus Demands our Attention (1)
This letter is written to Christians. We know this because the phrase “holy brethren” is used and because it goes on to say that they are those “who share in the heavenly calling.” The letter is speaking to the saints. It is written to the holy brothers and sisters who are inheriting that great salvation which comes from the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus Christ. A great revelation came in the Old Covenant at Mt. Sinai as the angels mediated the Law to the children of Israel, but now a greater covenant has been revealed. Jesus Christ is greater than the angels, His message is greater than theirs, and He is the Pioneer of a great salvation. He offers for us to reign with Him in glory if we pay careful attention to not drift away or neglect salvation. All of what we have heard so far in the book of Hebrews puts all of the weight of faith and salvation squarely on the shoulders of Jesus. So, the author comes to 3:1 and says, “consider Christ Jesus.” That is the summary of the message thus far. As the NIV says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.”
Our confession, what we acknowledge, is that Jesus is our Apostle and High Priest. What do these two terms mean? As our Apostle, He has delivered to us the message of salvation. As our High Priest, He has fulfilled the means of salvation (Hagner, 59). To be an Apostle means to be one who is sent. Jesus was sent to earth by the Father on a mission. He was to deliver the heavenly message of salvation. What did He do from the very beginning of His ministry? He went about preaching that everyone should repent, and the kingdom of heaven was at hand. He preached the Gospel. At the end of chapter two, Jesus was referred to as our High Priest. Now we are told to consider Him, to consider carefully His example of faithfulness (Guthrie, 126). To be a High Priest is to be one who offers sacrifices for the sins of others. It is to go between God and humanity. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done just that. He is our mediator. He is the propitiation for our sins and not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world.
This is a great message and work of Christ. It is a heavenly calling. The Scripture says in another place to live lives worthy of the calling we have found in Christ Jesus. This is a calling from on high. He has called us to repentance and a heavenly inheritance.
Jesus is the Exemplar of Faithfulness (2)
Verse one tells us that Jesus demands our attention. Now, in verse two, we are told why we must look to Christ Jesus. He is the great example of faithfulness. The author builds up his audience who would have highly revered Moses by comparing Christ’s faithfulness with that of Moses. The name “Moses” would grab any first century Jew’s attention. So, Hebrews says Christ was faithful just like Moses. You Jewish Christians revere Moses, you must revere Christ as well. What does it mean to be faithful to the one who appointed Him? Jesus was obedient to the will of God (Hagner, 59). The house of God is the will of God and the people of God. This is true of the Old Testament and the New. Moses was faithful to God in all His house. He operated within God’s purposes and plans among the chosen people.
Jesus is Greater than Moses because He Built the House (3-4)
Verse one says to fix your thoughts on Christ Jesus, verse two says to do so because of His faithfulness which is like the faithfulness of Moses, and the next two verses give us a reason that Christ is actually greater than Moses. The first of two reasons we are given for Christ’s superiority is that Moses was in God’s house while Christ built the house. We see the divinity of Christ put on display once again because we are told that Christ receives more honor as the builder of the house and in verse four we are told that God builds all things. So, God builds all things, and Christ is the One who built this house. Think about this practically. When someone sees a beautifully built house they know that it did not simply appear. Someone built that place with great toil, effort, thought, and time. When you see the brilliance of that place, you are forced to honor the one who built it. The builder gains more fame than the building itself. In fact, any helpful invention is praised, but the inventor receives more honor than the invention itself. Thus, Moses should be honored for his faithfulness in God’s house, but Christ should be honored that much more as the builder of that house.
Jesus is Greater than Moses because He is Son, Not Servant (5-6)
In verses five and six we get a second reason that Christ is greater than Moses. Moses was a servant in God’s house, but Christ is the Son over the house. A servant and a son can both show faithfulness, but they do not share the same position in a house. A Son is far greater than any servant. A son is a ruler over the house. A son inherits all the estate.
Moses, in his role as a servant in God’s house, was faithful in all that God gave him to do. He was working to further than plan of God in human history. He was testifying of things to come. He was in many ways paving the way to the New Covenant even as he was receiving the First Covenant. He was getting us to Christ. He was pointing us to the One who would be far greater than himself. He even told the people of Israel that a Prophet was coming after him to whom they must listen. Now, the author of Hebrews is telling us in these passages to pay attention to Christ Jesus. He is that greater Prophet. Look to Him and listen to Him!
Lastly, we are told that we are God’s house. We make up that spiritual house that Christ rules over as Son. Yet, this is conditional. We are God’s house if we hold fast to the end. What is it that we have to hang on to? We must hold firmly to our confidence and rejoicing of hope, and we have to hand on to it to the very end. Running the race of faith half-way and stopping off before the finish line is not enough. You must persevere in the faith. Hang on to what you believe. What is our confession? Christ Jesus is our Apostle and High Priest. Do not let that go.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) Are you walking worthy of the calling you have received? This is a heavenly calling and is worth our full attention. Do not drag His name through the mud, but live a life that brings glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you do this to earn salvation? No, but you do it to reflect the glory of the One who has saved you, and maybe someone else will be saved as well.
(2) Not only is Christ greater than angels, but he is greater than Moses. He is the One to whom we must look and listen. Fix your thoughts on Him and be saved. When times get tough, fix your thoughts on Him. When things are crashing down around you, when you start to feel the pinch of the pressure of this world, when you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, consider your Apostle and High Priest. He has gone before you. He was faithful over His house, and you can be faithful in God’s house. You must hang on and not give up. He will aid you in hard times.
(3) Honor the One who has built such a tremendous house. He is the One who has brought us all together and redeemed us from this earth. He is the builder who deserves all the praise.

Hebrews 2:10-18 Jesus Christ: Merciful and Faithful High Priest

Hebrews 2:10-18          Jesus Christ: Merciful and Faithful High Priest          WC McCarter
We have all heard watched movies and heard stories of people getting lost in the woods or stranded on a deserted island. You may be able to recall an actual time that you got lost. Put yourself in that position for a moment. Can you imagine being in the middle of a forest that you have never been in before? Forests can cover acres and acres of land, can’t they? Imagine being there for days and cannot get yourself out of that place. Then imagine that a woodsman shows up there in the middle of the woods; he grabs your hand and begins to lead you out. You would be crazy not to follow him, wouldn’t you? There are no paths out of those woods, but this mountaineer begins beating down a path. He sweats and groans, gets cuts and bruises, but he is forging a trail out of that desperate place. Without that man, you would simply die in those woods. That man would be a Savior, wouldn’t He? He would also be a Pioneer, a Trailblazer.
Now, if you push the analogy too far, it will no longer stand, but this is exactly what Christ has done for us. He is the Captain of our great salvation, a Pioneer of a special work. The pioneering work that He has done sets captives free. It offers salvation from the wrath of God for the whole world, all who will call on the name of the Lord. Hebrews declares this to us in 2:10-18. Will you take a look at that passage with me this morning?
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The Source of Salvation (10)
Verse ten is an introductory verse into this next passage. It declares to Christians the source of their great salvation. It continues the theme introduced in verse nine, which we saw last week, of Christ’s atoning death. In this passage, we will see an explanation of the “grace of God.”
We are told that it was fitting that God the Father would perfect God the Son through sufferings. What makes that so appropriate? How is it that Christ was made perfect in sufferings? Let’s tackle that first question. Hebrews has gone to great lengths to show the majesty of Christ, but now it goes to great lengths to show His humility. How is it appropriate to make God perfect through sufferings? This is the great mystery of the ages. This is the great doctrine of Christianity. No pagan in ancient times and no person in modern times can wrap their mind around the idea that God can suffer. In fact, that would have been an absurd thought to those of the first century. The gods were mighty and powerful, wise and untouchable. Then, Christians come along preaching a God, The God of the universe who has suffered in the place of all humanity (meaning, suffering to the point of death on the cross). The emphasis of verse ten is on the word “fitting.” As one commentator has said, “. . . what God has done in the suffering of Jesus is in line with his holiness and love and has accomplished God’s plan to redeem people” (Guthrie, 107). In Christ’s sufferings that righteousness of God was satisfied and the love of God was fully evidenced. It was appropriate for Christ to be perfected through sufferings because it may Him both Just and the Justifier of men and women. The phrase “made perfect” refers to His completion of the work. It is the same root word that Christ used on the cross when He said, “It is finished.” For Christ to be made perfect means that He brought the plan of the Father to its intended completion, its end.
The completion of this suffering was appropriate, as we have seen, but it also made Christ the Captain of salvation because He brings many sons and daughters to glory. The word “Captain” has been translated several ways. The NIV uses the word “Pioneer” while other translations uses a variety of terms such as Founder, Leader, Author, and Source, among others. Hebrews means to tell us that Christ has a preeminent and unique place in salvation history. He is the Trailblazer. He has done something that no one else could do. He is the first, the first to do this thing and the first in rank. He is the leader. He is that mountaineer who finds the lost person in the woods and beats down a path to get them out. He is the one who sweats and groans in behalf of another. He gets cuts and bruises to lead the lost out of the place of desperation. He has done so to such a great extent that analogies can only help us to understand what He has done because an illustration could never fully explain the magnitude of His saving work.
If He is the Captain, then He must be leading someone. Who is it that He leads, and where is He leading them? He is leading many sons and daughters, and He is leading them to glory. The sons and daughters who are being led are of the household of faith. It is not just anyone that He leads to glory, but only those who are God’s people by faith. Glory is “the heavenly realm in which people experience the presence of God” (Guthrie, 107). Jesus takes us to heaven.
A Holy Family (11-13)
The great doctrine of the Christian Scriptures is that one which says that God became a man in order that He might redeem sinful humanity. God immersed Himself into humanity in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament is clear on this doctrine. Listen to some of the verses: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) “[He] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man. . .” (Phlp 2:7-8) “God was manifested in the flesh. . .” (1 Tim 3:16). “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. . .” (1 John 4:2). “. . . concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh. . .” (Rom 1:3). “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman. . .” (Gal 4:4). “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9).
In the incarnation, Christ has completely identified Himself with humanity. He has made Himself a brother of all those who will trust in Him. He is the sanctifier, we are those who are being sanctified, and we are all of the same family. He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. In verses twelve and thirteen we get scriptural proof to that effect from Psalm 22 and Isaiah 8. These two passages are chosen because of their reference to brethren and God’s people being called children, both passages are about Christ living with mankind, and they also speak of Jesus’ suffering (Guthrie, 110). This makes for great background for the author’s point that we are all family of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He Destroyed Death and the Devil (14-16)
In verses fourteen through sixteen, we see the reason for the incarnation. It was absolutely necessary for Christ to put on flesh and blood and move into our neighborhood. This was the plan of the Father. It was the only way that God had designated for the sin problem to be remedied. What was it He specifically did to lead us to salvation? He destroyed death and the one who had the power of death, the devil. He freed us from the fear of death.
“Thus, Jesus took on our flesh and blood to nullify the devil’s work” (Guthrie, 110). Remember, Satan is an angel, a fallen one, and Christ is greater than all of the angels. His name is far greater than any of theirs. Here is the logic: to undo what Satan had done, Christ would have to die; to die, Christ would have to become a man; and that is exactly what He did! Not only is the devil defeated, but death is defeated as well. If death is defeated, then we have freedom from the fear of death. Without His great work of salvation, we would all our lives long fear death. We would always have the sense that it could happen at any time, and we could do nothing about it. And after death there is what? Judgment. What a great relief, a great freedom Christ has given us. Death is nothing for the believer, but access into the grace of God. It is the time when we will see Him face to face. There is no fear in this. There is love, joy, and peace.
Verse sixteen mentions quickly and briefly, as if to put the nail in the coffin of the idea that angels are as great as Christ Jesus, that God does not give aid to angels like He has the seed of Abraham. We are Abraham’s children because we have come to God by faith just like he had. There is no aid for angels, and there is no salvation for fallen angels. God has done this for us.
Merciful and Faithful High Priest (17-18)
The last two verses conclude this section. We encounter the word “therefore.” In light of all that has just been said, the author states, Christ had to be made like His brethren. This is what makes Him a merciful and faithful High Priest. A major section on the doctrine of Christ’s High Priesthood will come soon in the book of Hebrews, but here we are told that Christ made propitiation/atonement for the sins of the people. He suffered to the point of death in our behalf. He was tempted and did not fall. Because of this He is able to Caption us to glory, atone for our sins, completely identify with us, come to our aid in all things including temptation. To be High Priest, he had to be human as well because High Priests were taken from among humans.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) Follow the leader. He will lead you to glory. When you are tempted, lean on Him.
(2) God has completely immersed Himself into humanity that He may suffer to pay the penalty for our sin. In turn, you should be completely immersed into Jesus Christ. Give your life to Him- your time, energy, money, mind, devotion, and praise.
(3) This is such a great salvation. Do not harden your hearts to this message or, worse, do not neglect this by simply drifting away. Jesus Christ is a Pioneer. He has forged the path for you out of sin and He shields you from the wrath of God that is to come. Do not ignore this great work.

Hebrews 2:5-9 Jesus Christ: Crowned with Glory

Hebrews 2:5-9            Jesus Christ: Crowned with Glory                            WC McCarter
Working for a business that does not have a clear authority figure is difficult. In those situations, things often do not get accomplished, there is great disunity between employees, a poor reputation is formed in the community, and the general morale is pessimistic. We need to know who is doing what, and who is in charge. When everyone does what is right is their own eyes, there is only chaos. God has ordained that there be structure and authority.
Today, we return again to the argument of chapter one, the angels pale in comparison to Christ and are even under human beings in the creation order. Remember, angels worship Jesus Christ, and they serve Christians. Although we are returning to the conversation of chapter one, verses 5-9 of chapter two are closely connected to the exhortation of verses 1-4 of chapter two. We are talking about a great salvation that is not accomplished by angels, but is offered in the person and work of no one less than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The salvation that we are inheriting is a coming age where Christ reigns supreme. The main theme of today’s sermon text is subjection. Who is it that has authority at the present time? Who is it that will have authority in the age to come? Is it angels, humanity, or Jesus?
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The Future is Not Subject to Angels (5)
How is verse 5 linked to verses 1-4? Who rules the world to come? Not angels. How is that part of our great salvation? Salvation is a reference not only to what Christ has done in the past, but it is also looking forward to the age to come. We are inheriting salvation. We do not yet have many parts of our salvation: the redemption of our bodies, freedom from the curse of death, a face-to-face relationship with God, and much more. All of these things to come will not come by the work of angels. Here is a simple summary: God has not put angels in charge of heaven.
The author says that he has been speaking about the world to come. So, we must look back at what he has been saying to find the descriptions of the next age. The world to come is a world where everything belongs to Christ because He is appointed heir of all things; it is a world where angels worship Christ; it is an existence that proves that Jesus will remain the same; it is a time when there are no enemies because they have all been conquered; and it is a place and an age that we will inherit by means of a great salvation.
Follow this line of reasoning from 1:13-14 which gives us the conclusion in 2:5: first, the Son is seated at God’s right hand; second, the angels are sent out to assist in Christians inheriting salvation; therefore, the angels are most definitely not the ones to whom the coming world is subjected (Cockerill, 127). They will not be in the place of authority.
Although the angels have some rule in this present age, even the fallen angels, the demons, it will not be this way forever. The only reason the angels have any sense of authority in this world is because humanity gave up their dominion when they sinned in the Garden. Satan stole it. God gave Adam and Eve dominion over all His creation. They were to be only for a little while lower than the angels. They were to ultimately have the highest place of authority under God Himself.
The Present is Not Subject to Humanity (6-8)
The next set of verses say exactly what we are talking about. If God has not put angels in authority of the world to come, then who has He put in charge? The quote in these verses from Psalm 8 refers to humanity, male and female. The first part of the quote refers to amazement that God would even look on a creature the way He does men and women. It is incredible to know that God is mindful of us and that He takes care of us. God has created us in His image. Verse seven acknowledges that mankind is a little lower than the angels, but this phrase means for a little while. Mankind was only supposed to be lower than the angels for a little while. As I have already stated, before humanity could ascend to their rightful place of authority over all things (even the angels), we gave up that dominion to the father of lies, Satan, the serpent of old. Verse eight declares what God declared at the beginning of Genesis, all things were to be in subjection to humanity. God left nothing in his creation that would not be under our authority.
Yet, at the present time we do not see all things under us. We have no control over disease, disability, natural disasters, or any of the like. The one glaring thing we cannot conquer is death. Death is our ruler. It is our conqueror in this present age. It is always creeping around the corner. It is always after us, and one day it will own each and every one of us. The wealthiest person in the world is subject to death. The strongest man in the world is subject to death. The smartest person in the world is subject to death. It is our ruler. We do not yet see all things under our feet.
Jesus is Crowned with Glory and Honor (9)
Now we get to verse nine and we really see why our salvation has been called a great salvation. We do not yet see all things in subjection to humanity, but we DO SEE JESUS. How will we ever fulfill Psalm 8? How will we ever be and do what God intended from the beginning? Can all things be put in subjection to man? This is our GREAT salvation.
In the incarnation, Christ has fulfilled the role of humanity. He was everything that man was supposed to be. He was everything that we cannot be. He was the Second Adam who did not fall when tempted by Satan. But, if Christ became a man, how can He be greater than the angels? And what brought about our great salvation? Christ died. If Christ became a man and He even died, how can He be greater than the angels? He has been raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father. Christ was offered up to pay the penalty for our sins as our substitute. He humbled Himself, emptied Himself of the independent use of His divine attributes, and carried a cross in your behalf. He shed His blood for you. He was made a little lower than the angels for a little while as He came and dwelt among us. He put on our nature, being fully God and fully human (notice the author calls Him “Jesus” to stress His humanity), in order that He might taste death for every one of us. Yet, He has not remained in this lower state. We look at Him now and we see Him crowned with glory and honor. We see Him sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
And I believe with everything that I am that He took our place so that He could give us His. We have been united with Him in His death and also His resurrection. He has been glorified and exalted and so shall we by the grace of God. We do not earn this position. Christ has earned it and He freely confers it on all who will trust in Him and be united with Him. You cannot neglect this message because it is all that you have for this life and the next. Listen from someone else: “Our great salvation is that, united to Jesus, we will experience the fulfillment of Psalm 8 as well. Jesus is the great forerunner of our salvation. What has happened to him will happen to us. Because he tasted death for us, we can be sure that we will share his rule over creation” (Piper).
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) The point the author has made, continues to make, and build on is this, stop revering angels. The point that I can make to you is the same, but it may extend to many other things: Stop idolizing angels, stop adoring other people, stop devoting yourselves to whatever you think is so impressive, stop looking to anyone or anything other than JESUS.
(2) If the world to come is not subject to angels, then it must be subject to Christ who we see has been crowned with glory and honor. Jesus is the Christ, the one-and-only Son of God who rules at the right hand of Majesty. He reigns and so do we by virtue of His work of atonement and restoration. He is what we never could be, and He is making us what we were supposed to be all along- the chief component of God’s glory.
(3) Psalm 8 is our destiny. With Jesus we will reign with all of our enemies conquered. Therefore, do not drift through life as though there is no hope. Do not live defeated. Satan is going to get after you, and this cruel world is going to throw things at you that are going to be hard to bear, but you cannot give up. Do not neglect so great a salvation. This salvation is the promise of eternal life, the promise of eternal life with no more adversity because Christ became a man for the suffering of death so that He might taste death for everyone. He has overcome the world. He has conquered all of the enemies. Look to Jesus. Although He was once a little lower than the angels and he even suffered death – SEE HIM NOW crowned with glory and honor. Look to Jesus; see Him for all that He is; and hang on to your faith lest you drift away.