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?
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
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.