14 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14–18)
Today is Christmas Eve and I share with you from God’s Word a text which is not always immediately associated with the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is an unfortunate reality because Hebrews 2:14-18 has much to say when answering the question, “Why the God/Man?”
In the midst of an extended section on the person and work of Jesus Christ, the writer of the Book of Hebrews provides us two answers to today’s topical question. First, Jesus Christ is the God/Man so He could deliver sinners from the consequences, or penalty, of their sin. Secondly, He is the God/Man so He can help believers overcome their ongoing struggle with the power of sin. In other words, the first reason Jesus Christ came to earth involves the unbeliever’s justification. The second reason involves the believer’s sanctification.
Both reasons are established upon the core truth of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. Today, we examine the first reason Jesus Christ became the God/Man.
First, Jesus Christ is the God/Man so He could deliver sinners from the consequences and penalty of their sin. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “14 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
It is because of the substitutionary atonement which Jesus Christ alone provided on the cross that He is ready, willing and able to deliver all those who through the fear of death (physical, spiritual and eternal) were subject to a lifelong slavery. How is the unbelieving sinner in spiritual slavery? The word “deliver” (ἀπαλλάσσω; apallasso) means to set free.
First, sinners are debtors before God. The sinner has incurred a spiritual debt which cannot be paid, aside from an eternity in Hell (Matthew 6:12; 18:21-35). As a result of our sin, we owe our Creator. We are debtors who are under obligation to repay the Lord, to make restitution for our attempts to steal or lessen His glory by sinning against Him. God has set the sinner free from their debt.
Second, sinners are guilty before God. Sinners are guilty before God because the crimes of their sin. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:9-20; 23). God has set the sinner free from their guilt.
Thirdly, sinners are enemies of God (Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:1-3). There is an enmity between the sinner and God. God has set the sinner free from estrangement with God.
The only way for Jesus’ substitutionary atonement to be applied to sinner’s eternal soul is by faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:4-9). Faith is the sole instrument by which God justifies the sinner on the basis of Jesus Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-10).
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Our sin is a crime against God. Our sin incurs a debt. We owe God something for disobeying His Law. It is cosmic treason asserting that God’s authority really belongs to us. Moreover, our sin destroys the relationship between man and God. There is enmity between the Creator and His creation. God would be perfectly just to leave us in our sin and punish us eternally in hell. But God is gracious, desiring out of His great love and mercy to save some of us. So, in order to show mercy to us without compromising His justice, the Father sent His Son so that in Him our crime would be punished, our debt paid, and our relationship restored. At the Cross, God satisfied His justice and demonstrated His mercy.”
That is why Jesus is God Incarnate. That is why the God/Man. Merry Christmas.
Soli deo Gloria!!