For it became him - It was suitable to the Divine wisdom, the requisitions of justice, and the economy of grace, to offer Jesus as a sacrifice, in order to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
For whom - and by whom - God is the cause of all things, and he is the object or end of them.
Perfect through sufferings - Without suffering he could not have died, and without dying he could not have made an atonement for sin. The sacrifice must be consummated, in order that he might be qualified to be the Captain or Author of the salvation of men, and lead all those who become children of God, through faith in him, into eternal glory. I believe this to be the sense of the passage; and it appears to be an answer to the grand objection of the Jews: "The Messiah is never to be conquered, or die; but will be victorious, and endure for ever." Now the apostle shows that this is not the counsel of God; on the contrary, that it was entirely congruous to the will and nature of God, by whom, and for whom are all things, to bring men to eternal glory through the suffering and death of the Messiah. This is the decision of the Spirit of God against their prejudices; and on the Divine authority this must be our conclusion. Without the passion and death of Christ, the salvation of man would have been impossible.
As there are many different views of this and some of the following verses, I shall introduce a paraphrase of the whole from Dr. Dodd, who gives the substance of what Doddridge, Pearce, and Owen, have said on this subject.
Hebrews 2:10. For it became him, etc. - Such has been the conduct of God in the great affair of our redemption; and the beauty and harmony of it will be apparent in proportion to the degree in which it is examined; for, though the Jews dream of a temporal Messiah as a scheme conducive to the Divine glory, it well became him - it was expedient, that, in order to act worthy of himself, he should take this method; Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things - that glorious Being who is the first cause and last end of all, in pursuit of the great and important design he had formed, of conducting many, whom he is pleased to adopt as his sons, to the possession of that inheritance of glory intended for them, to make and constitute Jesus, his first-begotten and well beloved Son, the Leader and Prince of their salvation, and to make him perfect, or completely fit for the full execution of his office, by a long train of various and extreme sufferings, whereby he was, as it were, solemnly consecrated to it.
Hebrews 2:11. Now, in consequence of this appointment, Jesus, the great Sanctifier, who engages and consecrates men to the service of God, and they who are sanctified, (i.e. consecrated and introduced to God with such acceptance), are all of one family - all the descendants of Adam, and in a sense the seed of Abraham; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them, whom he thus redeems, and presents to the Divine favor, his brethren.
Hebrews 2:12. Saying, in the person of David, who represented the Messiah in his sufferings and exaltation, I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise thee.
Hebrews 2:13. And again, speaking as a mortal man, exposed to such exercises of faith in trials and difficulties as others were, he says, in a psalm which sets forth his triumph over his enemies: I will trust in him, as other good men have done in all ages; and again, elsewhere in the person of Isaiah: Behold I, and the children which my God hath given me, are for signs and for wonders.
Hebrews 2:14. Seeing then those whom he represents in one place and another, as the children of the same family with himself, were partakers of flesh and blood, he himself in like manner participated in them, that thereby becoming capable of those sufferings to which, without such a union with flesh, this Divine Sanctifier could not have been obnoxious, he might, by his own voluntary and meritorious death, abolish and depose him who, by Divine permission, had the empire of death, and led it in his train when he made the first invasion on mankind; that is, the devil, the great artificer of mischief and destruction; at the beginning the murderer of the human race; who still seems to triumph in the spread of mortality, which is his work, and who may often, by God's permission, be the executioner of it.
Hebrews 2:15. But Christ, the great Prince of mercy and life, graciously interposed, that he might deliver those miserable captives of Satan - mankind in general, and the dark and idolatrous Gentiles in particular, who, through fear of death, were, or justly might have been, all their lifetime, obnoxious to bondage; having nothing to expect in consequence of it, if they rightly understood their state, but future misery; whereas now, changing their lord, they have happily changed their condition, and are, as many as have believed in him, the heirs of eternal life."
For it became him - There was a fitness or propriety in it; it was such an arrangement as became God to make, in redeeming many, that the great agent by whom it was accomplished, should be made complete in all respects by sufferings. The apostle evidently means by this to meet an objection that might be offered by a Jew to the doctrine which he had been stating - an objection drawn from the fact that Jesus was a man of sorrows, and that his life was a life of affliction. This he meets by stating that there was a “fitness” and “propriety” in that fact. There was a reason for it - a reason drawn from the plan and character of God. It was fit, in the nature of the case, that he should be qualified to be “a complete” or “perfect Saviour” - a Saviour just adapted to the purpose undertaken, by sufferings. The “reasons” of this fitness, the apostle does not state. The amount of it probably was, that it became him as a Being of infinite benevolence; as one who wished to provide a perfect system of redemption, to subject his Son to such sufferings as should completely qualify him to be a Saviour for all people. This subjection to his humble condition, and to his many woes, made him such a Saviour as man needed, and qualified him fully for his work. There was a propriety that he who should redeem the suffering and the lost should partake of their nature; identify himself with them; and share their woes, and the consequences of their sins.
For whom are all things - With respect to whose glory the whole universe was made; and with respect to whom the whole arrangement for salvation has been formed. The phrase is synonymous with “the Supreme Ruler;” and the idea is, that it became the Sovereign of the universe to provide a perfect scheme of salvation - even though it involved the humiliation and death of his own Son.
And by whom are all things - By whose agency everything is made. As it was by his agency, therefore, that the plan of salvation was entered into, there was a “fitness” that it should be perfect. It was not the work of fate or chance, and there was a propriety that the whole plan should bear the mark of the infinite wisdom of its Author.
In bringing many sons unto glory - To heaven. This was the plan - it was to bring many to heaven who should be regarded and treated as his sons. It was not a plan to save a few - but to save many. Hence, learn:
(1) that the plan was full of benevolence.
(2) no representation of the gospel should ever be made which will leave the impression that only a few, or a small part of the whole race, will be saved. There is no such representation in the Bible, and it should not be made. God intends, taking the whole race together, to save a large part of the human family. Few in ages that are past, it is true, may have been saved; few now are his friends and are traveling to heaven; but there are to be brighter days on earth. The period is to arrive when the gospel shall spread over all lands, and during that long period of the millennium, innumerable millions will be brought under its saving power, and be admitted to heaven. All exhibitions of the gospel are wrong which represent it as narrow in its design; narrow in its offer; and narrow in its result.
To make the captain of their salvation - The Lord Jesus, who is represented as the leader or commander of the army of the redeemed - “the sacramental host of God‘s elect.” The word “captain” we apply now to an inferior officer - the commander of a “company” of soldiers. The Greek word - ἀρχηγὸς archēgos- is a more general term, and denotes, properly, the author or source of anything; then a leader, chief prince. In Acts 3:15, it is rendered “prince” - “and killed the prince of life.” So in Acts 5:31. “Him hath God exalted to be a prince and a Saviour.” In Hebrews 12:2, it is rendered “author.” “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;” compare the notes at that place.
Perfect through sufferings - Complete by means of sufferings; that is, to render him wholly qualified for his work, so that he should be a Saviour just adapted to redeem man. This does not mean that he was sinful before and was made holy by his sufferings; nor that he was not in all respects a perfect man before; but it means, that by his sufferings he was made “wholly suited” to be a Saviour of people; and that, therefore, the fact of his being a suffering man was no evidence, as a Jew might have urged, that he was not the Son of God. There was a “completeness,” a “filling up,” of all which was necessary to his character as a Saviour, by the sufferings which he endured. We are made morally “better” by afflictions, if we receive them in a right manner - for we are sinful, and need to be purified in the furnace of affliction; Christ was not made “better,” for he was before perfectly holy, but he was completely endowed for the work which he came to do, by his sorrows. Nor does this mean here precisely that he was exalted to heaven as a “reward” for his sufferings, or that he was raised up to glory as a consequence of them - which was true in itself - but that he was rendered “complete” or “fully qualified” to be a Saviour by his sorrows. Thus, he was rendered complete:
(1)Because his suffering in all the forms that flesh is liable to, made him an example to all his people who shall pass through trials. They have before them a perfect model to show them how to bear afflictions. Had this not occurred, he could not have been regarded as a “complete” or “perfect” Saviour - that is, such a Saviour as we need.
(2)he is able to sympathize with them, and to succour them in their temptations, Hebrews 2:18.
(3)by his sufferings an atonement was made for sin. He would have been an “imperfect” Saviour - if the name “Saviour” could have been given to him at all - if he had not died to make an atonement for transgression. To render him “complete” as a Saviour, it was necessary that he should suffer and die; and when he hung on the cross in the agonies of death, he could appropriately say, “it is “finished.” The work is complete. All has been done that could be required to be done; and man may now have the assurance that he has a perfect Saviour, perfect not only in moral character - but perfect in his work, and in his adaptedness to the condition of people;” compare Hebrews 5:8-9. See the note at Luke 13:32.
In this degenerate age, Satan holds control over those who depart from the right and venture upon his ground. He exercises his power upon such in an alarming manner. I was directed to these words: “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Some, I was shown, gratify their curiosity and tamper with the devil. They have no real faith in spiritualism and would start back with horror at the idea of being mediums. Yet they venture and place themselves in a position where Satan can exercise his power upon them. Such do not mean to enter deep into this work, but they know not what they are doing. They are venturing on the devil's ground and are tempting him to control them. This powerful destroyer considers them his lawful prey and exercises his power upon them, and that against their will. When they wish to control themselves they cannot. They yielded their minds to Satan, and he will not release his claims, but holds them captive. No power can deliver the ensnared soul but the power of God in answer to the earnest prayers of His faithful followers. 1T 299.1
The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God's people in these perilous times. But the mass of mankind despise the truths of God's word and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: “Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 1T 300.1
The most licentious and corrupt are highly flattered by these Satanic spirits, which they believe to be the spirits of their dead friends, and they are vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds. Colossians 2:19: “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God,” they deny Him who ministers strength to the body, that every member may increase with the increase of God. 1T 300.2Read in context »
When sinful man can discern the inexpressible love of God in giving His Son to die upon the cross, we shall better understand that it is infinite gain to overcome as Christ overcame. And we shall understand that it is eternal loss if we gain the whole world, with all its pleasure and glory, and yet lose the soul. Heaven is cheap enough at any cost. Con 78.1
On Jordan's banks the voice from heaven, attended by the manifestation from the excellent glory, proclaimed Christ to be the Son of the Eternal. Satan was to personally encounter the Head of the kingdom which he came to overthrow. If he failed he knew that he was lost. Therefore the power of his temptations was in accordance with the greatness of the object which he would lose or gain. For four thousand years, ever since the declaration was made to Adam that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, he had been planning his manner of attack. Con 78.2
He put forth his strongest efforts to overcome Christ on the point of appetite, who endured the keenest pangs of hunger. The victory gained was designed, not only to set an example to those who have fallen under the power of appetite but to qualify the Redeemer for His special work of reaching to the very depths of human woe. By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves. Con 78.3Read in context »
The time is coming when we shall be separated and scattered, and each one of us will have to stand without the privilege of communion with those of like precious faith; and how can you stand unless God is by your side, and you know that He is leading and guiding you? Whenever we come to investigate Bible truth, the Master of assemblies is with us. The Lord does not leave the ship one moment to be steered by ignorant pilots. We may receive our orders from the Captain of our salvation.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1890. CW 42.1
Not to Be Suspected—When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, seek the Lord in prayer, and give no place for the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people, and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves. CW 43.1Read in context »
There are those who question whether it is right for Christians to belong to the Free Masons and other secret societies. Let all such consider the scriptures just quoted. If we are Christians at all, we must be Christians everywhere, and must consider and heed the counsel given to make us Christians according to the standard of God's Word.... Ev 618.1
When we accepted Christ as our Redeemer, we accepted the condition of becoming laborers together with God. We made a covenant with Him to be wholly for the Lord; as faithful stewards of the grace of Christ, to labor for the upbuilding of His kingdom in the world. Every follower of Christ stands pledged to dedicate all his powers, of mind and soul and body, to Him who has paid the ransom money for our souls. We engaged to be soldiers, to enter into active service, to endure trials, shame, reproach, to fight the fight of faith, following the Captain of our salvation. Ev 618.2
In your connection with worldly societies, are you keeping your covenant with God? Do these associations tend to direct your own mind or that of others to God, or are they diverting the interest and attention from Him? Do they strengthen your connection with the divine agencies, or turn your mind to the human in place of the divine? Ev 618.3Read in context »