Tuesday, April 28, 2020

仰望创造主 Author of Salvation


I. Author of Salvation

Hebrews 2:1-4
Hebrews 2:1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Imagine your CEO asked one of your colleagues to tell you that he wants you to finish a project for him, but you ignore that colleague because you don’t think his message is true.  You think that the colleague is just joking about it.  Then your CEO calls you and asks you about the progress of the project.  Then you know that the project is real and your colleague is not joking.  What are you going to do?  Will you still think that it is just a joke and not work on your project?  Or will you start working on that project right away?  Most people would give all their attention to that project and hope that it will be done before the

Acts 7:53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.

Galatians 3:19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.

Some of the Jews believed that the Old Testament laws were given by the angels to Moses.  It was very important and if the Jews didn’t keep the laws they would receive punishment for not obeying the laws.  Just like your colleague who told you about the project but you ignored it. Later you would get into trouble.  But you could also make excuses about the project, such as you didn’t get the message from your colleague, or the colleague didn’t explain it clearly to you.  But if the CEO called you and told you about the project, what excuse could you have?

Jesus became a man and told us the good news about how we can be saved.  The law was never designed to save us, it was designed for us to not get into trouble and be punished by God.  Only the death of Jesus can save us and give us eternal life.  Can you imagine that if we ignore this good news, how much more trouble we would have?

Frist, this good news is given by Jesus Himself. He came down and told us about the way to be saved from our sins. It was also proven by those who followed Him and through history many people used their lives to show us that this is true.  Second, God also showed us that this good news is true by helping us to see His miracles and signs.  Third, when we accept this good news, the Holy Spirit will live in our lives, so that our lives can bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It is not because we have the ability to bear the fruit on our own. It is always the Holy Spirit that lives in us that enables us to bear His fruit.

The Triune God is involved in this good news to us.  It's not your colleague this time but your CEO telling you about this project.  He is not just telling you to finish the project, but he himself is helping you to do the project together.  He is willing to give you the direction, the right method and the right resources for you to complete this project.  This is one of the major differences between the Old Testament law and the New Testament gospel and all other religions.  We are no longer working by our abilities, but we are working together with God.

II. Who is this Jesus?   Hebrews 2:5-9
Hebrews 2:5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Is Jesus God Himself or an angel created by God?  The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is not an angel of God, but He is God Himself who became a man to come and tell us the good news.  The author quoted from Psalm 8 to tell us who Jesus was.

Psalm 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:5 says “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings.  The word the heavenly beings can be translated into angels or God.  In Hebrews 2 it looks like Jesus was created and His status was lower than the angels.  But if we look more carefully, it is not talking about who Jesus was, it talked about what Jesus became when He needed to come in human form so that he could save us sinners.

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Because of this saving work Jesus needed to become one of us even though He is God but He gave up His right.  Just like when your CEO decided to help you with this project, he became your colleague not your boss, so that he and you could work together and finish the project.

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

III. True Man Hebrews 2:10-18
Hebrews 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."  13 And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Verse 10 tells that Jesus was not created, rather He is the One that created all things, and He is the author of our salvation.  Nobody can come to God by their own effort and works, without the saving work of Jesus.  When we accept Jesus into our lives, He accepts us into His family also.  Because of that we can inherit God’s grace and His holiness.

It is all because Jesus became one of us, so that He could understand our weakness and our fear of death.  Jesus experienced everything that we go through.  Imagine your CEO is the son of the owner, and just sits in his office and asks you to work on the project by yourself.  How much help could he be to you or even understand your project?  But if that CEO worked as one of your colleagues before, and now he is your CEO, and working with you to finish the project.  Does it make a difference?  If you run into any problem which CEO would you prefer?

Jesus was not an angel sent by God to tell us the way that we could be saved.  Angels would never understand or have any sympathy for us.  They would not know how.  But God sent His Son and He was one of us, He lived on earth before and then He died for us.  He understands all the things that we face.