Who is Your Victor?
March 15, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
While Hebrews 2 is not a personal account of failings and struggles with sin and temptation like Romans 7, it affirms their reality. Shame (v. 11). Tyranny of the devil (v. 14). Fear of death (v. 15). Lifelong slavery (v. 15). Sin and temptation (v. 17-18). These are the deeply rooted issues of the heart that have plagued humankind since Adam and Eve.
Envy, despair, guilt, hatred, gluttony, murderous thoughts, lust, all result from our lifelong slavery to sin, death, and the devil. The list can go on and on. Paul spoke about stumbling into unwanted sin (Rom. 7:19). Peter denied Jesus (Lk. 22:57). David lusted after a woman married to another man (2 Sam. 11:2). Moses angrily struck the rock (Num. 20:10-12). Abram lied about his wife to save his own neck (Gen. 12:13). Cain killed his own brother (Gen. 4:8).
The writer of Hebrews affirms, even validates, this common human experience. It’s real. There is misery in being human. What do you do with the misery? How do you overcome? Where is your victory?
The writer does two things to help guide us to the hope of victory. He redefines our problem and he celebrates the only solution.
Problem redefined: Within Christianity, many books have been written about the various problems we face and seek to overcome. They address financial problems, sexual problems, relationship problems, emotional problems, etc. For the Hebrews, the original recipients of this letter, they may have been interested in a book about how to deal with persecution or how to live faithfully in a godless culture. Such books are only good, though, as far as they identify and deal with the root issue underneath all of these “problems.”
The writer of Hebrews hones in on the root issue underneath every problem: through the fear of death we have been subject to lifelong slavery (v. 15). We are completely incapable of remedying this situation on our own. We need intervention from the outside. We need a rescuer. If we don’t clarify the root issue, we will continue to address our “problems” in ways that set ourselves up as the hero. We can never succeed.
Celebrating the Only Solution: The writer directs our attention to the atonement of Jesus Christ on our behalf as the only means of deliverance. Jesus becomes our one-to-one substitute by “partaking in flesh and blood” (v. 14). “Through death” (v. 14) he makes “propitiation” (v. 17) for our sins and so destroys “the one who has the power of death” (v. 14). That which cuts us off from all that is good in relationship with God, namely our sin, from this Jesus rescues us. To make propitiation for our sins is to remove the guilt and power of sin from us.
So, while the Hebrews were facing the hardship of living in a godless culture, the writer commends to them Jesus and his death as their hope. His atonement unites them to the sovereign creator of all things. His atonement removes the guilt and shame and power of sin in their lives. His atonement allows the empowerment of the Spirit to fill them. His atonement transforms their hearts and makes them new creations. His atonement opens the path to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in the time of need. Their hope and only solution is found in Christ, not in themselves.
What are you facing this week? What dominates your heart and mind? In what ways are you looking for deliverance? Consider Hebrews 2. Let this writer redefine your problem and point you to your only solution