The Great God Our Saviour

Together with the Epistle to the Romans, the Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the great doctrinal treatises of the Word of God. The first part speaks of our Lord as being a new and better Deliverer; the second part as having a new and better Sacrifice; the third part as having a new and better principle by which we can be saved—that of faith, not works.

Who He Is
The first chapter sets forth our Lord’s absolute and certified Deity.

  1. He is the “Heir of all things” (1:2). No created being could ever be heir to this vast and illimitable universe.
  2. He is the Maker of the worlds (1:2). Worlds here means ages. The Son of God framed and designed the different dispensations and brought the whole into existence “by the word of His mouth.”
  3. He is the Brightness of the Father’s glory (1:3). He is the outshining of all that God is. He embodies in Himself every divine attribute and perfection.
  4. He is “the Express Image of His Person” (1:3). This means that He is the exact impress of all that God is. As wax returns the exact impress or image of a seal, so does the Lord Jesus the exact image of all that God is.
  5. He upholds all things by the word of His power (1:3). All things move in their own orbits and are held there and move there to exact moments of time—all by the power of the eternal Son of God.

Such is the exalted dignity of the Lord Jesus as the eternal Son of God. This Sonship belongs to essential Deity, not something acquired when He came to earth. He possesses divine attributes, exercises divine prerogatives, and is the emanation of all divine excellence and beauty.

Chapter 2 then shows us His true and proper Manhood:

  1. He was made “a little lower than the angels” (2:9). This is a quotation from Psalm 8 in which Messiah’s incarnation is prophesied. He was to take upon Him the nature of a creature lower than the angels “for the suffering of death.”
  2. He was partaker of our flesh and blood (2:14). All that needed to be done for human redemption could only be done by our Lord assuming our nature, or else He could not atone for our sins.
  3. “He took on Him the seed of Abraham” (2:16). He must come by way of a particular segment of the human race. It was most fitting to come through Abraham, since the nation issuing from him was to be God’s chosen vehicle for His self-revelation and for the accomplishment of His eternal purposes.
  4. He “suffered being tempted” (2:18). He was made open to temptation—to feel the force of it—the malignant nature of it—the subtilty of it, though never was He tempted to comply. He could not sin.

What He Did

  1. “By Himself [He] purged our sins” (1:3). Only because He was the infinite God could He absorb the infinite punishment of sin. He did this “by Himself”—no man could lift a hand to help Him do it.
  2. He destroyed the devil (2:14). The word “destroy” does not mean to annihilate but to render powerless—to disarm—to make idle. This Goliath of hell fell before the strong Son of God and would never again dare confront Him.
  3. He delivered His people from the “fear of death” (2:15). We all fear death. Death is the king of terrors to sinful men, but when we come to Christ, death even becomes a doorman to transport us into the presence of His glory.

Where He Is
He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3). This signals a completed work. Here is acceptance by the Father. Here is authority at the Father’s right hand where He sat—the place of highest power and authority. Let us look well to Him when we come to worship. Let us see who He is, what He is, and where He is. The Lord Jesus is God within to cheer us—God above to bless us—God who came into our humanity to atone for our sins—God who reigns on high as our Mediator, so that we may present our worship, praise, and adoration to our Father and with His smile of approval.

To the name of our salvation,
Laud and honor let us pay,
Which for many a generation,
Hid in God’s foreknowledge lay.
But with holy exultation
We may sing aloud today.

Jesus is the name we treasure,
Name beyond what words can tell;
Name of gladness, name of pleasure,
Ear and heart delighting well;
Name of sweetness, passing measure,
Saving us from sin and hell.

Jesus is the name exalted
Over every other name;
In this name where’er assaulted
We can put our foes to shame:
Strength to them who else had halted,
Eyes too blind, and feet too lame.

Therefore we, in love adoring
This most blessed name revere,
Holy Saviour, Thee imploring
So we write it in us here
That, hereafter heavenward soaring,
We may sing with angels there.

—Anonymous (15th Century) Tr. by John Mason Neale

From "Worship & Remembrance" by Daniel Smith
Published by Gospel Folio Press