As we begin this Fourth Lesson on Hebrews I am reminded of when I was young boy. I had a ninja turtle costume that I got for Halloween. It was the coolest thing ever. I loved it so much that I continued to wear it often even after Halloween.
When I was covered by this costume it made me feel like I was different. For my 5 year old brain, my identity changed. I WAS a Ninja Turtle.
In this lesson we learn that when we submit to Jesus’ supremacy, we're given a new identity. In Hebrews 2:8b-13 we see the incredible privilege of becoming Jesus’ brother or sister. We can receive God’s grace and be co-heirs with Christ.
We learned in our last lesson about Christ’s supremacy. In this Fourth Lesson on Hebrews we see in verse 8 we see that Christ has all power and all authority to put all of creation into “subjection.”
Can you think of any stories from the Gospels that show Jesus’ power over creation?
For examples check out:
However, verse 8 also tells us that we do not yet see ALL of creation submitting to his authority. In Romans 8:19-25, we can read about how all of creation is groaning in anticipation of when Christ will return and then all will be set right.
Even though we don’t see yet all of creation set right, we do see Jesus.
Jesus, for a little while, became lower than angels. The author is talking about Christ’s “Humiliation.” This is a fancy theological term that means Christ lowered himself from His position of power and glory to become a man. Jesus became fully man, while remaining fully God.
He lived a perfect sinless life, and then He suffered and died. He did this so that God’s grace could be offered to everyone.
Grace - is unmerited favor or “getting something good that you don’t deserve.”
In the case of God’s grace to us, it's forgiveness for our sins.
We all need to be forgiven. Romans 6:23 tells us that when we sin we deserve death. Romans 3:23 tells us that all of us have sinned against God. We do not deserve to be forgiven. We deserve death. But Christ tasted that death for everyone so that instead of receiving God’s punishment, we can receive God’s grace.
This verse could be easily misinterpreted. At first glance it sounds like it was “fitting” for Jesus to suffer. But Jesus lived a perfect sinless life right? What our English translation is trying to say is that the act of Jesus being punished in our place was “fitting” to God’s perfect and holy character.
God is a perfect judge, and a perfect judge does not let sin go unpunished. Jesus didn’t deserve death. However, this act of atonement fit God’s character because it was a perfect act of judgment and love at the same time.
Also, the phrase made “perfect through suffering” sounds at first like Jesus was lacking something until He was crucified. This phrase is not saying that Jesus is falling short in anyway. Instead, it is emphasizing what Jesus accomplished through his sacrifice on the cross.
But those things were not accomplished until Jesus, from the cross, proclaimed, “it is finished”, and then breathed his last for 3 days. All of these topics will be covered in detail not in this Fourth Lesson on Hebrews but by later lessons as we study through the Book of Hebrews.
this fourth lesson
on Hebrews -
It's Jesus who “sanctifies.” Being sanctified means being made holy and blameless before God. Being sanctified means being saved, saved from the punishment you deserve, and being put into a right relationship with God.
Verse 11 tells us there is only ONE source of sanctification. This means there's only ONE way to be saved.
What does Jesus mean when He says that He is "the way?"
Does the world think that there is just one “way” to God, or many ways?
We know from verse 11, and all of scripture, that Jesus is the only way to be saved.
Because we are sanctified, or made perfect by Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, Jesus isn't ashamed to call us his brother or sister.
On earth sometimes we are proud of our siblings, sometimes we can be ashamed of them. I had to work pretty hard on the high school baseball team to shake off the reputation that my older brother left behind for me. But like it or not, brothers and sisters are associated together.
Sometimes this can be a good thing. I had some teachers who already liked me, even before they knew me, because of the reputation that my sister left behind.
Maybe you don’t want to be associated with your earthly siblings, but it's ALWAYS a good thing to be associated with Jesus. When we're saved we receive this new identity. We enter into the family of God. We become co-heirs with Christ.
To be a co-heir means that you'll also be honored and glorified as Christ is. What an identity change! What a contrast!
This is the type of identity change that everyone needs. Paul wrote in Galatians that being saved is like “putting on” Christ. In other words, Jesus gives you his perfection.
You put on His righteousness, and God no longer sees your sin. He sees what you're covered by - Jesus!
When I was 5 and was covered by the Ninja Turtle costume it made me feel like I was awesome. But did it really change anything about me? Was I different? Or was I just acting different? What happened when I took the costume off?
When you “put on” Christ it is not just a costume that you can take off. When you are covered by Christ, it changes who you are!
If you have come to realize that you have lived a life that is unpleasing to God, and you want that sin to be removed, and you want to be seen as perfect and clean, and you want to enter into the family of God, then here is how you can do it.
Verse 12 and 13 tells us that our transformation, our identify change of becoming Jesus' brother or sister is so incredible that Jesus can “boast” about us. That He can even “put trust” in us! This is a beautiful picture, and an awesome parallel.
Because the only way for us to receive God’s grace and be saved is by having faith in Jesus Christ, by putting our faith in who Jesus is and what He has done for us. As we close out this fourth lesson on Hebrews you should know that Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it's impossible to please God without faith.
So, today, you can decide to dedicate your life to him. You can decide to believe in Jesus. And if you really believe in Him, and respect the incredible sacrifice that He made for you, you'll need to obey His commands that we have recorded in scripture.
So, after you believe, you'll need to repent of your sin. This means you'll turn away from the things that God hates, and you'll hate them too.
And then you need to follow Jesus. You'll live your life imitating Jesus. You'll strive to live in a way that is respectful of his image of holiness, righteousness, and perfection that you now wear.
If you learn nothing else from this Fourth Lesson on Hebrews please learn of your need for repentance.
We pray this fourth lesson on Hebrews has blessed you.