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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verses 1-15

Hebrews 2:1. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

We have heard them; do not let us forget them. Let them not be like the driftwood which goes floating down the stream. Let us make a desperate effort to retain them in our memories; and, above all, to ponder them in our hearts.

Hebrews 2:2-3. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; —

They could not trifle with the angels’ message without receiving just punishment from God. Much less, then, can we trifle with Christ’s gospel. We have not an angelic saviour; but God himself, in the person of his Son, has deigned to be the Mediator of the new covenant. Therefore, let us see to it that we do not trifle with these things. You see, dear friends, that we need not be great open sinners in order to perish; it is merely a matter of neglect. See how it is put here: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” You need not go to the trouble of despising it, or resisting it, or opposing it; you can be lost readily enough simply by neglecting it. In fact, the great mass of those who perish are those who neglect the great salvation, —

Hebrews 2:3. Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

The apostles and the other followers of our Lord constantly bore witness to his miracles and his resurrection.

Hebrews 2:4. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Those who doubt the truth of the gospel, or who say they do, are often found believing historical statements that are not half as well proved. A man sits down, and reads the book of the Gallic wars, and he believes that Julius Caesar wrote it; yet there is not a half or a tenth as much evidence to prove that he did write it as there is to prove that our Lord Jesus lived, and died, and rose again from the dead. The witness to the truth of these great matters of fact has been borne by God himself with signs, and wonders, and miracles. Honest and true men, apostles and others, have witnessed to them; and they have also been certified by Incarnate Deity, even by the Lord who deigned to speak to us by his Spirit. We cannot, therefore, trifle with this gospel without incurring most serious guilt.

Hebrews 2:5. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

We are the preachers of it, — not the angels; and the great Author and Finisher of our faith is the Man Christ Jesus, — not an angel. We have not now the ministry of angels, but the ministry of men, by whom the Lord of the angels sends his messages to their fellows.

Hebrews 2:6-8. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.

This was the original status of man. God made him to be his vicegerent on earth; and he would still hold that position were it not that, since he has rebelled against his own Sovereign, even the beasts of the field take liberty to be rebellious against him. Man is not now in his original estate, and therefore he rules not now; and we see many men who are very far from being royal beings, for they are mean and groveling. Yet the glory of man is not all lost, as we shall see.

Hebrews 2:8-9. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus,—

Here is the representative Man who is supreme over all: “We see Jesus,”

Hebrews 2:9. Who was made a little lower than the angels for suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Oh, how glorious it is to realize our position in Christ, and to see how he has lifted us up, not merely to the place froze which the first Adam fell, but he has made us stand so securely there that we shall not again descend around the ruins of the Fall! Glory be to his holy name!

Hebrews 2:10-11. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.—

The Christ and the Christian are one, — the Man Christ Jesus and the men whom he redeemed are one. He has so become partaker of our nature that now we are one family, and he is not ashamed to call us brothers. Am I addressing any who are ashamed of Christ, or who are ashamed of God’s poor people, and who would not like to be known to be members of a poor church? Ah! how you ought to despise yourselves for having any such pride in your hearts, for Christ is not ashamed to call his people brethren! Oh, what wondrous condescension! He has done this many times in the Psalms, where he speaks of his brethren;

Hebrews 2:12. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will sing praise unto thee.

That is a quotation from the 22nd Psalm.

Hebrews 2:13. And again, I will put my trust in him.

Thus entering into the very faith of his people.

Hebrews 2:13-14. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,

As you know to your cost, for perhaps you have aches and pains about you at this very moment. Verily, you are “partakers of flesh and blood.” Perhaps you are suffering from despondency and depression of spirit. If so, that reminds you that, however much you may, in spirit, sometimes soar to heaven, yet you are still “partakers of flesh and blood.”

Hebrews 2:14-15. He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

He so took upon himself flesh and blood as to die in our nature, that thus he might slay death, and might set us free from all fear of death. Do you not see that, if the representative Man, Christ Jesus, died, he also rose again, and that so also will all who are in him rise, too? If you are in him, you shall rise again. Therefore, fear not to lie down in your last sleep, for the trumpet shall awaken you, and your bodies shall be moulded afresh like unto his glorious body, and your soul and body together shall dwell in infinite bliss for ever. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


Verses 1-18

Hebrews 2:1. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

It is well to give heed to what you are now hearing, but it is also important to give heed to what you have heard. Oh, how much have we heard, but have forgotten! How much have we heard, which we still remember, but do not practice! Let us therefore listen to the words of the apostle here: “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip;” — as it were, slipping through our fingers, and flowing down the stream of time to be carried away into the ocean of oblivion.

Hebrews 2:2. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

See, brethren, the punishment for disobeying the word spoken by angels was death; what, then, must be the penalty of neglecting the great salvation wrought by the Divine Redeemer himself? He who does not give earnest heed to the gospel treats with disdain the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will have to answer for that sin when the King shall sit upon the throne of judgment. Trifle not, therefore, with that salvation which cost Christ so much, and which he himself brings to you with bleeding hands. And, oh! if you have hitherto trifled with it, and let it slip, may you now, be brought to a better mind, lest haply, despising Christ, the “just recompence of reward” should come upon you. And what will that be? I know of no punishment that can be too severe for the man who treats with contempt the Son of God, and tramples on his blood; and every individual who hears the gospel, and yet does not receive Christ as his Saviour, is committing that atrocious crime.

Hebrews 2:3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;

If we neglect that salvation, is there any other way by which we can be rescued from destruction? Is there any other door of escape if we pass that one by? No, there is none.

Hebrews 2:3-4. Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

This gospel of ours is stamped with the seal of God; he has set his mark upon it, to attest its genuineness and authority. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were the seal that the gospel was no invention of man, but that it was indeed the message of God. Gifts of healing, gifts of tongues, gifts of miracles of divers kinds, were God’s solemn declaration to man, “This is the gospel; this is my gospel which I send to you; therefore, refuse it not.”

Hebrews 2:5. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

We have no angelic preachers; we sometimes speak of “the seraphic doctor,” but no seraph ever was a preacher of the gospel of the grace of God; that honour has been reserved for a lower order of beings.

Hebrews 2:6. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

God speaks to men by men. He has made them to be the choice and chosen instruments of his wondrous works of grace upon earth. Oh, what a solemn thing it is to be a preacher of the everlasting gospel! It is an office so high that an angel might covet it, but one that is so responsible that even an angel might tremble to undertake it. Brethren, pray for us who preach, not merely to a few, but to many of our fellow-creatures, that we may be the means, in the hand of God, of blessing to our hearers.

Hebrews 2:7-8. Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.

It was so with Adam in his measure. Before he fell, through his disobedience, all the animals which God had made were inferior to him, and owned him as their lord and master. It is infinitely more so in that second Adam who has restored to humanity its lost dignity, and, in his own person, has elevated man again to the head of creation: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”

Hebrews 2:8. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

Man does not yet rule the world. Wild beasts defy him. Storms vanquish him. There are a thousand things not at present submissive to his control.

Hebrews 2:9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Thus lifting man back into the place where he first stood so far as this matter of dominion is concerned.

Hebrews 2:10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Is it not wonderful that the Christ, who is the head over all things, could not be perfected for this work of ruling, or for the work of saving, except by sufferings? He stooped to conquer. Not because there was any sin in him, but that he might be a sympathetic Ruler over his people, he must experience sufferings like those of his subjects; and that he might be a mighty Saviour, he must be himself compassed with infirmity, that he might “have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.” Brothers and sisters, do you expect to be made perfect without sufferings? It will never be so with you.

The path of sorrow, and that path alone,

Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.

We shall never be fit for the Heavenly Canaan unless we first pass through the wilderness. There are certain things about us which require this, so thus it must be.

Hebrews 2:11. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one:

One family; one by nature with Christ our glorious Head.

Hebrews 2:11. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,—

Oh, this blessed condescension of Christ! We are often ashamed of ourselves; alas! we are sometimes so base as to be ashamed of him; but he is never ashamed to call us brethren.

Hebrews 2:12. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Christ, the center of the celestial chairs, is also the center of all the bands of true singers that are yet here below.

Hebrews 2:13. And again, I will put my trust in him.

This is our Lord Jesus Christ putting his trust in the Father, overcoming by faith, even as we do. Oh, what a marvellous oneness there is here between Christ and his people! Well might the apostle say that “both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.”

Hebrews 2:13-14. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;

We know what it is to be partakers of flesh and blood; we often wish that we did not. It is the flesh that drags us down; it is the flesh that brings us a thousand sorrows. I have a converted soul, but an unconverted body. Christ has healed my soul, but he has left my body still to a large extent in bondage, and therefore it has still to suffer; but the Lord will redeem even that. The redemption of the body is the adoption, and that is to come at the day of the resurrection. But think of Christ, who was a partaker of the Eternal Godhead, condescending to make himself a partaker of flesh and blood; — the Godhead linked with materialism; the Infinite, an infant; the Eternal prepared to die, and actually dying! Oh, wondrous mystery, this union of Deity with humanity in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord! Why did he become a partaker of flesh and blood, and die upon the cross?

Listen:

Hebrews 2:14. That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

That, through dying, he might overthrow Satan’s power for all who trust him.

Hebrews 2:15-18. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to Make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he it able to succour them that are tempted.

Glory be to his holy name for ever and ever! Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hebrews-2.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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