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with Shelby Hazzard
To Destroy the Devil (Vs. 14-16) “14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things” …Christ had to become “incarnate” in the flesh to save humanity, Phil 2:6-8, “though he (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Christ was born with all the normal characteristics that a male human is born with, except one, the fallen nature of Adam.
That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil… Christ’s primary mission was to reverse the curse (Gen. 3) brought on by the serpent’s deception of Adam and Eve, which brought death to the human race through God’s judgement. Christ’s humanity enabled him to…15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. “He is the covenantal seed of Abraham, and his people are one with him by spiritual incorporation into that same seed, without respect to race or culture. In him, they are the “many sons” who are being brought to glory (v. 10), whom he is not ashamed to call “brethren” (v. 11), “the children” God has given him (v. 13) delivered by him from bondage and death (v. 15) those namely, who, having received him and believed in his name, he has given the power to become children of God (Jn. 1:12).” (Hebrews, Hughes, 119)
Jesus became human (although sinless) and died to destroy the Devil and the power of death.
To Make Propitiation (Vs. 17-18) 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God…Christ was made like us to “identify himself completely with mankind, whom he came to rescue, by a true incarnation, involving the assumption not only of flesh and blood but also of human feelings and sensibilities…every respect.” “The Son could not have represented men before God, offering, as their high priest, the sacrifice of himself on their behalf and in their place, had he not first become their fellow man.” (Hebrews, Hughes, 119-20)
To make propitiation for the sins of the people…Expiation emphasizes the removal of guilt through a payment of the penalty, while propitiation emphasizes the appeasement or averting of God’s wrath and justice. Both words are related to reconciliation, since it is through Christ’s death on the cross for our sins that we are reconciled to a God of holy love (Romans 5:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Colossians 1:19-23 ). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Only the one that withstood and endured the temptation without falling, as Christ did, is able to help us to withstand temptation. “To be tempted is to be put to the test. To give in to temptation is to fall into sin and fail the test. Christ alone has passed the test by overcoming every single temptation through which he went.” (Hebrews, Hughes, 123)
“The help that he brings is two fold: first, he brings forgiveness of sins, the annulment of past defeats, and second, the power (his) to fight and overcome temptation. His own conquest of temptation means for the Christian that the dominion of sin over him has been broken (Rom. 6:14). These two realities, forgiveness and power, are present in the passage before us: he who is our merciful and faithful high priest has both made propitiation for our sins and, himself the victor, is able to help those who are tempted.” (Hebrews, Hughes, 124)
As hard as one may try, people are not capable of breaking the power of sin on their own. We are in need of a Savior, Christ took on a human body to be that Savior. “Our hell became his, that his heaven might be ours. Never was there such mercy, never such faithfulness, as this!” (Hebrews, Hughes, 120)
Hazzard is pastor of Woodland Church, Columbus.