The Law of Sin and Death

(Chapter 2)

Fred R. Coulter—October 27, 2001

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Last time we came down through Hebrews 2:5. We're just going to have a brief review.

  • Heb. 1—tells us about Christ as the spiritual Son of God, coming in the flesh, and then now back at the right hand of God on the Majesty on high.
  • Heb. 2:1-4—gives a warning

We'll see this all the way through the book of Hebrews. There will be instruction or exhortation, and then there will be a warning.

  • Heb. 2:4-18—is instruction
  • Heb. 3-4—we start with the warning again; a very long warning

Remember that the book of Hebrews was written to those who had been in the Church a long, long time, and they were beginning to slip away, as it says here:

Hebrews 2:1: "For this reason, it is imperative that we give much greater attention to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should slip away."

Knowledge really doesn't slip away; knowledge is always there; people slip away when they let the knowledge that they have slip away! That's what happens, especially living in the Laodicean age that we live in today, it is so easy. As a matter fact, the world and everything around us and the religious things of the world accommodates that to give you an excuse to apostatize and go back to Sunday-keeping, go back to worshiping a false Christ. That's what Catholicism and Protestantism have, a false Christ. Howbeit they do use the Bible so it makes it look like it's the authentic thing. We will see here that God's love is conditional all the way through.

Verse 2: "For if the word spoken by angels was enforced without fail, and every transgression and disobedience received just recompense, how shall we escape, if we have neglected so great a salvation..." (vs 2-3). So, what he is doing here, he is now leading up to the rest of Heb. 2 to show how great this salvation really is and what God did to make it possible.

"…which was first received when it was spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him; God also bearing witness with them by both signs and wonders, and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (vs 3-4). Isn't that interesting? People like to have and to see miracles. But remember, it's according to God's own will. There will be great miracles when God determines that He is going to do it. Even the Apostle Paul said of Epaphras—remember? And the Apostle Paul did a lot of miracles. You can read of it in his ministry in the book of Acts. But Epaphras, Paul said, was near unto death because he was serving the brethren and 'we prayed for him and God heard us at the last minute and raised him up.' Miracles are according to God's will and timing and what He's going to do. It is not a miracle upon demand that we go to God and demand it, and God is obligated to give it.

Here is the whole summation of this section from Heb. 1 down to Heb. 2:5: "For it is not to the angels that He has placed in subjection the world that is to come, of which we are speaking."

We are looking for the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is going to be given to the sons of God (Rom. 8). The whole world is waiting for the completion of that plan. It's also very interesting that those who are going to be in the Kingdom of God are going to be the firstfruits. And it's also very interesting that you come back to the Passover. When the Passover in Egypt took place, who did it protect? The firstborn! All the rest of Israel was blessed because the firstborn were spared. All of Israel came out of Egypt. But now you're looking at the Church, which is called the Church of the Firstborn. God is going to spare the world—though He's going to correct it—because of those who are going to be born in the Kingdom of God to rule with Christ.

That's why it's so great a salvation, and none of the others are going to participate in it. Concerning God's love is partial according to His calling: God is not unjust because He will give an opportunity to others later through what we know as the second resurrection; that way God is no respecter of persons. But there has to be someone who is first; there has to be someone who is last. We happen to be first. We're kind of what you would say the last of the first. The first started with the few through the Old Covenant, through David, the prophets, and so forth; and then a greater of the harvest beginning on the Day of Pentecost.

It's very interesting that the #8 is a new beginning. Day 50 is the eighth day after the seventh week: seventh week, fiftieth day is eight! There was a new beginning at the temple, wasn't there, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit and having the remission of sins. That was the beginning of the firstfruits within the Church of God. Now we're coming down, there are still firstfruits, and we're the last of the firstfruits. Not exactly the very, very last, because you have the 144,000 of Rev. 7 and the great innumerable multitude who will be the very last, and the two absolute last ones are going to be the two witnesses. When that harvest is finished, the world is going to be put in subjection to the sons of God, not to the angels.

Let's just review that in Rom. 8. It's important that we understand it. When you understand the greatness of what God is doing, and the greatness of your calling and how profound that it is, then even in times of prosperity and pleasure and leisure, as we have today—which is being taken away from us, by the way—you will still be able to maintain the love, the zeal, the enthusiasm because the goal is so high, and the calling is so great, that you understand that there is nothing that is going to separate you from the love of God.

  • no man
  • no person
  • nothing concerning your own life
    • whether it be a problem in overcoming sin
    • whether it be weakness because of old age
    • whether it be because when you're getting old your memory is slipping

But remember, it is all still there in the brain and the only difficulty is your recall. So, if you hear it, it is there.

Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led..." We're going to see when Christ is going to bring many sons unto glory. That also can mean leading.

"…by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Now, you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father'" (vs 14-15).

Romans 8 makes it very clear here—especially v 15—that we have a Father/son relationship with God the Father that was opened to us by Jesus Christ. That's why it's so important that we maintain that relationship through the proper fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, which includes:

  • worship
  • prayer
  • service
  • study
  • growing
  • keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days

All of those combined form a complete salvation for us, a complete way of life for us. When all those are combined together it excludes the religions of the world, because all the religions of the world are a satanic substitute to take people away from God the Father and Jesus Christ. If that sounds exclusivist, then you take it up with God because God is the One Who has devised it. If we read what is in the Bible and believe what is in the Bible, and that's what the Bible tells us, then that's what God has done.

Verse 16: "The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—…" (vs 16-17). The world to come is going to be put in subjection to us under Christ. That's something to really contemplate.

Now notice, there's something else that has to happen with it: IF. There are 1,200 IFs throughout the Bible. If you get bored in Bible study, just get out a concordance and look up every place where the word IF is, and make yourself a little list. IF means there is a condition! Jesus said, 'IF you love Me, keep My commandments.' The condition is commandment-keeping and loving. {note sermon series: IF Statements of the Bible}

"...if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him. For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us" (vs 17-18). Never forget that!

In the ultimate of suffering, the worst you can do is die. If that happens and you die in the faith, you've got it made. Does not God take pleasure in the death of the saints? Why? Because they have attained to the purpose of God in their life! Then the glory will be revealed in us.

Verse 19: "For the earnest expectation of the creation itself is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God." The Apostle John said that when He appears 'we shall see Him, for we shall be like Him.' It's waiting for us. This also tells us that everything that is being done in the world will not work. There may be temporary successes here and there for various things. But the truth of the matter is, it's all going to fail! God wants us to understand that, but have hope in Him.

"…awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God… [here's why it's going to fail]: …because the creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly..." (vs 19-20). No one went up to God and said, 'Oh, God, fill me with vanity.' No! God gave the law of sin and death within us. Yes, He did! You inherit it. You have no choice over it. That's why there's the grace of God, to help you in salvation.

"...not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope, in order that the creation itself might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (vs 20-21). That's when the world will be subjected to us. That's why he's making it very, very clear in Heb. 2.

Verse 22: "For we know that all the creation is groaning together and travailing together until now. And not only that, but even we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, also groan within ourselves, awaiting the sonship—the redemption of our bodies" (22-23)—by the resurrection.

If this body we have sort of wears out and fades away, don't worry. You've got a spiritual body coming, and God's going to give it to you. You won't have to fight all the battles of the flesh any longer.

As we are reading Heb. 2:6-18—we'll come back and we'll go through each verse, verse-by-verse—what we're going to see is that God is showing what He has done through Jesus Christ, what He is now doing, and what He will do. But first of all, we have to see what He has done.

Hebrews 2:6: "But in a certain place one fully testified, saying, 'What is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visit him? You did make him a little lower than the angels; You did crown him with glory and honor, and You did set him over the works of Your hands; You did put all things in subjection under his feet.' For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that was not subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone; because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (vs 6-10). We just read that in Rom. 8.

Verse 11: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the Church I will sing praise to You.' And again, 'I will be trusting in Him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.' Therefore, since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner He also took part in the same, in order that through death He might annul him who has the power of death—that is, the devil; and that He might deliver those who were subject to bondage all through their lives by their fear of death. For surely, He is not taking upon Himself to help the angels; but He is taking upon Himself to help the seed of Abraham. For this reason, it was obligatory for Him to be made like His brethren in everything that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered, having been tempted in like manner, He is able to help those who are being tempted" (vs 11-18).

Verses 6-8, are quoted from Psa. 8. We are going to see four things concerning Christ:

  • v 7: "You did make Him a little lower than the angels…"

When was He made a little lower than the angels? When He divested Himself to become the pinpoint of life and to be impregnated in the virgin Mary! Angels, on the other hand were created, by God, as completed beings. Christ gave up all of that and was made lower than the angels.

  • "…You did crown Him with glory and honor…."

And when did that happen, referring to Christ? That happened when He was resurrected.

  • "…You did set Him over the works of Your hands."

Christ rules all, because 'by Whom and through Whom are all things made and created!'

  • v 8: "You did put all things in subjection under His feet…."

That's going to happen! Let's see when that happens.

We'll go back and we'll apply this to human beings, but first I want to apply it to Christ. This gives us a timeframe when all of this is going to happen.

1-Corinthians 15:20: "But now Christ has been raised from the dead… [when He received glory and honor] …He has become the first-fruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order… [and we understand that with the resurrections] …Christ the Firstfruit; then those who are Christ's at His coming. Afterwards the end comes, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to Him Who is God and Father, when He shall have put an end to all rule and all authority and power. For it is ordained that He reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when it is said that all things have been put in subjection, it is clearly evident that it does not include Him Who put all things in subjection under Him. But when He has put all things in subjection to Him, then shall the Son Himself also be subject to Him Who put all things in subjection to Him, so that God may be all in all" (vs 20-28).

That's what it's talking about here, Hebrews 2:8: "'You did put all things in subjection under his feet.' For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that was not subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we see Jesus..." (vs 8-9). Here we have an application to Christ in all of these things, and we have an application to mankind.

Let's see this application to mankind. This goes back to the very creation of God. We will see some of the things that He gave to crown us with honor and glory, and why it talks about that we are crowned with honor and glory; yet we are not glorified as spirit beings! But mankind has an honor and glory that the rest of the creation of God does not have. We will see what that is.

Psalm 8:3: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained." That's the way you feel when you go out, and it's a really clear night and you can look up into the heavens and see all the stars, if you're in an area that really makes the stars look a whole lot closer: no smog, no city lights, and you can look up and you can see the vastness of the heavens up there. You're standing out there all alone, you feel just like that. You feel like just a little pinprick of something.

You get the same feeling when you're on any vessel and you're out on the ocean. You look out on the ocean and you see all around you for as far as you can see nothing but water. Even if you're on a pretty good-sized ship, that ship is nothing but a little speck in that ocean. That's why God has created the things the way He has:

  • to glorify Himself
  • to humble man
    • so man will seek God
    • so man will come to Him
    • realizing that this is so great

Verse 4: "What is man that You are mindful of him…" You know how it is with human beings. If you are a big important 'mucky-muck,' you don't care about the underlings, any down there, because you have the power, you have the authority, and you're on top. God is not that way!

We've already seen here in the book of Romans that we can call God 'our Father.' That's a tremendous thing!

Verse 4: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" And God has! Started right out with Adam and Eve. Didn't the beginning of the book of Hebrews say that:

Hebrews 1:1: "God Who spoke to the fathers at different times in the past and in many ways by the prophets, has spoken to us in these last days by His Son." God Himself! God visited man, visited him in the flesh!

Concerning mankind, Psalm 8:5: "For You have made him a little lower than God and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet…. [that is sure true; look at what man is able to do, absolutely amazing]

Verse 7: "All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the birds of heaven, the fish of the sea, and all that pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!" (vs 5-9).

How is it that man has been crowned with glory and honor above all the rest of the creation? Gen. 1 reveals part of the plan of God in a way that this is a prophecy of what He is going to do. It's really an amazing thing! There are many, many things that are revealed about God, which we won't go into {note booklets: Defining the Oneness of God and The Nature of God, and sermon series: The Names of God}

Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let Us…" We know the word God 'Elohim' means more than one. The Bible reveals there were two beings, one Who became the Father, one Who became the Son, that are included in the term Elohim.

"...Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness..." (v 26). That is the glory and honor that is given to mankind, made in the likeness of God, after His image.

The unspoken story of the rest of the Bible "…after Our likeness..." (v 26) after His kind. That's quite a thing, really! Now you know why Paul was so emphatic there, writing that we shouldn't let these things slip away. We shouldn't slip away ourselves.

Now notice what else He did: "...and let them have dominion..." (v 26). So, He subjected the earth! Now, granted, with the fall of Adam and Eve it's subjected to angels. Originally, God was there with Adam and Eve. After that, God put the angels in charge. So, the angels were over men from that time forward.

But even with that, He still says of man: "...let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that crawls upon the earth.' And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over every living thing that moves upon the earth'" (vs 26-28). That's the honor and glory that God has given man!

Since God has given it, He also requires responsibility. That's why we have the account of Adam and Eve, and how that God expects a response back from those that have been crowned with that kind of glory and honor. When man puts it to use in a wrong way, God has to intervene. We see that in the case of the Flood of Noah, and after the Flood, at the Tower of Babel and the building of those things that they were doing.

We will see that this verifies when it says that God left nothing that was not in subjection to man. Yet, not all things are in subjection to him, because he doesn't have the spiritual character to do it. That's the long and the short of it. But nevertheless, God has given that to man, and He only intervenes when man comes to the point of doing great evil. I think that we're rapidly approaching that time again, because remember, Jesus said: 'As it was in the days of Noah so shall be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.' At this time the Tower of Babel is still in the days of Noah.

Genesis 11:1: "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." We're getting there again through English, through the computers.

Sidebar: What is going to happen in that area of the world of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and all of those? The English language is going to be imported in there in a way that has never been in the past. Which is also a way of paving the way so that the Gospel can be preached so they will understand the Truth. Even in that, God is going to use that to lay the foundation and groundwork so that those people will be able to hear the Word of God.

Verse 2: "And it came to pass, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they settled there. And they said to one another, 'Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.'…. [because they wanted to waterproof them] …And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar" (vs 2-3).

This is more like asbestos ooze that was coming out of the ground in what we call Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Kuwait today. Someone got all mad because I said that Josephus records that they were going to build a tower and make it waterproof just in case God was going to flood the earth again, that they could all flee into it and escape the flood. Well, I'm just reporting what Josephus said; so if that makes you upset, well then go be upset.

Verse 4: "And they said, 'Come, let us build us a city and a tower, with its top reaching into the heavens. And let us establish a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.'"

Of course, it was God's decision to put them in their inheritance. God created the nations. Now that we are trying to amalgamate everything in Babylon the Great, you see the difficulties that we have when you begin putting a superstructure over the nations and taking away the sovereignty that God gave them. They didn't want to do it.

Verse 5: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men had built. And the LORD said, 'Behold, the people are one and they all have one language. And this is only the beginning of what they will do—now nothing which they have imagined to do…" (vs 5-6). That is part of the glory and honor that God has given man.

I mean, right while we're sitting here today, out there in the heavens, the next planet out—Mars—they have successfully put in orbit a spacecraft which is going to photograph all about Mars, it's going to create a whole new map of Mars. They have detection equipment in there; they're going to find out: Is there water? Was there water? Of course, the mystery is, if there was water, where did it go? It will become a greater mystery if they can't detect water underground, or if they can only detect a very little water underground. But that's quite amazing that men can sit down to computers at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, and direct that satellite circling and orbiting around Mars and gathering all of this data and everything.

They're doing this, because man wants to go to Mars. Man has gone to the moon. They found out, there's not much you can do with the moon. So, they figure they're going to go to Mars. There is nothing that they can't do "…which they have imagined to do…" Look at all the different devices and gadgets that we have today. There are so many of them it is absolutely incredible. We even have machines that can make machines. It is phenomenal! We have computers that compute computers. All this came out of the imagination of man.

So, God confounded the languages and scattered them and took them to their inheritance where God originally intended that they go. When it says that 'man is crowned with glory and with honor,' that means that. When it says that 'He subjected all things under him,' He means that. But He hasn't let man have, yet, all things. He hasn't! Mankind is not ready to have all things subjected under him. There must be a change of nature. There must be a change of your existence from flesh to spirit before that will happen. So, there's the reason for all of this in Psa. 8.

Now then, Paul applies it to Jesus again, Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death..."—and the definite article is in there in the Greek: 'tho thanatos' means the one death, which had a particular significance for all of mankind.

In The Christian Passover book—The Nature of God and The Nature of Man—will explain in great detail, much more than we're going to do in the study, about how God accomplished that. But it is suffering the death. That is a special one-of-a-kind death. That God, manifest in the flesh, would come to this earth and die for those that He created to bring them salvation.

Notice, here's why it is the death, v 9: "...in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone." There's just a little caveat here with this, which is that everyone—and the rest of the Bible shows us who repents—who does not repent, the death of Christ is not applied to you as a sacrifice for the propitiation of your sins. Your death will take care of your sins and they shall no longer exist.

We need to look at a couple of Scriptures that are really important, because for God to manifest Himself in the flesh, and to become a human being just like we are for the purpose of dying, that's quite profound. In this God has done a tremendous thing. This is something that very few of the religions of this world even have a clue to understand. They cannot conceive, or they cannot picture that God would do this, this particular death.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God pronounced upon them, as His judgment, that they would die, which is in full accord of Old Testament and New Testament doctrine, which is that the wages of sin is death!

I need to mention just a couple of things in line with this. Christ was 'slain from the foundation of the world' (Rev. 13:8)—meaning that God had in His plan to save His creation, because He knew that in giving the power of free moral agency Adam and Eve would sin. He didn't make them sin, but He knew that in giving free moral agency, they would sin. So therefore, it wasn't any surprise to God that they did sin. Remember that after they had sinned and God was pronouncing the judgment upon them. He also gave the prophecy of His coming future death right there in Gen. 3:15 [transcriber's correction].

God showed—beginning with Adam and Eve—that there was coming a time when He was going to solve the problem of sin. But in the meantime He passed the sentence of death onto all human beings. That's why in Adam we all die. We are subject to death because God gave that sentence of judgment because of sin, and we didn't receive it willingly; it's inherent within our very being. How is God going to save His creation after He judged mankind in such a way?

Romans 5:12: "Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death..." So, death passed upon all men; we're all subject to death. The sentence is so universal that no one has escaped death. Satan has a counterfeit plan to try and make it look like human beings don't die, because he has the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul and you go to heaven.

And pray tell, if that's the case, why the resurrection? You don't need a resurrection, your spirit is already there; you are already in heaven looking down at your corpse while everyone is out there weeping and wailing that you have died. No! That's a counterfeit!When you're dead, you're dead all over. When you're dead, you know nothing. In the day that man dies his thoughts perish.

Death passed unto all men, and this made us even more imperfect than we were when we were originally created, if I could use we in the sense of Adam and Eve. God made them perfect physically. But they didn't have the character of God; that's what was the missing ingredient. So therefore, He created them to be neutral; that is, when there were first created they were neither subject to death, nor were they subject to receiving eternal life, because it was going to be based upon the condition of whether they would believe God and obey Him. That's the whole story of mankind:

  • Do you believe God?
  • Are you willing to obey Him?

Since God passed death unto all mankind, now man has a nature whereby he sins automatically.

"…and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned" (v 12). In other words, some people misconstrue it to mean that little babies, when they are born, are not subject to death because they haven't sinned, yet. Well, you have already lost your premise, because do babies die having never sinned? Yes! Those who are successful in growing up—which is the greater portion of humanity, and God worked it out that way—we sin because we have an imperfect nature, because we have a nature which is subject to death. That's why all sin!

How is God going to solve this? How is God going to redeem man? He solves it! If you entered into a court of law and you hauled God before the court of law and someone there is sitting, judging God—which men judge God all the time, but God survives all the judgment of men—what would the judgment of men be concerning God doing this to mankind? 'God, You're unfair! All of these innocent people down through the centuries, You have given the sentence of death and they have done nothing. You're unfair!' That's what a lot of people say!

No! God is not unfair! He has a way and a plan that He is going to do it. But He is not going to accomplish it until there are a sufficient number of human beings, according to the plan of God, that are going to eventually be in the Kingdom of God. There is the whole universe to take care of. That's going to require a lot sons of God, don't you think?

So then, rather than being judged by man, being condemned by man, and being accused by man that He is unfair, that He is not reasonable, why would He make man subject to death because of what Adam and Eve had done? After all, we weren't there, we didn't eat of the fruit, we didn't disobey God. We knew nothing about it. Furthermore, we didn't know anything about it until we read it in the Bible, or we heard a preacher preach it some time, and we often wonder: Why would God do that? After all, down deep inside of every one of us is the desire to live forever! So, God's judgment is this: The same judgment He put on His creation, He took upon Himself. Now, in order to do that, He had to be made like every other human being.

Let's see what comes with death. There is another law that is working within your members. It's automatic, called the pull of the flesh. The pull of the flesh is called here in Rom. 7 the law of sin and death.
Romans 7:14: "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, having been sold as a slave under sin."

  • Who sold you under sin? God did!
  • Who gave you a nature of death? God did!
  • Who alone can rescue you from that? God alone!

That's why all the religions in the world are vain, empty and foolish. They cannot solve the problem of sin and death. They may be able to sublimate sin—by having discipline and rigor; by having a moral standard to live by—but they never are able to sublimate death because they all die. They never overcome it. That's why Paul said, 'sold under sin.'

Then he explains about the nature that human beings have, v 15: "Because what I am working out myself, I do not know..." In other words, he really doesn't want to do what he's doing. Have you ever done something that you really didn't want to do, but you went ahead and did it anyway? Yeah, lots of times, many things!

"...For what I do not desire to do, this I do..." (v 15). Everybody has good intentions. What's the old cliché in the world? The road to hell is paved with good intentions!

"...moreover, what I hate, this is what I do. But if I am doing what I do not desire to do, I agree with the law that it is good" (vs 15-16). The Law defines right and wrong, good and evil.

Verse 17: "So then, I am no longer working it out myself; rather, it is sin that is dwelling within me"—meaning, it's part of your being. That's why even as Christians, in overcoming, we still have the law of sin and death still working in us; though we have God's Spirit to overcome it, it is still there. God put it in there. You inherit that very nature from your mother and father, and going all the way back to Adam and Eve.

So, Paul says, v 18: "Because I fully understand that there is not dwelling within me—that is, within my fleshly being—any good…." That's a very profound statement, meaning that even the very, very best that a human being can do can never be perfect to the standard of God's perfection, because something as imperfect as a human being can never make himself perfect. Even at your very best, you're still going to sin. That's why there's the grace of God. That's why Christ came.

"...For the desire to do good is present within me... [all human beings are that way 'I desire to do good'] ...but how to work out that which is good, I do not find" (v 18).

In other words, you really don't find a way to do it. Have you ever tried to do something really wonderful, fine, nice and lovely, and try and help somebody, have it just totally collapse on you and you then be accused of doing something evil, wrong, and something that was just absolutely despised by that person? Yes! We all have! That's the operation of human nature.

Verse 19: "For the good that I desire to do, I am not doing; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I am doing. But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me" (vs 19-20). He says it twice: "…sin is dwelling in me."

  • Did he have God's Spirit? Yes!
  • Was he an apostle? Yes!
  • Was he headed toward eternal life? Yes!
  • Was he teaching the Gentiles and the Israelites? Yes!

But his nature has to be changed, and the final change of the nature cannot come until the resurrection.

Verse 21: "Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members" (vs 21-23). So, you have in your members the law of sin.

Romans 8:2, he puts them together: "Because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death." You are not released from it; you still have it. That is the law that every person has within him, which we define as human nature or the downward pull of the flesh. That's the law of sin and death! Because death has passed on to all men, so it's the law of sin and death. The law of sin is within our members.

  • How is God going to change that?
  • How is He going to rescue mankind from that?

That's what Heb. 2 gives us, more understanding concerning.

Romans 5:6: "For even when we were without strength... [without the Spirit of God we are totally without strength] ...at the appointed time..." The Greek means in the set time, the very set time that God had determined, which is the Passover Day, Nisan 14, 30A.D.

"...Christ died for the ungodly" (v 6). That's quite a statement. That's why it says that He tasted death for everyone, because everyone is ungodly! Regardless of how good you may think you are, your very basic nature is ungodly. That's just the way that it is. God made it that way.

When we really understand that and really understand that salvation only comes from God, then we don't need to pull our bootstraps up over our head, and make ourselves stand so tall and have all the vanity and arrogance and authority of how great we are. Also, it shows you this: In order to die for the ungodly He had to be made lower than the angels. He had to be made in every respect like a human being, which means:

  • if Christ came as a human being
  • if Christ came to remove the judgment that He put upon mankind of the law and sin and death within them
  • if Christ was made in every respect like unto them
  • if Christ came and did not have the law of sin and death within Him

then His sacrifice could not cover the sins of all human beings!

There will be some people who theologically would fight against that. But God gave Himself this task into solving the judgment He gave to human beings, which is this: 'Since I put the law of sin and death in all human beings, I will take it upon Myself and not sin, and live a perfect life, be tempted in every way. He would have to have the law of sin and death in Him to be tempted in every way, otherwise He couldn't be tempted! If He did not take on the fullness of human nature where He would be subject to sin, if He so chose to do so, then His sacrifice could not be applied to all human beings, and that's what he's saying here so profoundly in Heb. 2.

When we read in Heb. 2 that He was 'tempted in all points like we are, yet, without sin'; the only way He could be tempted is if He had a nature where He could sin. But He rejected every temptation! He was filled with the Holy Spirit from conception!

Verse 7: "For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (vs 7-8).

  • He had to die
  • He had to be subject to death

If He was subject to death, He was subject to sin. If He was not subject to sin we could not have this said of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:14 "Having, therefore, a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith. For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but One Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet, He was without sin" (vs 14-15).

The very fact that it is worded that way shows that He had the possibility to sin, but He didn't. Some people would say, 'You are denigrating the sacrifice and life of Christ.' No, I'm not! That is magnifying it even more, because for God to do that makes it even greater. Neither of those verses could be if it were not the fact that He took upon Himself in being made human, to be fully human, to take the law of sin and death within His own members.

2-Corinthians 5:21: "For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us..." To know no sin means that He did not sin. It says He was without sin (1-Peter 2).

Hebrews 4:15: "…He was without sin."

2-Corinthians 5:21 "...so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." That's how God is going to solve the problem.

It's so very important to understand what God has done. This is what happens when people become very lethargic and they began slipping away from God. What happens is that when you begin slipping away from God, you have all sorts of good intentions and justifications in your own mind as to why you are still okay, even though you know you're slipping away. Have you ever had that process go on in your life? Sure! That's why the Apostle Paul is making it so clear, the very importance of what Christ has done. He wants us never to forget what He has done and how great this was that God did this.

Romans 5:8: "But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore… [there's more beyond that] …having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the reconciliation" (vs 8-11).

That's what we need to remember. When everything about God or the Bible devolves down to a religion where you pick and choose what you will do, what you won't do, where you set up your own standard of righteousness, then you begin to forget about what Christ has done, you begin to slip away from God. We have seen the whole process take place, even within the Churches of God. That's why these warnings are here.

 After the warnings, then he gives the reason for why we really need to look to Jesus. And the whole point of all the book of Hebrews is to keep:

  • your mind
  • your heart
  • your affection
  • everything

on Jesus Christ

  • Never forget what He has done!
  • Never forget Who He was!
  • Never forget Who He now is!

That's what he is saying.

Hebrews 2:9: "...He Himself might taste death for everyone... [to those who repent] …because it was fitting for Him... [in other words, it was entirely proper for Him] ...for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing..." (vs 9-10).

Remember Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."

Hebrews 2:10: "...in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Not that God was ever not perfect. He always was perfect! But God never experienced being a human being until Christ came in the flesh.

Now then, He was able to be perfected even much more. He had to suffer because He gave up all the glory and honor of God to become a human being and take within His members the law of sin and death. If you don't think that is suffering, then you have no clue as to what suffering is. Not only that, but to die the ignominious death that He did. {note sermon series: The Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament}. Go back and review this series, and you can see all the prophecies that the One Who became Jesus Christ prophesied concerning Himself and the death that He would go through, and the crucifixion, and the agony, and all of the things that go with it. God knew! That's why it's so great. He was made perfect through sufferings.

For what purpose? Verse 11: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one..." You need to understand that even more. We're going to be at one with God, the fullness of being in the same glory that Jesus Christ is.

John 17 is one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible, because it tells us:

  • what God is doing
  • what Christ was
  • what Christ did
  • the overall goal of being one

John 17:1: "Jesus spoke these words, and lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your own Son, so that Your Son may also glorify You.'" There are two ways that He was glorified:

  • Through the brutality of the crucifixion, because He took upon Him all the sins of the world. That glorified God because it paved the way to remove sin for all those who repent.
  • He would glorify God again at the resurrection when He would come and present Himself as the perfect sacrifice after the crucifixion.

Verse 2: "'Since You have given Him authority over all flesh...'" No human being is going to escape the authority of Jesus Christ. I do not care whether you are an atheist or an agnostic, or if you're a Muslim or a Buddhist—whatever—you are not going to escape the authority of Jesus Christ over you—period! That's just an eternal fact of life.

  • you can ignore Him
  • you can reject Him
  • you can despise Him
  • you can hate Him
  • you can fight against and kill those whom He has called

but you cannot escape Him!

He has authority over all flesh. It says in another place that every knee is going to bow to Christ!No one excepted! If you won't bow the knee to Christ, you can see your fate by looking into any lava lake on any volcano, because that is a lake of fire, and when you are cast in there that is where you shall be burned up. So, He has authority over all flesh. No one can escape that!

"...in order that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him" (v 2). God the Father has to call those to eternal life. The work that God is doing is not a happenstance chance. It is determined! It is planned! God the Father is actively involved,

John 6:44: "No one can come to Me unless the Father, Who sent Me, draws him…" He gives them to Christ!

John 17:3: "For this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God..." At the time Jesus was saying that, that was an absolutely true statement, because Christ was God manifest in the flesh, He was not wholly God at that time. So, at that time God the Father was the only true God.

"...and Jesus Christ, Whom You did send" (v 3)—referring to Him being in the flesh now at this time.

Verse 4: "I have glorified You on the earth… [by His whole life; by His whole ministry] …I have finished the work that You gave Me to do." There is a finish and there is an end to the work that God is doing. He finished that part of it. When you come to Rev. 21, again He says, 'It is done.' So, He finishes that part of the work.

Now also, there is a work that God is doing in every one of us. He is going to finish it in every one of us unto death and the resurrection. He finished it! He didn't come and say, 'Well, God, I really tried…' The New-Age Jesus: 'I really tried'? That's the excuse for everything: 'Well if I try, you've got to accept it, and it is done. I put forth the effort.' Like if you work in a factory and something goes wrong and you blow up the machine, and the boss comes around and says, 'Why did this happen?' Well, I tried. 'Yeah, but the machine is blown up.' Well, I was well intended. I tried.

No! God is not doing a haphazard 'I tried.' He's going to do it! He's going to finish it!

Verse 5: "And now, Father, glorify Me with Your own self, with the glory that I had with You before the world existed." That means before the world existed, showing that Jesus had glory because He was God, and He divested Himself of that glory and honor and became a human being.

Verse 6: "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours..."

Verse 14. "I have given them Your words, and the world has hated them..."We're going to learn that lesson, too, brethren. The world is going to hate us.

"...because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one [Satan the devil]. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your Truth; Your Word is the Truth" (vs 14-17).

What do we find here back in Hebrews 2:11: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one..." Christ is showing how that process is done, through the Word of God, through the Spirit of God. You can't have the Spirit of God without the Word of God. It's an impossibility, the two go together.

John 17:17: "Sanctify them in Your Truth; Your Word is the Truth. Even as You did send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself..." (vs 17-19).

How is He going to sanctify Himself? By marching to that trial and crucifixion after being arrested, and dying! That's how He sanctified Himself.

"...so that they also may be sanctified in Your Truth. I do not pray for these only, but also for those who shall believe in Me through their word" (vs 19-20). There is a perpetual prayer that Jesus Christ gave to God the Father, which is taking place every day for all of those that believe.

Verse 21: "That they all may be one …[that's what we read back there in Heb. 2:11] …even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us… [that goes right back to Gen. 1:26] ...in Us, in order that the world may believe that You did send Me. And I have given them the glory that You gave to Me, in order that they may be one, in the same way that We are one" (vs 21-22).

That's the whole plan and purpose, brethren, of the firstfruits. A special, eternal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ through all eternity that none of the others entering into the Kingdom of God after that time will have. That's something! That's why he is so emphatic about when he says, 'It is imperative that we give full attention to the things that we have heard.'

Verse 23: "I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me may also be with Me where I am, so that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; because You did love Me before the foundation of the world" (vs 23-24).

I'll tell you what, brethren, the Kingdom of God will never succeed unless there is the love of God. That's what God is basing the whole thing on.

Verse 25: "Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You did send Me. And I have made known Your name to them, and will make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (vs 25-26). That is how all are sanctified in one.

Now let's come back and we'll finish Hebrews 2:11: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."

That's why it's important we remember this, brethren. It's absolutely amazing what God has done!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Hebrews 2:1-5
  • Romans 8:14-23
  • Hebrews 2:6-18, 7-8
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
  • Hebrews 2:8-9
  • Psalm 8:3-4
  • Hebrews 1:1
  • Psalm 8:5-9
  • Genesis 1:26-28
  • Genesis 11:1-6
  • Hebrews 2:9
  • Romans 5:12
  • Romans 7:14-23
  • Romans 8:2
  • Romans 5:6-8
  • Hebrews 4:14-15
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Hebrews 4:15
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Romans 5:8-11
  • Hebrews 2:9-10
  • Romans 8:14
  • Hebrews 2:10-11
  • John 17:1-2
  • John 6:44
  • John 17:3-6, 14-17
  • Hebrews 2:11
  • John 17:17-26
  • Hebrews 2:11

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 7; 13:8
  • Genesis 3:15
  • 1-Peter 2
  • Revelation 21

Also referenced:

Sermons/Series

  • IF Statements of the Bible
  • The Names of God

Booklets:

  • Defining the Oneness of God by Carl Franklin
  • The Nature of God by Carl Franklin
  • The Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament

Books:

  • Josephus
  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter

Articles:

  • Nature of God (The Christian Passover)
  • Nature of Man (The Christian Passover)

FRC: mds/cis
Transcribed: 06/10/2004
Reformatted/Corrected: bo—January/2017

BOOKS