Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DEATH TO DEATH (Hebrews Chapter 2)

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

“Lifelong slavery.”  “Fear of death.”  These phrases speak to the tragic estate into which the sons of Adam are born.  “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  Since the fall of man sin, death, and the devil have worked to hold men in bondage and fear.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (Cf. 1 Timothy 1:12).  His was a “divine rescue mission.”  “He left his Father’s throne above, So free, so infinite His grace!  Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam’s helpless race?”  In a glorious act of divine condescension He was born of a woman and born under the law (Cf. John 1:14; Galatians 4:4).  He partook of flesh and blood that He might stand in our place and bear the punishment that we deserve in order that through HIs death and resurrection He might render the devil powerless.

In Christ death met an insurmountable foe, because “it was impossible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).  Satan’s power was broken at the cross when “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them” (Colossians 2:15).  The resurrection of the Lord Jesus has worked to secure eternal life for the believer.  No longer need he be threatened by it.  “When the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

F. B. Meyer commented, “Scripture has no doubt as to the existence of the devil.  And those who know much of their own inner life, and of the sudden assaults of evil to which we are liable, cannot but realize his terrible power.  And from this passage we infer that that power was even greater before Jesus died.  "He had the power of death.”  It was a chief weapon in his infernal armory.  The dread of it was so great as to drive men to yield to any demands made by the priests of false religions, with their dark impurities and hideous rites.  Thus timid sheep are scared by horrid shouts and blows into the butcher's shambles.  But since Jesus died, the devil and his power are destroyed.  Brought to naught, not made extinct.  Still he assails the Christian warrior, though armed from head to foot; and goes about seeking whom he may devour, and deceives men to ruin.  Satan is not impotent though chained.  He has received the wound which annuls his power, but it has not yet been effectual to destroy him.  His power was broken at the cross and grave of Jesus.  The hour of Gethsemane was the hour and power of darkness.  And Satan must have seen the Resurrection in despair.  It was the knell of his destiny.  It sealed his doom.  The prince of this world was judged and cast out from the seat of power (John 12:31, 16:11).  The serpent's head was bruised beyond remedy.  Fear not the devil, O child of God; nor death!  These make much noise, but they have no power.  The Breaker has gone before thee, clearing thy way.  Only keep close behind him.  Hark!  He gives thee power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt thee (Luke 10:9).  No robber shall pluck thee from thy Shepherd's hand.”

The believer in Christ need not fear death.  A dying man was fearful, even though he was a born-again Christian.  He expressed his feelings to his Christian doctor.  The physician was silent, not knowing what to say.  Just them a whining and scratching was heard at the door.  When the doctor opened it, in bounded his big beautiful dog, who often went with him to make house calls.  The dog was glad to see his master.  Sensing an opportunity to comfort his troubled patient, the doctor said, “My dog has never been in your room before, so he didn’t know what it was like in here.  But he knew I was in here, and that was enough.  In the same way, I’m looking forward to heaven.  I don’t know much about it, but I know my Savior is there.  And that’s all I need to know.

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