In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
(New International Version)
Jesus has tasted of “death” for everyone. Through His sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus purchased our pardon from sin and, as a result, we are “sanctified,” – a word meaning, “to be made holy,” or “to be set apart.” We who have put our faith in the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus, and who have surrendered our hearts and lives to Him, now belong exclusively to God; we are “a people for God’s own possession” (I Peter 2:9). We are now members of His forever family. This passage says that Jesus refers to us as, “the children whom God has given Me.” Wow! What a beautiful way for Jesus to acknowledge us. Furthermore, this passage says that He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.
I have to confess that I sometimes feel ashamed of myself when I think of all the pride, egotism, and selfishness that characterizes my life. I know I don’t always choose to behave in a way that honors the tremendous sacrifice He has made for me. When I think of His suffering—the way that He took upon Himself all my burden of sin, the crown of thorns upon His head, the beatings, the mocking, the excruciating flogging that He endured, the tremendous weight of the cross upon His shoulders, so great that He fell beneath the load, and what it must have been like to have His body stretched out on the cross and feel the nails being driven into his wrists and ankles, and then to be hoisted up to be publicly and shamefully displayed between heaven and earth, writhing in pain and agony—well, I find it hard to forgive myself for so often falling prey to “the sin that so easily entangles” me (Hebrews 12:1).
But according to this passage, Jesus, the pioneer of my salvation, makes me holy. God does not see me as holy because I am holy, or even because I try to be holy. He sees me as holy because His Son makes me holy. That’s why He went through all that torture, pain, humiliation, and even tasted of death—to make me holy. Furthermore, while I all too often embarrass myself with my sinful thoughts and behavior, He is not embarrassed to call me His brother, a child of God, one of His own.
One of the incredible privileges that goes along with getting to a part of God forever family is the blessing of being free from fear; and, in particular, being free from the fear of death. Knowing how much He loves me, and all that He has done for me, how can I walk in fear and worry, with anxiety in my heart, stressing over the fact that life, at best, is really short and I’m soon going to die just like everybody else. Are YOU afraid to die?
A lot of people, perhaps most people, think of “death” as the worst possible thing they can imagine ever happening to them; and so, they walk in fear of death! This passage says that, at one time, we were all “subject to slavery” because of our “fear of death.” But that is not the case any longer. The children of God do not have to live in fear of death. Why? Because Jesus allowed Himself to become one of us. He stepped out of eternal glory and became flesh and blood, just like us. And, having lived a righteous life, He went to the cross to pay the price for our sins, thereby opening the way for us to enter into eternal life with God. Death is now nothing more than the portal through which we tumble from this life into the waiting arms of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Satan, our adversary, the evil one, the devil, the accuser, as the Bible sometimes calls him, once had a claim against us. His desire has always been to use God’s holiness, God’s justice, God’s own law against us. We have all sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God. Therefore, by God’s own word, we deserve to die – not only physically, but spiritually, eternally. Satan wants to drag us through our sins, point judgmental fingers at us, heap loads of guilt upon us, and make us utterly ashamed of ourselves. His ultimate desire is for justice. He is the prosecutor seeks to see us eternally condemned for our transgressions. But Jesus has nullified Satan’s charges and accusations against us. Jesus has acknowledged Satan’s demands for justice by paying the price that we owed for our sins with His own body and His own blood. And, in doing so, Jesus has silenced Satan’s accusations and left him powerless against us—unable to bring a charge against God’s elect because the price for our sins has ALREADY been paid!
Thank You, thank You, thank You… Oh Lord, My God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—for delivering me from the power of the prosecutor who seeks to use Your holy, righteous, and just law against me. I confess to you that I have sinned, I do sin, I fall short of Your glory. Satan’s accusations are not unjust. He is not in error to condemn me for my unrighteous and rebellious behavior. By Your own word, I know that I deserve to die eternally and that no amount of repentance, or sacrifice, or devotion, or righteous living on my part could ever make amends for the sins I’ve committed. Even if my goodness could, somehow, manage to outweigh my wickedness, still, it could not change the fact that I am a sinner and I deserve eternal condemnation. And so, my only hope, my only plea, my only claim to life with You is Jesus! Lord Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You for loving me enough to do what You’ve done for me. You, by paying the price for all my sins with Your own death have set me free from the law of sin and death. The prosecutor has no more claim against me. Your righteous law has been satisfied. And now, I no longer fear death. In fact, I look forward, in peaceful anticipation, to that moment when I am finally allowed to tumble through death’s dark portal into the light of Your beautiful and radiant presence.
Copyright © 2022 Philip R. Stroud
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