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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 11

A Glimpse of Our Destiny

And His elect are not being saved and delivered from this present darkness to sit around heaven on clouds plucking harps! His purposes are much greater than that — far beyond our power to imagine!

Hebrews, chapter 2, gives us a wonderful glimpse into the purposes of God. Verses 3 and 4 refer to the greatness of our salvation and the fact that God had confirmed it through signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Notice that added to this is the phrase, “according to his own will.” Always we see God’s sovereignty lifted up!

Verse 5 begins to hint at the ultimate goal of our salvation: “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” Here we see that there is a world that is yet to come and that God intends for someone to rule over it. Ruling over the world to come is not the destiny of angels. God has someone else in mind.

We know from Heb. 1:2 & 10-11 that the earth and the heavens were created by God’s Son and that this creation will perish. There is a day and an hour already set on God’s calendar when He will utterly destroy this sin-corrupted creation by fire. He intends to replace it with “... new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” II Pet. 3:13. That new earth will not be empty and uninhabited: someone will be there to enjoy it!

In Heb. 2:6-8 the writer quotes from Psalm 8 where God gave David a glimpse of His purpose in creating man. Verse 7 and the first part of verse 8 get to the heart of the matter: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownest 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.”

The expression, “a little lower than the angels,” would be better translated, “for a little while lower than the angels.” It is a question of time. God’s intention for man was to subject him temporarily to a place below that of the angels but ultimately that man should rule not only over the physical creation but even over the angels! Paul makes reference to this in I Cor. 6:3 where he says, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” Don’t ask me to explain that but it certainly is part of a pattern in the scriptures that points to the great destiny God had in mind in creating man.

Heb. 2:8 confirms this as the writer draws our attention to the word “all”: “For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.” He continues with the observation, “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Obviously, man has not fulfilled his destiny. Despite his scientific achievements which point to his creation in the image of God, he has fallen under the dominion of sin and death and lives as a pawn in Satan’s hands awaiting destruction. Is that to be the end of it? Has God’s plan been set aside, thwarted? Never!

It is true that as we look around, man has missed God’s purpose and this creation is far from under his control. In fact, everything man touches, he corrupts. What, then, gave the writer hope? His hope came, not from what he saw in man, but from the fact that he saw Jesus! This kind of seeing is only possible by Divine revelation.

Verse 9 says, “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.”

For the purpose of God to be fulfilled it was necessary for His Son to leave behind the glories of heaven and to come and live as a man, to take upon himself the sorrows and sufferings, and ultimately the sin, of this present world. He became, in a real sense, the embodiment of a corrupted creation. Yet within Him was the very life, the seed, of the new creation God had purposed to bring forth.

That is why, in John 12:23-24 Jesus compares his approaching death to planting a “corn of wheat.” If you don’t plant wheat all you have is that wheat. If you plant it, however, the outward part dies, but the life within springs up resulting in a multiplied harvest of that life. This is where the “wheat” from the Matt. 13 parable comes from — Christ!

That is the principle we see at work throughout God’s kingdom in this world: life out of death. When God judged the sin of the world in the person of His Son He passed sentence upon this world — a sentence that will shortly be carried out. Christ, for His part, willingly gave up His life, in effect joining His Father’s condemnation of this world. But He gave up His life in the knowledge of what it meant to have God’s life within. That life could never die and its fruit would be eternal! Through His death we live! A way of escape from the fate of this world has been opened.

Many Sons

Verse 10 is a key: “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.”

What a tremendous scripture! How full of meaning!

The “him” in the verse is the Father. The “captain of their salvation” is Christ. We see the Father putting His Son through a process that included “sufferings” to serve a larger purpose. That purpose is wonderfully captured in the phrase, “bringing many sons unto glory.”

Let that phrase sink in! It is at the heart of God’s purposes for the eternal future: to have, not just one Son, but many! Who are these “sons”? They are the redeemed of all ages, saved out of a world of sin and death, sovereignly prepared to rule over and enjoy a brand new creation!

Once we begin to grasp the significance of God’s “bringing many sons unto glory” our perspective changes dramatically. For one thing it removes the focus from this world. We are able to see this present world order as something very temporary that serves a larger purpose. God’s focus is not on reforming this world but on His sons who sojourn here. This world with all its darkness is necessary to the development and preparation of His sons for eternity.

Perfect Through Sufferings

We can see this principle being applied to our Captain in this very verse. The verse begins with the phrase, “For it became him ....” What does that mean? It means, “It was appropriate for him ....” It means, “In view of who He is and what His purpose was, it was the right thing for Him to do.”

What was that right and appropriate thing? — “... to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Think about that! Listen to some of the definitions of the Greek word translated “to make perfect”: “to perfect”; “to advance (a person to) final completeness (of character)”; “to be brought to the goal”; “to reach the end of one’s course”; “to be fully developed.”

Do you realize what this is saying?! We’re talking about the very Son of God who was with the Father before the foundation of the world, the “appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Heb. 1:2. Yet God’s vision and purpose looked far beyond this present world. Even though His Son was the appointed heir, He was incomplete! Something was lacking, something that made it necessary for Him to live as a man in this evil world and suffer! His course was not finished, His race not run. He was not ready to fulfill His place in the Father’s great plan.

This same truth is touched on in Heb. 5:8-9. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

At least one of the things our Savior learned through His sufferings was “obedience.” Does that mean that He had been a disobedient and rebellious son? Of course not! But there is more to obedience than what He had known before coming to earth.

In coming to earth, He didn’t take on “the nature of angels” but “the seed of Abraham.” In all things He was “made like unto his brethren.” Heb. 2:16-17. His very being, as ours does, cried out to live! The prospect of the cross brought forth three hours of agonizing prayer. If there had been any other way, he would have loved to have avoided the horror He faced. Yet he found grace to pray, “Not my will but thine be done.” Luke 22:42.

Heb. 4:15 tells us that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Phil. 2:8 says, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

That is the obedience the Father seeks, not only from His Son, but also from all of His sons. It is a part of the development of our character for what lies ahead. Notice in Rev. 12:11 that one of the things it says of those who overcame the devil is, “... and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

That death is more than physical death, the end of our lives here. It is the lifelong process of choosing God’s will over our own, as Paul said in I Cor. 15:31, “... I die daily.” It is obeying God in the face of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Such obedience can only be learned in the arena of life.

Those who know the Lord long for the day of final deliverance from the warfare we experience in this world. We live with two natures in constant conflict with each other. The “flesh,” or the “outward man,” born of Adam and corrupted by the fall, loves sin and hates God. He is a rebel and cannot be reformed and made righteous before God. The only solution is for him to be put to death. That is why the law is powerless to save. All it can do is to show us our desperate need. Forcing a rebel to behave and conform to some righteous standard does not alter his heart. He must die.

The great miracle of the new birth is that there is a way to die and yet live! Paul wrote in Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

That is what Christ Himself experienced. He died, yet lived! Having lived a life in which He denied self and chose the Father’s will, He made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down His life in death. He received the full penalty of God’s law, not for His own sins, for He had none, but for ours. Yet death had no power over the life He had on the inside. At the appointed time He burst the bonds of death — forever!

When a man truly comes to Christ in saving faith, he willingly bows to the demands of God’s law, giving up his life. The result is that he receives the same life that brought Christ forth from the grave in triumph!

In the new birth Christ’s death becomes our death — and His life becomes our life: That which is born within us is of the very life of God Himself! The “new man” is very much a “baby” and then a young child needing to develop and grow.

I John 3:1-2 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

The meaning of these verses is made clearer when we realize that the word translated “sons” actually means “children” and not grown-up sons. The life of a believer during this present age is actually his childhood, a time of growing and maturing in preparation for eternity. The inward man is being made like Christ. It is only when He returns that that likeness will be complete. Only then will we be full-grown sons of God, manifest for all to see.

That is not to say that there are not degrees of spiritual maturity in this life. Certainly there are and the Lord desires that we grow up and become established in Him. However, the highest degree of spirituality believers experience here pales beside the glory yet to come. Even John the Apostle had to say of that, “... it doth not yet appear what we shall be.”

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