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1-1-23 Our Destiny

Our Destiny (Hebrews 2:10-18)

David Peterson / General

Glorification; Destiny / Hebrews 2:10–18

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Our best days are yet to come. We are destined to glory! However, the path to glory passes through the cross of Christ.

Introduction

Trying to look younger and prevent aging has become an $88 billion a year business. That’s based on the research in a new book by Arlene Weintraub titled Selling the Fountain of Youth: How the Anti-Aging Industry Made a Disease Out of Getting Old—And Made Millions. According to an article based on this book, “The anti-aging phenomenon started off with good intentions. Baby boomers were getting older and didn’t like what they saw or how they felt.” In 1990 the New England Journal of Medicine claimed that human growth hormone (HGH), which was previously used to treat growth disorders in children, could be used to reverse aging. Adults latched on to this news like “junkies.” Then, in 1993 a number of doctors started injecting themselves with HGH. A little later these doctors started opening clinics where patients could learn to inject themselves with HGH (for thousands of dollars of course).

Today supermarkets and drugstore aisles teem with bottles adorned with the words “anti-aging.” In 2009 Botox sales topped $1 billion. Anti-aging “institutes” have also continued to expand their client base. According to one anti-aging company president, these products comprise “the perfect example of a service you’re not going to give up in a bad economy.”

What’s driving this quest to find, bottle, sell, and ingest a modern-day fountain of youth? The answer might be found in this book’s subtitle—How the Anti-Aging Industry Made a Disease Out of Getting Old. Sadly, for many people in our culture, getting old isn’t an opportunity to grow in wisdom and grace; it’s a “disease.”

Source: Bess Levin, “The Old and the Beautiful,” Businessweek (August 26, 2010)

I. Glory! (Hebrews 2:10)

1. The glory of Christ

HERE, the writer to the Hebrews uses one of the great titles of Jesus. He calls him the pioneer (archēgos) of glory. The same word is used of Jesus in Acts 3:15, 5:31; Hebrews 12:2.

Barclay, W. (2002). The Letter to the Hebrews (p. 30). Westminster John Knox Press.

2. Members of the same family—divine life

a. partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1.4)

b. “He became Man that we might be made God” (Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God)

This strong expression is a not uncommon one in Athanasius’ writings. Irenæus also speaks of Christ ‘raising again humanity into God by His incarnation’ (v. 1, comp. iv. 63–8), and Clement of Alexandria, ‘He who is God became man that we might become God’ (Protrept i. 8), and Origen has the same thought, ‘From Christ began the union of the Divine with the human nature, in order that the human, by communion with the Divine, might rise to be Divine’ (contr. Cels. iii. 28). Comp. Augustine (Serm. 166, 3), ‘Deus enim deum te vult facere,’ and Thomas Aquinas, ‘The Only-begotten Son of God, wishing us to be partakers of His own Divinity, assumed our nature and became Man that men might become gods’ (Psa. 82:6, John 10:34). The idea is a true paraphrase of St. Peter’s teaching (2 Pet. 1:4), ‘Ye may become partakers of the Divine nature,’ and of St. Paul’s, ‘We are members of His Body’ (Eph. 5:30).

Athanasius of Alexandria. (1903). Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God (T. H. Bindley, Trans.; Second Edition Revised). The Religious Tract Society.

II. It fits reality (Hebrews 2:10)

The fact that God the Father decreed that it must be through the blood of Christ’s Cross that the Captain of our salvation would become the Saviour of sinners, did not find its origin in a divine fiat, but in the very constitution of the nature of God. A holy God cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance. A righteous God cannot but require that the demands of the violated law be satisfied. And a loving God cannot but provide the very payment of the penalty which His law demands. Thus, the writer shows the sweet reasonableness of the Cross. And because only God can satisfy the demands of God, so only the Messiah who is one of the Persons of the Godhead, could in the great plan of salvation, provide the sacrifice. God the Father provides the salvation, God the Son procures it, and God the Holy Spirit applies it. (Wuest’s Word Studies)

Only the One who has been “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb_2:9) because of suffering and is thus the very “radiance” of God’s “glory” (Heb_1:3) is able to bring them into this destiny. [Spicq, 2:38, citing Westcott. See also Weiss, 205.]

Later the pastor will show the faithful that their own suffering corresponds to Christ’s. It substantiates their legitimacy as God’s “sons and daughters” who through perseverance follow the Son’s example (Heb_12:4-11). NICNT

III. We will be tempted (Hebrews 2:18)

(2:11) In order to bring many sons to glory, our Lord becomes to them a brother. The words “He that sanctifieth” refer to the Lord Jesus, the One who puts the believer on the path to glory, and then through the ministry of the Holy Spirit leads him on that road through the process of progressive sanctification and finally through glorification into the eternal conditions where all through the eternal ages he will grow more and more like the Lord Jesus and approach toward His likeness, but will not in the infinite years of eternity, ever become in an absolute sense just like Him, for finiteness can only approach toward infinity, never equal it. The words “they who are sanctified” refer, of course, to the saints. (Wuest)

God is infinitely more concerned with our holiness than with our happiness, and with giving us help at the point of pain than with delivering us from the pain.

Self, W. L. (2010). Homiletical Perspective on Hebrews 2:10‒18. In D. L. Bartlett & B. B. Taylor (Eds.), Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: Year A (Vol. 1, p. 161). Westminster John Knox Press.

Jesus is the one who makes men holy, and he continues to do so until the end of time. He is the one who removes the sin of the world (John 1:29) and constantly serves as high priest on behalf of his people. The sanctification of his people is not an isolated event but a lifelong process. The path of sanctification lies in obedience to doing God’s will, and that obedience is out of gratitude. But, we may ask, can holy people do God’s will perfectly? A sixteenth-century catechism states, “No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.” If we fall into sin, our holiness is soiled. However, there is no need to stay unclean, for Jesus Christ, who shares our human nature, stands ready to cleanse us and make us holy.

Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, p. 71). Baker Book House.

Success/Failure rates over the first 6 months

Of those who make a New Year’s resolution, after 1 week 75% are still successful in keeping it.

After two weeks, the number drops to 71%.

After 1 month, the number drops again to 64%.

And after 6 months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it.

In comparison, of those people who have similar goals but do not set a resolution, only 4% are still successful after 6 months.

Reasons for failure

In one 2014 study, 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions said they had unrealistic goals.

33% of participants who failed didn’t keep track of their progress.

23% forgot about their resolutions.

About one in 10 people who failed said they made too many resolutions.

from: discoverhappyhabits.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16.10 NIV84)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV84)

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. (Hebrews 12:7 NIV84)

Conclusion

“A New Leaf”

He came to my desk with quivering lip—

The lesson was done.

“Dear Teacher, I want a new leaf,” he said,

“I have spoiled this one.”

I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,

And gave him a new one all unspotted,

And into his sad eyes smiled,

“Do better, now, my child.”

I went to the throne with a quivering soul—

The old year was done.

“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?

I have spoiled this one.”

He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,

And gave me a new one all unspotted,

And into my sad heart smiled,

“Do better, now, my child.”

—Kathleen Wheeler

 

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