Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 010. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 2:11-13

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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 010. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 2:11-13

TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 010. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 2:11-13

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An Exposition of Hebrews


Christ Superior to Angels.

(Hebrews 2:11-13)

Inasmuch as we feel led to break up the second half of Hebrews 2 into shorter sections than is our usual habit (so that we may enter more in detail), it will be necessary to begin each chapter with a brief summary of what has already been before us. Though we dislike using valuable space for mere repetitions, yet this seems unavoidable if the continuity of thought is to be preserved and the scope of the apostle’s argument intelligently followed. Moreover, as we endeavor to study the holy Word of God, it is ever the part of wisdom to heed the Divine injunction, "he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isa. 28:16). To pause and review the ground already covered, serves to fix in the memory what otherwise might be crowded out. As said the apostle to the Philippians, "to write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe" (Heb. 3:1).

In the opening chapter of our Epistle, from verses 4 to 14, seven Old Testament passages were quoted for the purpose of showing the superiority of Israel’s Messiah over the angels. The first four verses of chapter 2 are parenthetical, inasmuch as the argument of that section is broken off in order to make a searching application to the conscience of what has already been said. At Hebrews 2:5 the discussion concerning the relative positions of the Mediator and the celestial creatures is resumed. Two objections are now anticipated and dealt with—this is made clear by the last clause of verse 8, which is the interjecting of a difficulty. The objections are: How could Christ be superior to angels, seeing that He was Man? and, How could He possess a greater excellency than they, seeing that He had died?

In meeting these objections appeal was first made to the 8th Psalm, which affirmed, in predictive language, that God has crowned "man" (redeemed man) with "honor and glory," and that He has put "all things under his feet"; and in the exaltation of Jesus faith beholds the ground and guarantee, the proof and pledge, of the coming exaltation of all His people (verse 9). Second, the necessity for the Mediator’s humiliation lay in the fact that He must "taste death," as the appointed Substitute, if "every son" was to receive eternal life (verse 9). Third, the apostle affirmed that God had a benevolent design in suffering His Son to stoop so low: it was by His "grace" that He tasted death (verse 9). Fourth, it is announced that such a course of procedure was suited to the nature and honoring to the glory of Him who ordains all things: it "became Him" (verse 10). Fifth, the Divine love and wisdom in causing the Captain of our salvation to be perfected "through sufferings" was fully vindicated, for the outcome from it is that many sons are brought "unto glory."

In Hebrews 2:11, which begins our present portion, the needs-be for the Son’s humiliation is made still more evident: "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified, are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." The opening "for" at once intimates that the Holy Spirit is still advancing confirmation of what He had said previously, and is continuing to show why the Lord of angels had been made Man. It may help the reader to grasp the force of this verse if we state it thus: It was imperative that Christ should be made, for a season, "lower than the angels" if ever He was to have ground and cause to call us "brethren." That is a title which presupposes a common state and standing; for this He must become "one" with them. In other words, the Redeemer must identify Himself with those He was to redeem.

We may add that the opening "for" of verse 11 supplies an immediate link with verse 10: a further reason is now advanced why it "became" God to make the Captain of His people perfect through sufferings, even because He and they are "all of one." Herein lies the equity of Christ’s sufferings. It was not that an innocent person was smitten in order that guilty ones might go free, for that would be the height of injustice, but that an innocent Person, voluntarily, out of love, identified Himself with trangressors, and so became answerable for their crimes. Therefore, "in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). How this should endear Him to us!

"All of one," is very abstract, and for this reason not easy to define concretely. "Observe that it is only of sanctified persons that this is said. Christ and the sanctified ones are all of one company, men together in the same position before God; but the idea goes a little further. It is not of one and the same Father; had it been so, it could not have been said, ‘He is not ashamed to call them brethren.’ He could not then do otherwise than call them brethren. If we say ‘of the same mass’ the expression may be pushed too far, as though He and others were of the same nature as children of Adam, sinners together. In this case Jesus would have to call every man His brother; whereas it is only the children whom God hath given Him, ‘sanctified’ ones, that He so calls. But He and the sanctified ones are all as men in the same nature and position together before God. When I say ‘the same’ it is not in the same state of sin, but the contrary, for they are the Sanctifier and the sanctified, but in the same proof of human position as it is before God as sanctified to Him; the same as far forth as man when He, as the sanctified One is before God" (Mr. J.N. Darby).

Though the above quotation is worded somewhat vaguely, nevertheless we believe it approximates closely to the thought of the Spirit. They, Christ and His people, are "all of one." Perhaps we might say, All of one class or company. If Christ were to be the Savior of men, He must Himself be Man. This is what the quotations from the Old Testament, which immediately follow, go to show. We do believe, however, that the "all of one" is a little fuller in scope than that brought out by Mr. Darby’s comments. The remainder of Hebrews 2 seems to show it also has reference to the oneness in condition between the Sanctifier and the sanctified, i.e., in this world. The Shepherd went before the sheep (John 10:4): the path they follow is the same He trod. Thus, "all of one" in position, in sufferings, in trials, in dependency upon God.

"For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." Many of the commentators have quite missed the meaning of this "all of one." Had sufficient attention been given to the context they should have seen that the apostle is not here treating of the oneness of Christians with Christ in acceptance before God and in glory—that, we get in such passages as Ephesians 1 and 2; instead, he is bringing out the oneness of Christ with His people in their humiliation. In other words, the apostle is not here speaking of our being lifted up to Christ’s level, but of His coming down to ours. That which follows clearly establishes this.

But what is meant by "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified"? The Sanctifier is Christ Himself, the sanctified are the many sons who are being brought to glory. "The source and power of sanctification are in the Son of God our Savior. We who were to be brought unto glory were far off from God, in a state of condemnation and death. What could be more different than our natural condition and the glory of God which we are awaiting? Condemned on account of our transgressions of the law, we lived in sin, alienated from God, and without His presence of light and love. We were dead; and by ‘dead’ I do not mean that modern fancy which explains death to mean cessation of existence, but that continuous, active, self-developing state of misery and corruption into which the sinner has fallen by his disobedience. Dead in trespasses and sins, wherein we walked; dead while living in pleasing self (Eph. 2:1, 2, 1 Timothy 5:6). What can be more opposed to glory than the state in which we are by nature? and if we are to be brought into glory, it is evident we must be brought into holiness; we must be delivered and separated from guilt, pollution, and death, and brought into the presence of God, in which is favor, light, and life—that His life may descend into our souls, and that we may become partakers of the Divine nature.

"Christ is our sanctification. ‘By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14). By the offering of His body as the sacrifice for sin, He has sanctified all that put their trust in Him. To sanctify is to separate unto God; to separate for a holy use. We who were far off are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. And although our election is of God the Father (who is thus the Author of our sanctification, Jude 4), and the cleansing and purification of the heart is generally attributed to the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4,5), yet is it in Christ that we were chosen, and from Christ that we receive the Spirit, and as it is by the constant application of Christ’s work and the constant communication of His life that we live and grow, Christ is our sanctification.

"We are sanctified through faith that is in Him (Acts 26:18). By His offering of Himself He has brought us into the presence of God. By the Word, by God’s truth, by the indwelling Spirit, He continually sanctifies His believers. He gave Himself for the church, ‘that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word’ (Eph. 5:26). ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth’ (John 17:17; 15:3).

"Christ Himself is the foundation, source, method, and channel of our sanctification. We are exhorted to put off the old man and to put on the new man day by day, to mortify our members which are upon the earth. But in what way or method can we obey the apostolic exhortations, but by our continually beholding Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin as our all-sufficient atonement? In what other way are we sanctified day by day, but by taking hold of the salvation which is by Him, ‘The Lamb that is slain’? Jesus is He that sanctifieth. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is sent by Christ to glorify Him, and to reveal and appropriate to us His salvation. We are conformed to the image of Christ by the Spirit as coming from Christ in His glorified humanity" (Saphir).

"For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (verse 11). Because Christ became Man, He is not ashamed to own as "brethren" those whom the Father had given to Him. The community of nature shared by the Sanctifier and the sanctified furnishes ground for Him to call them "brethren." That He did so in the days of His humiliation may be seen by a reference to Matthew 12:49; John 20:17. That He will do so in the Day to come, appears from Matthew 25:40. That He is "not ashamed" to so own them, plainly intimates an act of condescension on his part, the condescension arising out of the fact that He was more than Man, none other than "the Lord of glory." There is, no doubt, a latent contrast in these words: the world hated them, their brethren according to the flesh despised them, and called them "apostates"; but the Son of God incarnate was not ashamed to call them "brethren." So, too, He owns us. Therefore, if He is "not ashamed" to own us, shall we be "ashamed to confess Him!" Moreover, let us "not be ashamed" to own as "brethren" the poorest of the flock!

"For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Ere passing from these blessed words, it needs to be said, emphatically, that this grace on the part of Christ does not warrant His people becoming so presumptuous as to speak of Him as their "Brother." Such a thing is most reprehensible. "Question, May we by virtue of this relation, call the Son of God our Brother? Answer, We have no example of any of the saints that ever did so. They usually gave titles of dignity to Him, as Lord, Master, Savior. Howsoever the Son of God vouchsafes this honor unto us, yet we must retain in our hearts an high and reverent esteem of Him, and on that ground give such titles to Him as may manifest as much. Inferiors do not use to give like titles of equality to their superiors, as superiors do to their inferiors. It is a token of love in superiors to speak to their inferiors as equals; but for inferiors to do the like, would be a note of arrogancy" (Dr. Gouge). The same principle applies to John 15:15. Christ in His condescending grace may call us His "friends," but this does not justify us in speaking of Him as our "Friend"!

"Saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren" (verse 12). Once more the apostle appeals to the written Word for support of what he had just affirmed. A quotation is made from Psalm 22, one which not only substantiated what had been said in verse 11, but which also made a further contribution towards removing the objection before him. As is well known, the 22nd is the great Cross Psalm. In verses 20, 21, the suffering Savior is heard crying, "Deliver My soul from the sword (of Divine justice, cf. Zech. 13:7), My darling from the power of the dog (the Gentiles, cf. Matt. 15:24-26). Save Me from the lion’s (the Devil’s, cf. 1 Pet. 5:8) mouth." Then follows faith’s assurance, "For Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorn." This is the turning point of the Psalm: the cries of the Sufferer are heard on High. What a conclusive and crushing reply was this to the objecting Jew! God’s own Word had foretold the humiliation and sufferings of their Messiah. There it was, unmistakably before them. What could they say? The Scriptures must be fulfilled. No reply was possible.

But more: not only did the 22nd Psalm announce beforehand the sufferings of the Messiah; it also foretold His victory. Read again the last clause of verse 21: "Save Me from the lion’s mouth: for Thou hast heard Me." Christ was "saved," not from death, but out of death, cf. Hebrews 5:7. Now what is the very next thing in Psalm 227 This: "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren" (verse 22). Here the Savior is seen on resurrection ground, victorious over every foe. It is this which the apostle quotes in Hebrews 2:12.

Now that which it is particularly important to note is that in this verse from Psalm 22 Christ is heard saying He would declare the Father’s name unto His "brethren." That could only be possible on resurrection ground. Why? Because by nature they were "dead in trespasses and sins." But as "quickened together with Christ" (Eph. 2:5) they were made sons of God, and therefore the "brethren" of the risen Son of God. Hence the great importance of noting carefully the very point at which verse 22 occurs in the 22nd Psalm. The Lord Jesus never called His people "brethren" on the other side of the Cross! He spoke of them as "disciples," "sheep," "friends," but never as "brethren." But as soon as He was risen from the dead, He said to Mary, "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and to your Father" (John 20:17). Here, then, was the unanswerable reply to the Jews’ objection: Christ could reach resurrection ground only by passing through death, cf. John 12:24.

"I will declare Thy name unto My brethren." Here the Son is heard addressing the Father, promising that He would execute the charge which had been given Him. The Greek word for "declare" is very emphatic and comprehensive. It means, To proclaim and publish, to exhibit and make known. To declare God’s "Name" signifies to reveal what God is, to make known His excellencies and counsels. This is what Christ came here to do: see John 17:6,26. None else was competent for such a task, for none knoweth the Father but the Son (Matt. 11:27). But only to His "brethren" did Christ do so. They are the "babes" unto whom heavenly things are revealed (Matt. 11:25); they are the ones unto whom are made known the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 13:11). From all others these blessed revelations are "hid," to those "without" they are but "parables."

"In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee" (verse 12). This completes the quotation from Psalm 22:22. No doubt the first fulfillment of this took place during the "forty days" of Acts 1:3: mark how Acts 1:4 brings in the assembly; though its ultimate fulfillment is yet future. The position in which Christ is here viewed is very blessed, "in the midst": it is the Redeemer leading the praises of His redeemed. Strangers to God may go through all the outward forms of mere "religion," but they never praise God. It is only upon resurrection ground that worship is possible. A beautiful type of this is found in Exodus 15:1: it was only after Israel had crossed the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were dead upon the shore, that "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song." Note how Moses, the typical mediator, led their praises!

"And again, I will put My trust in Him" (verse 13). The apostle is still replying to the Jews’ objection, How could Jesus of Nazareth be the superior of angels, seeing that He was Man and had died? Here, in verses 12, 13, he quotes Messianic passages from the Old Testament in proof of the statements made in verses 10, 11. First, Psalm 22:22 is cited, in which Christ is heard addressing His redeemed as "brethren." The implication is unmistakable: that is a title which presupposes a common position and a common condition, and in order to do that the Lord of glory had to be abased, come down to their level, become Man. Then, in the same passage, the Savior is heard "singing praise" unto God. This also views Him as incarnate, for only as Man could He sing praise unto God! Moreover, it is not as Lord over the church, but as One "in the midst" of it He is there viewed. Thus "all of one" is illustrated and substantiated.

A second quotation is now made, from Isaiah 8:17, according to the Septuagint version. The passage from which this is taken is a very remarkable one. Beginning at verse 13 the exhortation is given, "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread." This means, give Him His true place in your hearts, recognize His exalted dignity, bow before His ineffable majesty, submit to His high sovereignty, tremble at the very thought of quarreling with Him.

Then, in verse 14, the Lord of Hosts is brought before us in a twofold character: "And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem." These expressions, Sanctuary and Stone of stumbling, define the relation of the Lord to the elect and to the non-elect. To the one He is Refuge, a Resting-place, a Center of worship; to the other, He is an offense. "The Stone" is one of the titles of Christ, and it is most interesting and instructive to trace out the various references, the first being found in Genesis 49:24. Here in Isaiah 8, it is Christ in His lowliness which is in view. Israel was looking for One who would be high among the great ones of the earth, therefore when One who was born in a manger, who had toiled at the carpenter’s bench, who had not where to lay His head, appeared before them, they "despised and rejected" Him. The figure used here is very affecting. How low a place must the Lord of glory have taken for Israel to "stumble" over Him, like a stone lying at one’s feet! Thus, once more, the Holy Spirit refers to an Old Testament passage in which the Messiah was presented in humiliation, as it were "a stone" lying on the ground.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the very lowliness into which the Savior entered, coming here not to be ministered unto but to minister, and give His life a ransom for many, is that which makes Him a "precious Stone" (1 Pet. 2:6) to all whose faith sees the Divine glory shining beneath the humiliation. What is more moving to our hearts, what is mere calculated to bow them in worship before God as we behold His Son in John 13?—verily, "a Stone" at the feet of His disciples, washing them! Blessed is it to know that the very Stone which the builders rejected "is become the head of the corner" (Ps. 118:22), that is, has been exalted.

Returning now to Isaiah 8, verse 15 amplifies what was said in the previous one: "And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken." How solemnly and how literally this was fulfilled in the history of the Jews we all know. Then, in verse 16, we have stated the consequences of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah: "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples." Ever since there has been a veil over Israel’s heart, even when reading the Holy Scriptures (2 Cor. 3:15).

Now comes the word in Hebrews 2:13, "I will put My trust in Him" (Isa. 8:17, Septuagint version). A most blessed word is this. It reveals the implicit confidence of the Savior in God. Notwithstanding the treatment which He met with from both the houses of Israel, His trust in Jehovah remained unshaken; He looked away from the things seen to the things unseen. The relevancy of this citation in Hebrews 2 is obvious: such a thing could not have been unless Christ had become Man—considered simply as God the Son, to speak of Him "trusting" was unthinkable, impossible. Wonderful proof was this of what had been affirmed in Hebrews 2:11 concerning the oneness which exists between Christ and His people: He, like they, was called on to tread the path of faith.

"I will put My trust in Him." This is indeed a word which should bow our hearts in wonderment. What a lowly place had the Maker of heaven and earth taken! How these words bring out the reality of His humanity! The Son of God had become the Son of Man, and while here on earth He ever acted in perfect accord with the place which He had taken. He lived here a life of faith, that is, a life of trust in and dependence upon God. In John 6:57 we hear Him saying, "I live by the Father." This is what He pressed on Satan when tempted to manufacture bread for Himself.

Isaiah 8:17 is not the only Old Testament passage which speaks of Christ "trusting" in God. In Psalm 16:1, He cries, "Preserve Me, O God: for in Thee do I put My trust." As Man it was not fitting that He should stand independent and alone; nor did He. The whole of this Psalm views Him in the place of entire dependency—in life, in death, in resurrection. Strikingly will this appear if verses 10, 11 be compared with John 2:19 and John 10:18. In the passages in John’s Gospel, where His Divine glory shines forth through the veil of His humanity, He speaks of raising Himself from the dead. But here in Psalm 16, where the perfections of His manhood are revealed, He is seen trusting in God to raise Him again. How important it is to get the Spirit’s viewpoint in each passage!

"I will put My trust in Him." This perfection of our Lord is not sufficiently pondered by us. The life which Jesus Christ lived here for thirty-three years was a life of faith. That is the meaning of that little-understood word in Hebrews 12:2: "Looking off unto Jesus (His name, as Man), the Author (Greek, same as "Captain" in 2:10) and Perfecter of faith." If these words be carefully weighed in the light of their context, their meaning is plain. In Hebrews 11 we have illustrated, from the Old Testament saints, various aspects of the life of faith, but in Jesus we see every aspect of it perfectly exemplified. As our Captain or Leader, He has gone before His soldiers, setting before them an inspiring example. The path we are called on to tread, is the same He trod. The race we are bidden to run, is the same He ran. And we are to walk and run as He did, by faith.

"I will put my trust in Him." This was ever the expression of His heart. Christ could say, and none but He ever could, "I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother’s belly" (Ps. 122:10). Never did another live in such complete dependence on God as He: "I have set the Lord always before Me; because He is at My right hand, I shall not be moved" (Ps. 16:8) was His language. So evident was His faith, even to others, that His very enemies, whilst standing around the Cross, turned it into a bitter taunt: "He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him, let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him" (Ps. 22:8). How blessed to know that when we are called on to walk by faith, to submit ourselves unto and live in dependency on God, to look away from the mists of time to the coming inheritance, that Another has trod the same path, that in putting forth His sheep, the Good Shepherd went before them (John 10:4), that He bids us to do nothing but what He has Himself first done.

"I will put My trust in Him." This is still true of the Man Christ Jesus. In Revelation 1:9 we read of "the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ": that is the patience of faith, cf. Hebrews 11:13. Hebrews 10:12,13 interprets: "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." That is the expectation of faith, awaiting the fulfillment of God’s promise. Ah, dear reader, fellowship with Christ is no mystical thing, it is intensely practical; fellowship with Christ means, first of all, walking by faith.

"And again, behold I and the children which God hath given Me" (verse 13). This completes the quotation made from Isaiah 8:17, 18. The pertinency of these words in support of the apostle’s argument is evident: it is Christ’s taking His place before God as Mediator, owning the "children" as His gift to Him; it is Christ as Man confessing His oneness with them, ranking Himself with the saints—"I and the children," compare "My Father and your Father" (John 20:17). It is the Lord Jesus presenting Himself to God as His Minister, having faithfully and successfully fulfilled the task committed to Him. He is here heard addressing the Father, rejoicing over the fruits of His own work. It is as though He said, "Here am I, O Father, whom Thou didst send out of Thine own bosom from Heaven to earth, to gather Thine elect out of the world. I have performed that for which Thou didst send Me: behold I and the children which Thou hast given Me." Though He had proved a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, yet was He not left without a people; "children" had been given to Him, and these He owns and solemnly presents before God.

Who are these "children?" First, they are those whom the Mediator brings to God. As we read in 1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ hath also once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." This is what Christ is seen doing here: formally presenting the children to God. Second, they are here regarded as the "children" of Christ. In Isaiah 53:10, 11 it was said, "He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." In John 13:33 and John 21:5 He is actually heard owning His disciples as "children." Nor was there anything incongruous in that. Let the reader ponder 1 Corinthians 4:14, 15: if they who are converted under the preaching of God’s servants may be termed their "children," how much more so may they be called "children" of Jesus Christ whom He has begotten by His Spirit and by His Word!

"Behold I and the children which God hath given Me." Those whom God hath given to Christ were referred to by Him, again and again, during the days of His public ministry. "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me" (John 6:37). "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me" (John 17:6, 9). They were given to Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). These "children" are God’s elect, sovereignly singled out by Him, and from the beginning chosen unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13). God’s elect having been given to Christ "before the foundation of the world," and therefore from all eternity, throws light upon a title of the Savior’s found in Isaiah 9:6: "The everlasting Father." This has puzzled many. It need not. Christ is the "everlasting Father" because from everlasting He has had "children!"

Why were these "children" given to Christ. The first answer must be, For His own glory. Christ is the Center of all God’s counsels, and His glory the one object ever held in view. Christ will be eternally glorified by having around Him a family, each member of which is predestined to be "conformed to His image" (Romans 8:29). The second answer is, That He might save them: "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

"Behold I and the children which God hath given Me." We doubt not that the ultimate reference of these words looks forward to the time anticipated by that wonderful doxology found at the close of Jude’s Epistle: "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever." When the Lord Jesus shall, in a soon-coming Day, gather the company of the redeemed unto Himself and "present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" (Eph. 5:27) then shall He triumphantly exclaim, "Behold I and the children which God hath given Me." In the meantime let us seek to take unto our hearts something of the blessedness of these words that, even now, the "joy of the Lord" may be our strength (Neh. 8:10).

"Behold I and the children which God hath given Me." Let us endeavor to point out one or two plain implications. First, how dear, how precious, must God’s elect be unto Christ! They are the Father’s own "gift" unto Him. The value of a gift lies not in its intrinsic worth, but in the esteem and affection in which the giver is held. It is in this light, first of all, that Christ ever views His people—as the expression of the Father’s own love for Himself. Second, how certain it is that Christ will continue to care for and minister unto His people! He cannot be indifferent to the welfare of one of those whom the Father has given to Him. As John 13:1 declares, "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." Third, how secure they must be! None of His can possibly perish. Beautifully is this brought out in John 18:8, 9, where, to those who had come to arrest Him, Christ said, "If therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake, Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none."

Inexpressibly blessed is that which has been before us in Hebrews 2:12, 13. The Lord’s people are there looked at in a threefold way. First, Christ owns them as His "brethren." O the wonder of it! The ambitious worldling aspires to fleshly honors and titles, but what has he which can, for a moment, be compared with the honored title which Christ confers upon His redeemed? Next time you are slandered by men, called some name which hurts you, remember, fellow-Christian, that Christ calls you one of His "brethren." Second, the entire company of the redeemed are here denominated "the church," and Christ is seen in the midst singing praise. There, they are viewed corporately, as a company of worshippers, and He who is "a Priest forever" leads their songs of joy and adoration. Third, the Lord Jesus owns us as His "children," children which have been given to Him by God. This speaks both of their nearness and dearness to Himself. Surely the contemplation of these wondrous riches of grace must impel us to cry,

"To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:6).