(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 4)

=====> 2:4. "God also bearing them witness," &c. In addition to the fact,
that the Apostles had what they preached from the Son of God, the Lord
also proved his approbation of their preaching by miracles, as by a
solemn subscription. Then they who do not reverently receive the Gospel
recommended by such testimonies, disregard not only the word of God, but
also his works.
    He designates miracles, for the sake of amplifying their importance,
by three names. They are called "signs" because they rouse men's minds,
that they may think of something higher that what appears; and wonders,
because they present what is rare and unusual; and "miracles", because
the Lord shows in them a singular and an extraordinary evidence of his
    As to the word, "bearing witness", or attesting, it points out the
right use of miracles, even that they serve to establish the Gospel. For
almost all the miracles done in all ages were performed as we find for
this end, that they might be the seals of Gods word. The more strange
then is the superstition of the Papists, who employ their own fictitious
miracles for the purpose of overthrowing the truth of God.
    The conjunction |sun|, together with, has this meaning, that we are
confirmed in the faith of the Gospel by the joint testimony of God and
men; for God's miracles were testimonies concurring with the voice of
    He adds, "by the gifts" or distributions of the "Holy Spirit", by
which also the doctrine of the Gospel was adorned, of which they were the
appendages. For why did God distribute the gifts of his Spirit, except in
part that they might be helps in promulgating it, and in part that their
might move through admiration the minds of men to obey it? Hence Paul
says, that tongues were a sign to unbelievers. The words, "according to
his will," remind us, that the miracles mentioned could not be ascribed
to any except to God alone, and that they were not wrought undesignedly,
but, for the distinct purpose of sealing the truth of the Gospel.

=====> 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to
come, whereof we speak.
2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou
art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
2:7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him
with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he
put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under
him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
2:9 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.

=====> 2:5. "For unto the angels," &c. He again proves by another
argument that Christ ought to be obeyed; for the Father has conferred on
him the sovereignty of the whole world, while the angels are wholly
destitute of such an honour. It hence follows that none of the angels
should stand in the way of his preeminence who alone possesses supremacy.
    But first, the Psalm which he quotes must be examined, for it seems
to be unfitly applied to Christ. David there mentions the benefits which
God bestows on mankind; for after having contemplated God's power as
manifested in heaven and the stars, he comes to man, among whom the
wonderful goodness of God appears in a peculiar manner. He does not,
then, speak of any particular person, but of all mankind. To this I
answer, that all this affords no reason why the words should not be
applied to the person of Christ. I indeed allow that man was at first put
in possession of the world, that he might rule over all the works of God;
but by his own defection he deserved the loss of his dominion, for it was
a just punishment for ingratitude as to one thus favoured, that the Lord,
whom he refused to acknowledge and faithfully to worship, should have
deprived him of a right previously granted to him. As soon, then, as Adam
alienated himself from God through sin, he was justly deprived of the
good things which he had received; not that he was denied the use of
them, but that he would have had no right to them after he had forsaken
God. And in the very use of them God intended that there should be some
tokens of this loss of right, such as these, - the wild beasts
ferociously attack us, those who ought to be awed by our presence are
dreaded by us, some never obey us, others can hardly be trained to
submit, and they do us harm in various ways; the earth answers not our
expectations in cultivating it; the sky, the air, the sea, and other
things are often adverse to us. But were all creatures to continue in
subjection, yet whatever the sons of Adam possessed would be deemed a
robbery; for what can they call their own when they themselves are not
    This foundation being laid, it is evident that God's bounty belongs
not to us until the right lost in Adam be restored by Christ. For this
reason Paul teaches us that food is sanctified to us by faith, (I Tim. 4:
5;) and in another place he declares that to the unbelieving nothing is
clean, for they have a polluted conscience. (Titus 1: 16.) 
    We found at the beginning of this epistle that Christ has been
appointed by the Father the heir of all things. Doubtless, as he ascribes
the whole inheritance to one, he excludes all others as aliens, and
justly too, for we are all become exiles from God's kingdom. What food,
then, God has destined for his own family, we leave no right to take. But
Christ, by whom we are admitted into this family, at the same time admits
us into a participation of this right, so that we may enjoy the whole
world, together with the favour of God. Hence Paul teaches us that
Abraham was by faith made an heir of the world, that is, because he was
united to the body of Christ. (Rom. 4: 13) If men, then, are precluded
from all God's bounty until they receive a right to it through Christ, it
follows that the dominion mentioned in the Psalm was lost to us in Adam,
and that on this account it must again be restored as a donation. Now,
the restoration begins with Christ as the head. There is, then, no doubt
but that we are to look to him whenever the dominion of man over all
creatures is spoken of.
    To this the reference is made when the Apostle mentions the world to
come, or the future world, for he understands by it the renovated world.
To make the thing clearer, let us suppose two worlds, - the first the
old, corrupted by Adam's sin; the other, later in time, as renewed by
Christ. The state of the first creation has become wholly decayed, and
with man has fallen as far as man himself is concerned. Until, then, a
new restitution be made by Christ, this Psalm will not be fulfilled. It
hence now appears that here the world to come is not that which we hope
for after the resurrection, but that which began at the beginning of
Christ's kingdom; but it will no doubt have its full accomplishment in
our final redemption.
    But why he suppressed the name of David does not appear to me.
Doubtless he says one, or some one, not in contempt, but for honour's
sake, designating him as one of the prophets or a renowned writer.
=====> 2:7. "Thou merriest him", &c. A new difficulty now arises as to
the explanation of the words. I have already shown that the passage is
fitly applicable to the Son of God; but the Apostle seems now to turn the
words from that meaning in which David understood them; for "a little",
|brachu ti|, seems to refer to time, as it means a little while, and
designates the abasement of Christ's humiliation; and he confines the
glory to the day of resurrection, while David extends it generally to the
whole life of man.
    To this I answer, that it was not the Apostle's design to give an
exact explanation of the words. For there is nothing improperly done,
when verbal allusions are made to embellish a subject in hand, as Paul
does in quoting a passage in Rom. 10: 6, from Moses, "Who shall ascend
into heaven," &c., he does not join the words "heaven and hell" for the
purpose of explanation, but as ornaments. The meaning of David is this, -
"O Lord, thou hast raised man to such a dignity, that it differs but
little from divine or angelic honour; for he is set a ruler over the
whole world." This meaning the Apostle did not intend to overthrow, nor
to turn to something else; but he only bids us to consider the abasement
of Christ, which appeared for a short time, and then the glory with which
he is perpetually crowned; and this he does more by alluding to
expressions than by explaining what David understood.
    To be "mindful" and to "visit" mean the same thing, except that the
second is somewhat fuller, for it sets forth the presence of God by the
=====> 2:8. "For in that he put all in subjection under him"; or,
doubtless in subjecting all things to him, &c. One might think the
argument to be this, - "To the man whom David speaks all things are
subjected, but to mankind all things are not made subject; then he does
not speak of any individual man." But this reasoning cannot stand, for
the minor proposition is true also of Christ; for all things are not as
yet made subject to him, as Paul shows in 1 Cor. 15: 28. There is
therefore another sentence; for after having laid down this truth, that
Christ has universal dominion over all creatures, he adds, as an
objection, "But all things do not as yet obey the authority of Christ."
To meet this objection he teaches us that yet now is seen completed in
Christ what he immediately adds respecting "glory" and "honour", as if he
had said, "Though universal subjection does not as yet appear to us, let
us be satisfied that he has passed through death, and has been exalted to
the highest state of honour; for that which is as yet wanting, will in
its time be completed."
    But first, this offends some, that the Apostle concludes with too
much refinement, that there is nothing not made subject to Christ, as
David includes all things generally; for the various kinds of things
which he enumerates afterwards prove no such thing, such as beasts of the
field, fishes of the sea, and birds of the air. To this I reply, that a
general declaration ought not to be confined to these species, for David
meant no other thing than to give some instances of his power over things
the most conspicuous, or indeed to extend it to things even the lowest,
that we may know that nothing is ours except through the bounty of God
and our union with Christ. We may, therefore, explain the passage thus, -
"Thou hast made subject to him all things, not only things needful for
eternal blessedness, but also such inferior things as serve to supply the
wants of the body." However this may be, the inferior dominion over
animals depends on the higher.
    It is again asked, "Why does he say that we see not all things made
subject to Christ?" The solution of this question you will find in that
passage already quoted from Paul; and in the first chapter of this
Epistle we said a few things on the subject. As Christ carries on war
continually with various enemies, it is doubtless evident that he has no
quiet possession of his kingdom. He is not, however, under the necessity
of waging war; but it happens through his will that his enemies are not
to be subdued till the last day, in order that we may be tried and proved
by fresh exercises.

=====> 2:9. "But we see Jesus", &c. As the meaning of the words, |brachu
ti|, "a little" is ambiguous, he looks to the thing itself, as exhibited
in the person of Christ, rather then to the exact meaning of the words,
as I have already said; and he presents to our meditation the glory after
the resurrection, which David extends to all the gifts by which man is
adorned by God's bounty; but in this embellishment, which leaves the
literal sense entire, there is nothing unsuitable or improper.
    "For the suffering of death", &c. It is the same as though it was
said that Christ, having passed through death, was exalted into the glory
which he has obtained, according to what Paul teaches us in Phil. 2:
8-10; not that Christ obtained anything for himself individually, as
sophists say, who have devised the notion that he first earned eternal
life for himself and then for us; for the way or means, so to speak, of
obtaining glory, is only indicated here. Besides, Christ is crowned with
glory for this end, that every knee should bow to him. (Phil. 2: 10.) We
may therefore reason from the final cause that all things are delivered
into his hand.
    "That he by the grace of God", &c. He refers to the cause and the
fruit of Christ's death, lest he should be thought to detract anything
from his dignity. For when we hear that so much good has been obtained
for us, there is no place left for contempt, for admiration of the divine
goodness fills the whole mind. By saying "for every man", he means not
only that he might be ample to others, as Chrysostom says, who brings the
example of a physician tasting first a bitter draught, that the patient
might not refuse to drink it; but he means that Christ died for us, and
that by taking upon him what was due to us, he redeemed us from the curse
of death. And it is added, that this was done through the grace of God,
for the cause of redemption was the infinite love of God towards us,
through which it was that he spared not even his own Son. What Chrysostom
say of tasting of death, as though he touched it with his lips, because
Christ emerged from death a conqueror, I will not refute nor condemn,
though I know not whether the Apostle meant to speak in a manner so

=====> 2:10 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.
2:11 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,
2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of
the church will I sing praise unto thee.
2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the
children which God hath given me.

=====> 2:10. "For it became him", &c. His object is, to make Christ's
humiliation to appear glorious to the godly; for when he is said to have
been clothed with our flesh, he seems to be classed with the common order
of men; and the cross brought him lower than all men. We must therefore
take heed, lest Christ should be less esteemed, because he willingly
humbled himself for us; and this is what is here spoken of. For the
Apostle shows that this very thing ought to be deemed honorable to the
Son of God, that he was by these means consecrated the Captain of our
    He first assumes it as granted, that we ought to be satisfied with
God's decree; for as all things are sustained by his power, so all things
ought to serve to his glory. No betters cause, then, can be found out
than the good pleasure of God. Such is the purport of the circumlocution
which he employs, "for whom, and by whom, are all things". He might by
one word have named God; but his purpose was to remind us, that what is
to be deemed best is that which he appoints, whose will and glory is the
right end of all things.
    It does not, however, appear as yet what he intends by saying, that
it became Christ to be thus consecrated. But this depends on the ordinary
way which God adopts in dealing with his own people; for his will is to
exercise them with various trials, so that they may spend their whole
life under the cross. It was hence necessary that Christ, as the
first-begotten, should by the cross be inaugurated into his supremacy,
since that is the common lot and condition of all. This is the conforming
of the head with the members, of which Paul speaks in Rom. 8: 29.
    It is indeed a singular consolation, calculated to mitigate the
bitterness of the cross, when the faithful hear, that by sorrows and
tribulations they are sanctified for glory as Christ himself was; and
hence they see a sufficient reason why they should lovingly kiss the
cross rather than dread it. And when this is the case, then doubtless the
reproach of the cross of Christ immediately disappears, and its glory
shines forth; for who can despise what is sacred, nay, what God
sanctifies? Who can deem that ignominious, by which we are prepared for
glory? And yet both these things are said here of the death of Christ.
    "By whom are all things", &c. When creation is spoken of, it is
ascribed to the Son as his own world, for by him were all things created;
but here the Apostle means no other thing than that all creatures
continue or are preserved by the power of God. What we have rendered
"consecrated", others have rendered "made perfect". But as the word,
|teleioosai|, which he uses, is of a doubtful meaning, I think it clear
that the word I leave adopted is more suitable to the context. For what
is meant is the settled and regular way or method by which the sons of
God are initiated, so that they may obtain their own honour, and be thus
separated from the rest of the world; and then immediately sanctification
is mentioned.
=====> 2:11. "For both he that sanctifieth", &c. He proves that it was
necessary that what he had said should be fulfilled in the person of
Christ on account of his connection with his members; and he also teaches
that it was a remarkable evidence of the divine goodness that he put on
our flesh. hence he says, that they are "all of one", that is, that the
author of holiness and we are made partakers of it, are all of one
nature, as I understated the expression. It is commonly understood of one
Adam; and some refer it to God, and not without reasons; but I rather
think that one nature is meant, and one I consider to be in the neuter
gender, as though he had said, that they are made out of the same mass.
    It avails not, indeed, a little to increase our confidence, that we
are united to the Son of God by a bond so close, that we can find in our
nature that holiness of which we are in want; for he not only as God
sanctifies us, but there is also the power of sanctifying in his human
nature, not that it has it from itself, but that God had poured upon it a
perfect fulness of holiness, so that from it we may all draw. And to this
point this sentence refers, "For their sakes I sanctify myself." (John
17: 19.) If, then we are sinful and unclean, we have not to go far to
seek a remedy; for it is offered to us in our own flesh. If any one
prefers to regard as intended here that spiritual unity which the godly
have with the Son of God, and which differs much from that which men
commonly have among themselves, I offer no objection, though I am
disposed to follow what is more commonly received, as it is not
inconsistent with reason.
    "He is not ashamed to call them brethren". This passage is taken from
Ps. 22: 22. That Christ is the speaker there, or David in his name, the
evangelists do especially testify, for they quote from it many verses,
such as the following,  - "They parted my garments," - "They gave gall
for my meat," - "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And further,
the other parts of the chapter prove the same; for we may see in the
history of the passion a delineation of what is there related. The end of
the Psalm, which speaks of the calling of the Gentiles, can be applied to
none but to Christ alone, "Turn to the Lord shall all the ends of the
world; adore before him shall all the families of the nations,"  - "The
Lord's is the kingdom, and he will reign over the nations." These things
are found accomplished only in Christ, who enlarged the kingdom of God
not over a small space, as David did, but extended it over the whole
world; it was before confined as it were within narrow limits. There is,
then, no doubt but that his voice is what is referred to in this passage;
and appropriately and suitably does he say that he is "not ashamed"; for
how great is the distance between us and him? Much, then, does he let
down himself, when he dignifies us with the name of brethren; for we are
unworthy that he should deem us his servants. And this so great an honour
conferred on us is amplified by this circumstance - Christ does not speak
here as a mortal man while in the form of a servant, but when elevated
after the resurrection into immortal glory. Hence this title is the same,
as though he had raised us into heaven with himself. And let us remember,
whenever we hear that we are called brethren by Christ, that he has
clothed us, so to speak, with this honour, that together with this
fraternal name we may lay hold on eternal life and every celestial
    We must further notice the office which Christ assumes, which is that
of "proclaiming the name of God"; and this began to be done when the
gospel was first promulgated and is now done daily by the ministry of
pastors. We hence learn, that the gospel has been presented to us for
this end, that we may be brought to the knowledge of God, in order that
his goodness may be celebrated by us, and that Christ is the author of
the gospel in whatever manner it may be offered to us. And this is what
Paul says, for he declares that he and others were ambassadors for
Christ; and he exhorted men as it were in the name of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:
20.) And this ought to add no small reverence to the gospel, since we
ought not so much to consider men as speaking to us, as Christ by his own
mouth; for at the time when he promised to publish God's name to men, he
had ceased to be in the world; it was not however to no purpose that he
claimed this office as his own; for he really performs it by his
=====> 2:12 "In the midst of the Church". It hence appears plainly, that
the proclamation of God's praises is always promoted by the teaching of
the gospel; for as soon as God becomes known to us, his boundless praises
sound in our hearts and in our ears; and at the same time Christ
encourages us by his own example publicly to celebrate them, so that they
may be heard by as many as possible. For it would not be sufficient for
each one of us to thank God himself for benefits received, except we
testify openly our gratitude, and thus mutually stimulate one another.
And it is a truth, which may serve as a most powerful stimulant, and may
lead us most fervently to praise God, when we hear that Christ leads our
songs, and is the chief composer of our hymns.
=====> 2:13. "I will put my trust in him," or, I will confide in him. As
this sentence is found in Ps. 18: 2, it was probably taken from that
place; and Paul, in Rom. 15: 9, applies another verse to Christ
respecting the calling of the Gentiles. In addition to this, it may be
said that the general contents of that Psalm show clearly that David
spoke in the person of another. There indeed appeared in David but a
faint shadow of the greatness which is there set forth in terms so
magnificent. He boasts that he was made the head of the heathens, and
that even aliens and people unknown willingly surrendered themselves to
him at the report of his name. David subdued a few neighbouring and
well-known nations by the force of arms, and made them tributaries. But
what was this to the extensive dominions of many other kings? And
further, where was voluntary submission? Where were the people that were
so remote that he knew them not? In short, where was the solemn
proclamation of God's glory among the nations mentioned at the end of the
Psalm? Christ then is he who is made head over many nations, to whom
strangers from the utmost borders of the earth submit, and roused by
hearing of him only; for they are not forced by arms to undertake his
yoke, but being subdued by his doctrine, they spontaneously obey him.
    There is also seen in the Church that feigned and false profession of
religion, which is there referred to; for many daily profess the name of
Christ, but not from the heart.
    There is then no doubt but that the Psalm is rightly applied to
Christ. But what has this to do with the present subject? For it seems
not to follow that we and Christ are of one, in order that he might
especially put his trust in God. To this I answer, that the argument is
valid, because he would have no need of such trust, had he not been a man
exposed to human necessities and wants. As then he depended on God's aid,
his lot is the same with ours. It is surely not in vain or for nothing
that we trust in God; for were we destitute of his grace, we should be
miserable and lost. The trust then which we put in God, is an evidence of
our helplessness. At the same time we differ from Christ in this - the
weakness which necessarily and naturally belongs to us he willingly
undertook. But it ought not a little to encourage us to trust in God,
that we have Christ as our leader and instructor; for who would fear to
go astray while following in his steps? Nay, there is no danger that our
trust should be useless when we have it in common with Christy who, we
know, cannot be mistaken.
    "Behold, I and the children", &c. It is indeed certain that Isaiah
was speaking of himself; for when he gave hope of deliverance to the
people, and the promise met with no credit, lest being broken down by the
perverse unbelief of the people he should despond, the Lord bade him to
sent the doctrine he had announced among a few of the faithful; as though
he had said, that thou, it was rejected by the multitude, there would yet
be a few who would receive it. Relying on this answer, Isaiah took
courage, and declared that he and the disciples given to him would be
ever ready to follow God. (Isa. 8: 18.)
    Let us now see why the Apostle applied this sentence to Christ.
First, what is found in the same place, that the Lord would become a rock
of stumbling and a stone of offence to the kingdom of Israel and of
Judas, will not be denied by any one of a sound mind, to have been
fulfilled in Christ. And doubtless as the restoration from the Babylonian
exile was a sort of prelude to the great redemption obtained by Christ
for us and the fathers; so also the fact that so few among the Jews
availed themselves of that kindness of God, that a small remnant only
were saved, was a presage of their future blindness, through which it
happened that they rejected Christ, and that they in turn were rejected
by God, and perished. For we must observe that the promises extant in the
Prophets respecting the restoration of the Church from the time the Jews
returned from exile, extend to the kingdom of Christ, as the Lord had
this end in view in restoring the people, that his Church might continue
to the coming of his Son, by whom it was at length to be really
    Since it was so, God not only addressed Isaiah, when he bade him to
seal the law and the testimony, but also in his person all his ministers,
who would have to contend with the unbelief of the people, and hence
Christ above all, whom the Jews resisted with greater contumacy than all
the former Prophets. And we see now that they who have been substituted
for Israel, not only repudiate his Gospel, but also furiously assail him.
But how much soever the doctrine of the Gospel may be a stone of
stumbling to the household of the Church, it is not yet God's will that
it should wholly fail; on the contrary, he bids it to be sealed among his
disciples: and Christ, in the name of all his teachers as the head of
them, yea, as the only true Teacher, who rules us by their ministry,
declares that amidst this deplorable ingratitude of the world, there
shall still be some always who shall be obedient to God.
    See then how this passage may be fitly applied to Christ: the Apostle
concludes, that we are one with him, because he unites us to himself,
when he presents himself and us together to God the Father: for they form
but one body who obey God under the same rule of faith. What could have
been said more suitably to commend faith, than that we are by it the
companions of the Son of God, who by his example encourages us and shows
us the way? If then we follow the Word of God, we know of a certainty
that we have Christ as our leader; but they belong not at all to Christ,
who turn aside from his word. What, I pray, can be more desired than to
agree with the Son of God? But this agreement or consent is in faith.
Then by unbelief we disagree with him, than which nothing is a greater
evil. The word "children", which in many places is taken for servants,
means here disciples.
    "Which God hath given me". Here is pointed out the primary cause of
obedience, even that God has adopted us. Christ brings none to the
Father, but those given him by the Father; and this donation, we know,
depends on eternal election; for those whom the Father has destined to
life, he delivers to the keeping of his Son, that he may defend them.
This is what he says by John, "All that the Father has given me, will
come to me." (John 6: 37.) That we then submit to God by the obedience of
faith, let us learn to ascribe this altogether to his mercy; for
otherwise we shall never be led to him by the hand of Christ. Besides,
this doctrine supplies us with strong ground of confidence; for who can
tremble under the guidance and protection of Christ? Who, while relying
on such a keeper and guardian, would not boldly disregard all dangers?
And doubtless, while Christ says, "Behold, I and the children," he really
fulfils what he elsewhere promises, that he will not suffer any of those
to perish whom he has received from the Father. (John 10: 28.)
    We must observe lastly, that though the world with mad stubbornness
reject the Gospel, yet the sheep ever recognize the voice of their
shepherd. Let not therefore the impiety of almost all ranks, ages, and
nations, disturb us, provided Christ gathers together his owns who have
been committed to his protection. If the reprobate rush headlong to death
by their impiety, in this way the plants which God has not planted are
rooted up. (Matt. 15: 13.) Let us at the same time know that his own are
known to him, and that the salvation of them all is sealed by him, so
that not one of them shall be lost. (2 Tim. 2: l9.) Let us be satisfied
with this seal.

=====> 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and
blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death
he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime
subject to bondage.

=====> 2:14. "Forasmuch then as the children," &c., or, since then the
children, &c. This is an inference from the foregoing; and at the same
time a fuller reason is given than what has been hitherto stated, why it
behoved the Son of God to put on our flesh, even that he might partake of
the same nature with us, and that by undergoing death he might redeem us
from it.
    The passage deserves especial notice, for it not only confirms the
reality of the human nature of Christ, but also shows the benefit which
thence flows to us. "The Son of God," he says, "became man, that he might
partake of the same condition and nature with us." What could be said
more fitted to confirm our faith? Here his infinite love towards us
appears; but its overflowing appears in this - that he put on our nature
that he might thus make himself capable of dying, for as God he could not
undergo death. And though he refers but briefly to the benefits of his
death, yet there is in this brevity of words a singularly striking and
powerful representation, and that is, that he has so delivered us from
the tyranny of the devil, that we are rendered safe, and that he has so
redeemed us from death, that it is no longer to be dreaded.
    But as all the words are important, they must be examined a little
more carefully. First, the destruction of the devil, of which he speaks,
imports this - that he cannot prevail against us. For though the devil
still lives, and constantly attempts our ruin, yet all his power to hurt
us is destroyed or restrained. It is a great consolation to know that we
have to do with an enemy who cannot prevail against us. That what is here
said has been said with regard to us, we may gather from the next clause,
"that he might destroy him that had the power of death"; for the apostle
intimates that the devil was so far destroyed as he has power to reign to
our ruin; for "the power of death" is ascribed to him from the effect,
because it is destructive and brings death. He then teaches us not only
that the tyranny of Satan was abolished by Christ's death, but also that
he himself was so laid prostrate, that no more account is to be made of
him than as though he were not. He speaks of the devil according to the
usual practice of Scripture, in the singular number, not because there is
but one, but because they all form one community which cannot be supposed
to be without a head.
=====> 2:15. "And deliver them who", &c. This passage expresses in a
striking manner how miserable is the life of those who fear death, as
they must feel it to be dreadful, because they look on it apart from
Christ; for then nothing but a curse appears in it: for whence is death
but from God's wrath against sin? Hence is that bondage throughout life,
even perpetual anxiety, by which unhappy souls are tormented; for through
a consciousness of sin the judgment of God is ever presented to the view.
From this fear Christ has delivered us, who by undergoing our curse has
taken away what is dreadful in death. For though we are not now freed
from death, yet in life and in death we have peace and safety, when we
have Christ going before us.
    But it any one cannot pacify his mind by disregarding death, let him
know that he has made as yet but very little proficiency in the faith of
Christ; for as extreme fear is owing to ignorance as to the grace of
Christ, so it is a certain evidence of unbelief.
    "Death" here does not only mean the separation of the soul from the
body, but also the punishment which is inflicted on us by an angry God,
so that it includes eternal ruin; for where there is guilt before God,
there immediately hell shows itself.

=====> 2:16 For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he
took on [him] the seed of Abraham.
2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his]
brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
[pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to
succour them that are tempted.

=====> 2:16. "For verily", or, For nowhere, &c. By this comparison he
enhances the benefit and the honour with which Christ has favoured us, by
putting on our flesh; for he never did so much for angels. As then it was
necessary that there should be a remarkable remedy for man's dreadful
ruin, it was the design of the Son of God that there should be some
incomparable pledge of his love towards us which angels had not in common
with us. That he preferred us to angels was not owing to our excellency,
but to our misery. There is therefore no reason for us to glory as though
we were superior to angels, except that our heavenly Father has
manifested toward us that ampler mercy which we needed, so that the
angels themselves might from on high behold so great a bounty poured on
the earth. The present tense of the verb is to be understood with
reference to the testimonies of Scripture, as though he set before us
what had been before testified by the Prophets.
    But this one passage is abundantly sufficient to lay prostrate such

(continued in part 5...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-3/epl-01: calhb-04.txt