by B. B. Warfield
HEBREWS 2:9:—But we behold Him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste death for every man.
THE words I have chosen as a text form a part of a great passage, the proximate purpose of which is to set in a clear light the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ. In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews the unapproachable greatness of our Lord's person is exhibited. No mere "interpreter" of God He, like the prophets; no mere "messenger" of God, like the angels. The Jewish-Christian readers of this Epistle had been prepared by their traditional teaching to expect the coming of a culminating interpreter of God, of a final messenger from God, and they readily greeted Jesus Christ as such. Our author reminds them that, greeting Jesus Christ as such, they had found in Him something much more. No doubt they had found in Him the supreme interpreter of God, who, alone, having seen God, is in a position to "declare" Him,—or, as our author expresses it, who, being the very effulgence of God's glory and the very impress of His substance, can, alone, manifest all that God is. And they had found in Him the final messenger of God who had come to do a service, for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation, which no angel could do, or in His own words, who had come not to be ministered unto but to minister. But our author reminds his readers that they had found in Jesus something more glorious than even these great things, seeing that He had received by inheritance the much more exalted name of Son. The ineffable glory of Jesus Christ lies, he tells us, in this,—that even the great functions of interpreter of God and messenger of God, great as these functions as exercised by Him are, are not the source and not the measure of His greatness. As the Son of God, the effulgence of God's glory, and the impress of God's substance, all the prophets are but His servants, and before His majesty the very angels veil their faces and do Him homage.
The greatness of His work, of course, he now goes on to remind them, corresponds with the greatness of His person. In the second chapter our author advances to exhibit this surpassing greatness of the work of the Son of God. The salvation He wrought is called with pointed directness "so great a salvation," and is contrasted by this epithet with all that even the divinely given law could accomplish. To exhibit its greatness it is set before us in the height of its idea on the positive side. That we are saved by it from sin is taken for granted, and alluded to as a matter well known to all. But the negative side of salvation is not treated as the measure of its greatness. We are asked to attend, not to what we are saved from, but to what we are saved to. And that is presented as nothing less than dominion over the universe. This dominion God has destined for man from the beginning. But man had failed of his destiny. How hopelessly, how dismally, he had failed, none knew better than those the author of this Epistle was addressing,—Jews, who had lost even their Jewish ideals, and were now doubting whether in Christianity they had not lost all. He points them to Jesus as one who had saved them out of this depth to that height. Lordship,—not over "this world," with its troubles and trials, its incompletenesses and make-believes, and after all done, the end of death,—but over the "world to be," was theirs. True, they had not entered as yet into their heritage: the "world to be," by that very token, is not yet. But Jesus had entered upon it; and in Him they held the reversion to it. "But now, not yet do we see all things subjected to man: but Him who has been made a little lower than angels for the suffering of death, Jesus, we behold crowned with glory and honour, in order that by the grace of God His tasting of death should be for every man." He is on the throne; and He is there not for Himself but for us. It was for us that He died, nay, that He took upon Himself mortality; and now He is on the throne that this dreadful experience of death might really avail for us.
Had He only died for us, perhaps salvation might have consisted solely in relief from this penalty of sin which He bore for us. That He ascended out of death to the throne, conquers the throne itself for us. When we behold Jesus on the throne for us, we may see how great a salvation He has wrought for us. For on that throne we too shall sit, not merely in Him but with Him. It has always been the Father's good pleasure to give us the Kingdom; not apart from the Son but along with that Son who is not ashamed to call us brethren. And because this has always been and still is the Father's will, it behoved Him who orders all things for His own glory, in leading many sons into glory, to bring the leader of their salvation through sufferings to the full accomplishment of His great task.
The verse which we have chosen out of this noble context as our text is so remarkable, even in its form, that we must pause for a moment to observe some of its characteristics. The first thing that strikes us about it is the way in which it takes all the great Christian verities for granted,—not formally asserting them, as if it were instructing us as to their reality, but assuming them as things fully established, which could be counted upon to be fully understood, if only suggested. The Incarnation, the Atoning Death, the Session on the right hand of God, the Kingly rule of the exalted Christ,—all these are in this verse touched upon with clearness, confidence, emphasis. But no one of them is asserted, as if the purpose were to inform us of it. They are all assumed as the common conviction of writer and reader, and built upon as such for the conveyance of the special message of the passage.
Note the simplicity and effectiveness with which this is done. What the text wishes to do is, to put it briefly, to turn our eyes from ourselves to Jesus. But it does not speak of Jesus by His bare name, but designates Him by a descriptive phrase taken from the eighth Psalm which had just been quoted. What is this descriptive phrase? "Him that hath been made a little lower than angels": "But now, we see not yet all things subjected to him," i.e. to man: "but Him who hath been made a little lower than angels, we behold, Jesus." Now, how could this phrase be thus employed to describe Jesus as a man? You observe, it is not, properly speaking, a "quotation" from the Psalm. It is not employed here in the sense of the Psalm. As it stands in the Psalm, it is a proclamation of man's amazing greatness and dignity: God, it is declared, "made man but little lower than angels, and crowned him with glory and honour." Here, it is not a proclamation of dignity, but a recognition of humiliation: "Him that hath been made a little lower than angels for the suffering of death, we behold, Jesus." It is merely the application of certain words taken out of the Psalm in a new sense to designate Jesus according to a habitual mode of thinking of Him. The writer is making a quick transition, and he feels that when he says, "Him who has been made a little lower than angels," everybody will be struck at once with a little shock of pleased surprise at seeing the words of the Psalm suddenly given a new meaning and will anticipate him in saying to themselves, Why, it is Jesus he means: He was made a little lower than angels when he became man. In other words, the author counts confidently on the doctrine of the Incarnation as present to the thought of his readers, to which he can therefore allude, even in the most unexpected language, with the assurance that they will take his point.
Similarly, he says nothing directly about the Atoning work of Christ, but simply alludes to it in a word or two which in themselves might bear a less profound significance, but which he knows cannot but be taken in just this meaning by his readers: "Him," he says, "who hath been made a little lower than angels, for the suffering of death." He speaks only of death. Other men besides Jesus have suffered death: every other man, sooner or later, suffers death. In themselves the words, therefore, carry no suggestion of anything unusual in Jesus' case. But the writer knew that every Christian heart would respond, when he spoke of Jesus suffering death, and that with a turn of phrase which called attention to the suffering which He endured in His death, with a thrill of joyful recognition that this suffering of death was not merely the usual payment of the debt of nature, common to man, but was fraught with high significance. This indeed, he subtly suggests, by speaking of Jesus' becoming a little lower than angels for the suffering of death: it was for this purpose that He became man,—that He might endure this death. Other men do not become men to die: Jesus did—and in this he separated Himself from man. Death to Him is His voluntary act, and must be endured, not of necessity, but for an end. With such a suggestion embedded in it, our author can easily trust his bare mention of the death of Jesus to suggest forcibly to his readers all that a full reference to the atonement could convey.
The same is true of his allusion to the Ascension. Of the Ascension itself he says nothing, nor of the Resurrection which preceded it and forms its presupposition. He merely says, still in words borrowed from the description of man's high destiny in the eighth Psalm, that Jesus has been "crowned with glory and honour." With what sort of glory? With what kind of honour? Perhaps the glory and honour of the grateful memory of men? The inscription of His name on some monument, in some hall of fame? Or, possibly, on the hearts of His grateful followers? Does he mean that all history will ring with His praise, and, like the widow who cast in her mite at the treasury of the Temple, this that He did shall be remembered in His honour through all generations? Nothing of the kind. He means the actual session of Jesus upon the throne of the universe, that He may reign with a real rule over all principalities and powers and mights and dominions. But the words which he employs do not themselves say this. That he leaves to the natural understanding of his readers, whom he knows he can trust to read into his bare allusion to the crowning of Jesus with glory and honour the whole body of facts concerning His exaltation, including His resurrection and ascension and session at the right hand of God, thence expecting till He shall make His enemies His footstool.
You see how remarkable our text is for its confident dealing with this great circle of Christian doctrines by way of allusion. It is as plain as day that these things were not novelties to the writer or to his readers. They were not things about which he felt that he must instruct his readers; or even which they required to be reminded of in detail. They were things which stood to them and himself, alike, as the basis of their faith and hope. It is, therefore, also clear that these doctrines, thus suggested by way of allusion, do not constitute the specific teaching of our text. We do not deal with our main purpose in writing by way of allusion. The burden of the text is found, therefore, not in these great doctrines of the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Session at the right hand of God, which are brought before us in it, richly, powerfully, movingly, indeed, but, in point of mode of presentation, allusively. It is to be found in the final clause of the text, up to which they lead, and which describes the purpose, for which the incarnated Son of God, having become man and suffered death, has been crowned with glory and honour. This purpose was—I retranslate the words in an effort to bring out their true sense and relations—"in order that this, His bitter experience of death, may by the grace of God redound to the benefit of every man."
As it is in these words that the real message of the text is delivered to us, they demand our most careful scrutiny. To place them in their proper relation, let us observe in the first place that the clause goes back to the preceding words, "Because of the suffering of death"; and finds its true sense only when read in reference to them. Jesus Christ became man that He might die; and He has been crowned with glory and honour that this, His death, might by God's grace redound to the benefit of man. We are justified in rendering the strong Greek verb—"that He may taste of death"—by the strong English substantive—"that His bitter experience of death," on the general rule, which used to be so fertilely emphasized by Edward Thring, that it is the verb in the one language and the substantive in the other that is the strong word, and that our translations, if they are to be true to the stress of the original, must bear this in mind.
But perhaps it is worth while to pause to point out that the idea intended to be conveyed by the phrase "tasting of death" is a strong and not a weak one. Many, no doubt, when they read of our Lord's "tasting death," take it as implying that He merely "had a taste of death," as we say,—passed through it with the minimum of conscious experience of its terror. Precisely the contrary is what is really meant. What the phrase signifies is that He was not a merely passive subject of death, of whom it is merely to be said that He died, and that is all of it: but that He drained this bitter cup to its dregs. It is the horror and the pains of death that are thrown up boldly for our contemplation by this phrase; and therefore it is used to take up again the preceding phrase,—"the suffering of death," a phrase which by an unexpected turn of expression itself emphasizes the sufferings of death. Jesus became a man not merely that He might suffer death, but that He might endure the sufferings of death. He was not merely the object on which death wrought; He in dying suffered, had strong agonies to endure. And now, our present clause adds that this dreadful cup of death was drunk by Him, for a high end,—that by God's grace benefits might be secured for men.
Let us not pass on too rapidly to remind ourselves that in these words lies the emphasis not only of our text, but of this entire Epistle. For one of the great objects of this Epistle was to exhibit the glory of the death of Christ. To those old Jewish Christians for whom the Epistle was written, the offence of Jesus was—what the offence of Jesus has been ever since to all who, though not of Jewish blood, are of Jewish hearts—just the cross. Jesus as God's "interpreter," the supreme prophet, revealing by word and deed what God is and what God intends for man: Jesus as God's "messenger," the supernal agent in the divine work of gathering His people to Himself: these were ideas familiar to them, to which they gave immediate and glad hospitality. But Jesus, the bruised and broken sufferer hanging on the accursed tree,—it was hard for them to adjust themselves to that; and this it was which, first of all things, as the cruelties of their lot shook their courage and faith, they were in danger of drifting away from. This it was, therefore, which, first of all things, the author of this Epistle desired to fix in their hearts as too precious to lose hold of; as, indeed, the very centre and core of their Christianity, first spoken by the Lord Himself, and confirmed to them by those who heard Him, God bearing witness with them with signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, distributed according to His will. And therefore he gives his strength in the paragraph of which our text forms a part to carrying home to them these two great truths: that it became God—seeing that He it is to whom all things tend as their end and through whom all things come to pass as their director and governor,—without whom, therefore, as end and means, nothing takes place—to lead many sons to glory; and that it became Him equally to make the Leader in their salvation perfect—that is, to bring His saving work to the completion which is its accomplishment—through suffering. These are the two ideas, you will perceive at once, which, though they are announced in the form in which I have just stated them only in the next verse, yet already dominate our text. For precisely what our text seeks to emphasize is that Jesus passed through sufferings to glory; and that the reason why these sufferings were crowned with glory was in order that they might be made to inure to the benefit of every one.
There still remain two or three points which require elucidation before the precise message of the text may be grasped with clearness. Perhaps the first of these that will strike us is that the text does not directly announce the reason why Jesus suffered. As I have already pointed out, it does not say explicitly that Jesus suffered that many might enter into glory; but rather only that He has been crowned with honour and glory that His sufferings might inure to the good of every one. For all that is openly asserted in this verse by itself, it might be plausibly argued that the saving power of Jesus resided in His session at the right hand of God, rather than in His death; though no doubt we should be given pause in pushing this notion by observing that after all His kingly power is not represented as itself the saving force, but only as needed to secure, its proper efficacy to His death: "That the bitterness of His death should inure to the good of every one." And the context speedily supplies all that may be thought wanting in the text itself. We are immediately told that it was becoming in our Lord as the Leader in our salvation to partake in all that belongs to those whom He would lead to glory, since only so could he open the way for them to this glory: He must through death bring to naught Him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Obviously it is sin that blocks the way to their ascent to glory, and soon we find it expressly declared that the reason why our Lord was made in all things like unto His brethren was that as a merciful and faithful high priest He might make propitiation for the sins of the people. We must not, therefore, infer from the absence of express mention of it in our text that the author of our Epistle did not look upon the sufferings and death of Christ as primarily and above all the expiation of sin: or imagine that this idea does not underlie and colour the language of the text and need not be held in mind by us as part of its presupposition. On the contrary, this is one of the main foundations, as of the whole argument of the Epistle, so of our text as well.
Meanwhile it is not thrown forward in our text, and the reason is, as has already been intimated, that the aspect of salvation which is for the moment engrossing the mind of the author is not that of deliverance from the curse of sin. He is looking at salvation at this point of his argument not on its negative, but on its positive side. His mind is not full at the moment of what man is saved from, but with what man is saved to. He cannot help speaking of the sufferings of Christ, and throwing these sufferings out in the highest relief: for it was in and through these sufferings that Christ saved us. But His eye is set, not on the depths out of which this salvation has raised us, but on the heights to which it promises to elevate us. This is what is swelling in his heart when he calls it "so great salvation." And the specific aspect of its greatness which is occupying his attention is the universal dominion which it brings to saved mankind. O the greatness of this salvation, which Jesus Christ has wrought for us, he seems to cry; by it we are elevated well-nigh to the throne of God itself, and all creation is placed beneath our feet!
It is especially important to note the completeness of the writer's preoccupation at this point with the positive side of salvation, and, indeed, with the particular aspect of the positive side of salvation which consists in the establishing of mankind in its destined dominion over the creation, in order that we may understand another peculiarity of his exposition. This is the apparent inclusion of Christ Himself among those who share in the salvation adverted to. Nothing could be further from our author's mind than that theory of the atonement, sometimes vividly called the theory of "salvation by sample," which conceives our Lord in His incarnation to have taken sinful flesh, and to have participated in His own work of saving humanity from sin. Our author is express in his assertion that our Lord was "without sin," although He was offered specifically to bear the sins of many; and He makes it a part of our Lord's superiority to the priest of the shadow-dispensation that He did not require as the priest did to offer sacrifice for Himself as well as for the people. Our author no more than the other writers of the New Testament imagined Jesus to participate in His own propitiation for sin. Yet, in this context, he speaks of Him as "the Leader in salvation," making use of a term variously rendered, "Author," "Captain," "Prince," of salvation, which may seem to imply that He leads in salvation because He is the first to take part in it, as well as the principal cause of it; as we may speak of a bad man as the leader in all the evil in which a coterie under his influence indulges; or, more appropriately in this connection, of a good man as the leader in all the good works his example inspires; or, even better still, of a great popular saviour like Washington as the leader of his people into freedom and power. And, indeed, our whole passage is cast in some such mould as this. For what does it do but bid us see in the exaltation of Jesus to the throne of the universe, the fulfilment in principle of the promise in the Psalm of universal dominion to man, which is here identified with the great salvation earned by Christ? The explanation of this apparent inclusion of Jesus Himself in His own saving work, is found in the engrossment of the writer with the positive aspect of salvation, and that as manifested in dominion over the creation, to the exclusion for the moment of contemplation of its whole negative side.
The negative aspect of salvation, no doubt, enters too deeply into the very essence of salvation ever to be wholly out of mind when the work of Christ is spoken of. And therefore, though the immediate interest of the writer, in our text, rests not so much on the relation of Christ's death to the guilt which it expiates, as on its relation to the glory which it purchases, yet he not only alludes to His death, but throws it into prominence as the basis of all that Jesus has obtained for men. And certainly there is no forgetfulness apparent that it was for others, not for Himself, that all our Lord's work was done. The very purpose for which the whole passage was written is to emphasize the fact that it was not for Himself but for others that our Lord wrought: and that purpose is nowhere more emphatically asserted than in this very culminating clause of our text, the assertion of which is precisely that our Lord's bitter experience of death was on behalf of others: "In order that, thus, His tasting of death might by God's grace inure to the benefit of every man." The energy of this expression is so great, in fact, that we may possibly be misled by it into attaching a meaning to it which was certainly not intended by its author. By his use here of the term "every man"—"in order that He might taste of death for every man"—the author has no intention of asserting a universal salvation. As we are reminded by a recent commentator, he "nowhere expresses hope or expectation of universal redemption." His interest is not in asserting that each and every man who lives in the world, or has lived or will live in it, shall attain to the universal dominion promised through the Psalmist. He knows very well that this will not be the case; no one could be more earnest than he is in warning his readers against neglecting this great salvation and incurring the fate of thorns and thistles whose end is to be burned. And the refinement of a universal redemption which does not take universal effect, but hangs for its realization upon a condition to be fulfilled by the redeemed themselves, is foreign to his whole thought. He is speaking in our text moreover not of the intention with which Christ died, but of the realization of that intention through the power of the ascended Christ. His interest is absorbed in the contrast between Jesus' earning the promised dominion for Himself alone, and His earning it for others. What he asserts, and that with the highest energy, is that Jesus did not act for Himself in the great transaction which he speaks of as this "so great salvation," but for others: and that the result of it is not that by it He Himself attained to honour and glory, but that He by it led a multitude of sons of God into glory. And therefore the "every one" of this verse is immediately translated into the "many sons" of the next: "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, to bring many sons into glory."
Certainly there is a sense in which this "every one" is the human race. Jesus' endurance of death for every one is set forth as the ground on which the fulfilment of the Psalmist's promise is based. And that promise was that to man should be give dominion over creation. The nerve of the assertion our author makes is that Christ's ascension to His glory is in order that His death, suffered on earth, should bring about this great consummation: "In order that by God's grace His endurance of death may be for every one,"—that is, may redound to the glorification, the establishment on its destined throne, not of Himself, but of the human race. The promise is to the human race; Christ is but the instrument of securing its fulfilment to the race. He enters His glory not for Himself, any more than He died for Himself; but that He might bring about the glorification of the race. "Every one" means here, thus, simply the race at large, and its peculiar form is not intended to distribute the race into its units, and to declare that the consummation shall fail for no one of these units; but with the greatest possible energy to assert the racial effect of our Lord's work. Not for Himself, but for man it was that He died; not for Himself, but for man it was that He has ascended into heaven and has seated Himself on the right hand of God; not for Himself, but for man is it that He has been crowned with glory and honour, that His death may not be of no effect, but by God's grace His endurance of death may inure to the benefit of mankind.
And now, perhaps, we are prepared tardily to throw into its proper relief the especial message of the text for us. What is it but this: The necessity of the exaltation of Christ for the completion of His saving work? We are accustomed to think of Christ dying for us. Let us remember that He not only died for us, but rose again for us: Paul says that He who was delivered up for our trespasses was raised for our justification. And let us remember that He was not only raised for us, but ascended into heaven for us and sits at the right hand of God for us. It was therefore that our Lord declared that it was expedient for us that He should go away, and that Paul exhorts us to remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David. What our author does when he declares that we behold Jesus, made a little lower than angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that His bitter experience of death may be for the benefit of every one, is to fix our eyes on the saving work of the exalted Jesus. If He died to expiate our sins, He reigns in heaven that He may apply the benefits accruing from that expiation to His people, and may thus bring them into the glory He has purchased for them. If, says Paul, while we were enemies, we were reconciled with God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. Christ no more died for us two thousand years ago at Calvary, than He now lives for us in heaven.
An exhortation to fix our eyes on the exalted Saviour was eminently timely when this Epistle was written; and it is no less timely to-day after the passage of these two thousand years. Then, the Hebrew Christians, puzzled and distressed by the spectacle of a suffering Christ, needed to have their hearts cheered and their faith steadied by the great vision of the exalted Christ: they needed to be continually reminded that Jesus died, not for Himself but for man, and that His death cannot fail of its high purpose, seeing that He Himself, sitting on the throne of the universe, will see to it that the seed that was sown in sorrow shall produce a harvest which shall be reaped in joy: He shall see of the soul and be satisfied. And we to-day, in the special trials to faith which an age of critical doubt has brought to us, need to keep in constant remembrance that our trust is put not in a dead, but in a living Christ,—in a Christ who died, indeed, but whom the tomb could not retain, but lo! He is alive for evermore. The fashionable, I do not say unbelief, I say the fashionable belief, about us to-day, forgets or neglects, or openly turns its back upon the living Christ, and bids us seek inspiration for our lives and hope for our future, in a Jesus who lived and died in Palestine two thousand years ago,—and that was all. Dimly seen through the ever-increasing obscurity of the gathering years, that great figure has still the power to attract the gaze and to quicken the pulses—yes, to dominate the lives—of men. This is, no doubt, much; but so little is it all, that it is the least of what we are to seek and to find in Jesus Christ. He is our inspiration; and, knowing Him better than these, our would-be guides, know Him, He is also our example. But He is so much more than our inspiration or even our example, that we need scarcely think of these things when we think of Him: He is our life. And He is our life not only because He has washed out in His blood the death-warrant that had been issued against us—giving, as He Himself phrased it, His life as a ransom for many—but also because, after He had purchased us to Himself by His precious blood, He has become to us the living fountain and ever-flowing source of life and blessedness. Jesus on the cross is our Saviour; and it is our privilege to behold Him on His cross, an all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. But Jesus on His throne is our Saviour too; and it is our privilege to-day, as we read the lofty words of this great declaration of the Epistle to the Hebrews, to behold Him on His throne, crowned with glory and honour, that His tasting of death may by God's grace be the actual salvation of our souls.
Let us fix our eyes and set our hearts to-day, then, on our exalted Saviour. Let us see Him on His throne made head over all things to His Church, with all the reins of government in His hands,—ruling over the world, and all the changes and chances of time, that all things may work together for good to those that love Him. Let us see Him through His spirit ruling over our hearts, governing all our thoughts, guiding all our feelings, directing all our wills, that, being His, saved by His blood, we may under His unceasing control steadily work out our salvation, as He works in us both the willing and the doing, in accordance with His good pleasure. As, in our unrighteousness, we know we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,—or, as our own Epistle puts it, a great High Priest who has entered within the veil and ever liveth to make intercession there for us: so let us know that in our weakness we have the protecting arm of the King of kings and Lord of lords about us, and He will not let us slip, but will lose none that the Father has given Him, but will raise them up at the last day. Having been tempted like as we are (though without sin), He is able to sympathize with us in our infirmities; having suffered as we do, He knows how to support us in our trials; and having opened a way in His own blood leading to life, He knows how to conduct our faltering steps that we may walk in it. Christ our Saviour is on the throne. The hands that were pierced with the nails of the cross wield the sceptre. How can our salvation fail?
Art thou afraid His power shall fail
When comes thine evil day?
Or can an all-creating arm
Grow weary, or decay?
Supreme in wisdom as in power,
The Rock of Ages stands;
Though Him thou canst not see, nor trace
The workings of His hands.
What matters it if we cannot see? There is a firmer foundation for confidence here than sight. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Let us bless God to-day that we can behold Jesus, not only made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, but, having suffered death for us, crowned with glory and honour, that by God's grace the bitter pains He suffered in our behalf may be efficacious for the saving of our souls.
Just one word, in closing, especially to you who have given yourselves to the service of Christ in the ministry of His grace. Remember that you serve a living, not a dead Christ. You are to trust in His blood. In it alone have you life. But you are to remember that He was not broken by death, but broke death; and having purchased you to Himself by His blood, now rules over your souls from His heavenly throne. He is your master whom you are to obey. He has given you commandment to bring all peoples to the knowledge of Him. And He has promised to be with you, even to the end of the world. Live with Him. Keep fast hold upon Him; be in complete touch with Him. Let your hearts dwell with Him in the heavenly places, that the arm of His strength may be with you in your earthly toil. Let this be that by which all men know you: that in good report and in bad, in life and in death, in the great and in the small affairs of life—in everything you do down to the minutest acts of your everyday affairs—you are the servants of the Lord Christ. So will you be truly His disciples, and so will He be your Saviour—unto the uttermost.
Source: The Savior of the World (eBook) by B. B. Warfield