by A.T. Jones
The particular thought which will be the subject of our study at this time is that which is found in the 11th verse, second chapter of Hebrews: "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." It is men of this world, sinful men, whom Christ sanctifies--He is the Sanctifier. And He and these are all of one.
In this part of the chapter you will remember we are studying man. In the first chapter, as we have seen, there is shown the contrast between Christ and the angels with Christ above the angels as God. In the second chapter the contrast is between Christ and the angels with Christ below the angels. God has not put in subjection to the angels the world to come whereof we speak. He has put it in subjection to man and Christ is the man. Therefore Christ became man; He takes the place of man; He was born as man is born. In His human nature Christ came from the man from whom we all have come, so that the expression in this verse, "all of one," is the same as "all from one--as all coming forth from one. One man is the source and head of all our human nature. And the genealogy of Christ, as one of us, runs to Adam. Luke 3:38.
It is true that all men and all things are from God, but the thought in this chapter is man, and Christ as man. We are the sons of the first man, and so is Christ according to the flesh. We are now studying Christ in His human nature. The first chapter of Hebrews is Christ in His divine nature. The second chapter is Christ in human nature. The thought in these two chapters is clearly akin to that in the second chapter of Philippians, verses 5-8:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
In that passage Christ in the two forms is set forth. First, being in the form of God, He took the form of man. In Hebrews, first two chapters, it is not the form but the nature.
I repeat: In the second chapter of Philippians we have Christ in the two forms--the form of God and the form of man. In Hebrews, first and second chapters, we have Christ in the two natures, the nature of God and the nature of man. You may have something in the form of man that would not be of the nature of man. You can have a piece of stone in the form of man, but it is not the nature of man. Jesus Christ took the form of man, that is true, and He did more; He took the nature of man.
Let us read now the fourteenth verse of the second chapter of Hebrews. Forasmuch then as the children [the children of Adam, the human race] are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same. "Likewise means in this wise, in this way, in a way like this which is spoken of. Therefore Christ took flesh and blood in a way like we take it. But how did we take flesh and blood?--By birth and clear from Adam too. He took flesh and blood by birth also and clear from Adam too. For it is written: He is the seed of David according to the flesh. Romans 1:3. While David calls Him Lord, He also is David's son. Matt. 22:42-45. His genealogy is traced to David, but it does not stop there. It goes to Abraham, because He is the seed of Abraham. He took on Him the seed of Abraham, as in the sixteenth verse of this second chapter of Hebrews. Nor does His genealogy stop with Abraham; it goes to Adam. Luke 3:38. Therefore He which sanctifieth among men and they who are sanctified among men are all of one. All coming from one man according to the flesh, are all of one. Thus on the human side, Christ's nature is precisely our nature.
Let us look at the other side again for an illustration of this oneness, that we may see the force of this expression that He and we are all of one.
On the other side, however, as in the first chapter of Hebrews, He is of the nature of God. The name God which He bears belongs to Him by the very fact of His existence; it belongs to Him by inheritance. As that name belongs to Him entirely because He exists and as certainly as He exists and as it belongs to Him by nature, it is certain that His nature is the nature of God.
Also, in the first chapter of John, first verse, it is written: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. That word "with" does not express the reality of the thought as well as another. The German puts a word in there that defines the Greek closer than ours does. That says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was bei God" literally, "The Word was of God." And that is true. The Greek word conveys the same idea as that my right arm is of me, of my body. The Greek therefore is literally, In the beginning "the word was God."
This simply illustrates on that side the fact as to what He is on this side. For as on the divine side, He was of God, of the nature of God, and was really God, so on the human side He is of man and of the nature of man and really man.
Look at the fourteenth verse of the first chapter of John. "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." That tells the same story that we are reading here in the first two chapters of Hebrews. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was of God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"--flesh and blood as ours is.
Now what kind of flesh is it? What kind of flesh alone is it that this world knows? Just such flesh as you and I have. This world does not know any other flesh of man and has not known any other since the necessity for Christ's coming was created. Therefore, as this world knows only such flesh as we have, as it is now, it is certainly true that when the Word was made flesh," He was made just as flesh as ours is. It cannot be otherwise.
Again: What kind of flesh is our flesh, as it is in itself? Let us turn to the eighth chapter of Romans and read whether Christ's human nature meets ours and is as ours in that respect wherein ours is sinful flesh. Romans 8:3: "What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son" did.
There was something that the law could not do, and that God, sending His own Son, did. But why was it that the law could not do what it desired and what was required? It was weak through the flesh. The trouble was in the flesh. It was this that caused the law to fail of its purpose concerning man. Then God sent Christ to do what the law could not do. And the law having failed of its purpose because of the flesh and not because of any lack in itself, God must send Him to help the flesh and not to help the law. If the law had been in itself too weak to do what it was intended to do, then the thing for Him to have done to help the matter out would be to remedy the law. But the trouble was with the flesh, and therefore He must remedy the flesh.
It is true that the argument nowadays, springing up from that enmity that is against God and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, is that the law could not do what was intended and God sent His Son to weaken the law, so that the flesh could answer the demands of the law. But if I am weak and you are strong and I need help, it does not help me any to make you as weak as I am; I am as weak and helpless as before. There is no help at all in all that. But when I am weak and you are strong and you can bring to me your strength, that helps me. So the law was strong enough, but its purpose could not be accomplished through the weakness of the flesh. Therefore God, to supply the need, must bring strength to weak flesh. He sent Christ to supply the need and therefore Christ must so arrange it that strength may be brought to our flesh itself which we have today, that the purpose of the law may be met in our flesh. So it is written: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," in order "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Now do not get a wrong idea of that word likeness. It is not the shape; it is not the photograph; it is not the likeness in the sense of an image, but it is likeness in the sense of being like indeed. The word likeness here is not the thought that is in the second chapter of Philippians, where it is shape, the form, or likeness as to form, but here in the book of Hebrews it is likeness in nature, likeness to the flesh as it is in itself, God sending His own Son in that which is just like sinful flesh. And in order to be just like sinful flesh, it would have to be sinful flesh; in order to be made flesh at all, as it is in this world, He would have to be just such flesh as it is in this world, just such as we have and that is sinful flesh. This is what is said in the words "likeness of sinful flesh."
This is shown in the ninth and tenth verses of Hebrews 2, also: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels"--not only as man was made lower than the angels when He was created.
Man was sinless when God made him a little lower than the angels. That was sinless flesh. But man fell from that place and condition and became sinful flesh.
Now we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, but not as man was made when he was first made a little lower than the angels, but as man is since he sinned and became still lower than the angels. That is where we see Jesus. Let us read and see: We see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels. What for? "For the suffering of death." Then Christ's being made as much lower than the angels as man is, is as much lower than the angels as man is since he sinned and became subject to death. We see him "crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him [it was appropriate for 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."
Therefore, as He became subject to suffering and death, this demonstrates strongly enough that the point lower than the angels at which Christ came to stand; where He does stand and where "we see him," is the point to which man came when he, in sin, stepped still lower than where God made him--even then a little lower than the angels.
Again: the sixteenth verse: "Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. He took not on him the nature of angels but he took on Him the nature of Abraham. But the nature of Abraham and of the seed of Abraham is only human nature.
Again: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." In how many things? All things. Then in His human nature there is not a particle of difference between Him and you.
Let us read the scripture. Let us study this closely. I want to see that we shall stand by it. Let us read it over: "Are all of one." He took part of flesh and blood in the same way that we take part of flesh and blood. He took not the nature of angels but the seed, the nature, of Abraham. Wherefore--for these reasons--it behoved Him--what is behoved? It was the proper thing for Him to do--it became Him, it was appropriate. It behoved Him to be made in all things like unto His brethren. Who are His brethren, though?--The human race. "All of one," and for this cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Because we are all of one, He is not ashamed to call you and me brethren. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren."
Well, then, in His human nature, when He was upon the earth, was He in any wise different from what you are in your human nature tonight? [A few in the congregation responded, "NO"] I wish we had heard everybody in the house say, "no," with a loud voice. You are too timid altogether. The word of God says that, and we are to say, That is so, because there is salvation in just that one thing. No, it is not enough to say it that way: the salvation of God for human beings lies in just that one thing. We are not to be timid about it at all. There our salvation lies, and until we get there we are not sure of our salvation. That is where it is. "In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." What for?--O, "that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." Then don't you see that our salvation lies just there? Do you not see that it is right there where Christ comes to us? He came to us just where we are tempted and was made like us just where we are tempted, and there is the point where we meet Him--the living Saviour against the power of temptation.
Now the fourteenth verse of the fourth chapter of Hebrews:
Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are.
He could not have been tempted in all points like as I am if He were not in all points like as I am to start with. Therefore it behoved Him to be made in all points like me, if He is going to help me where I need help. I know that right there is where I need it. And oh, I know it is right there where I get it. Thank the Lord! There is where Christ stands and there is my help.
"We have not a high priest which cannot be touched"--two negatives there; have not a high priest which cannot be touched. Then what do we have on the affirmative side? We have a high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities--my infirmities, your infirmities, our infirmities. Does He feel my infirmities? Yes. Does He feel your infirmities? Yes. What is an infirmity? Weakness, wavering, weakness--that is expressive enough. We have many of them. All of us have many of them. We feel our weaknesses. Thank the Lord, there is One who feels them also--yea, not only feels them but is touched with the feeling of them. There is more in that word "touched" than simply that He is reached with the feeling of our weaknesses and feels as we feel. He feels as we feel, that is true, but beyond that He is "touched"; that is, He is tenderly affected; His sympathy is stirred. He is touched to tenderness and affected to sympathy and He helps us. This is what is said in the words, "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Thank the Lord for such a Saviour!
But I say again, He cannot be tempted in all points like as I am unless He was in all points like I am to start with. He could not feel as I do unless He is where I am and as I am. In other words, He could not be tempted in all points as I am and feel as I feel unless He was just myself over again. The word of God says: "In all points like as we are."
Let us study this further. There are things that will tempt you strongly that will draw hard on you, that are no more to me than a zephyr in a summer day. Something will draw hard on me, even to my overthrowing, that would not affect you at all. What strongly tempts one may not affect another. Then, in order to help me, Jesus must be where He can feel what I feel and be tempted in all points where I could be tempted with any power at all. What strongly tempts one may not affect another. Then, in order to help me, Jesus must be where He can feel what I feel and be tempted in all points where I could be tempted with any power at all. But as things that tempt me may not affect you at all and things that affect you may not affect me, Christ has to stand where you and I both are, so as to meet all the temptations of both. He must feel all those which you meet that do not affect me and also all those which I meet that do not affect you. He has to take the place of both of us. That is so.
Then there is the other man. There are things that tempt him to his overthrow that do not affect you or me either. Then Jesus had to take all the feelings and nature of myself, of yourself, and of the other man also, so that He could be tempted in all points like as I am and in all points like as you are and in all points like as the other man is. But when you and I and the other man are taken in Him, how many does that embrace? That takes the whole human race.
And this is exactly the truth. Christ was in the place and He had the nature of the whole human race. And in Him meet all the weaknesses of mankind, so that every man on earth who can be tempted at all finds in Jesus Christ power against temptation. For every soul there is in Jesus Christ victory against all temptation and relief from the power of it. That is the truth.
Let us look at it from another side. There is one in the world--Satan, the god of this world--who is interested in seeing that we are tempted just as much as possible, but he does not have to employ much of his time nor very much of his power in temptation to get us to yield.
That same one was here and he was particularly interested in getting Jesus to yield to temptation. He tried Jesus upon every point upon which he would ever have to try me to get me to sin, and he tried in vain. He utterly failed to get Jesus to consent to sin in any single point upon which I can ever be tempted.
He also tried Jesus upon every point upon which he has ever tried you or ever can try you to get you to sin, and he utterly failed there too. That takes you and me both then, and Jesus has conquered in all points for both you and me.
But when he tried Jesus upon all the points that he has tried upon both you and me and failed there, as he did completely fail, he had to try Him more than that yet. He had to try Him upon all the points upon which he has tried the other man to get him to yield. Satan did this also and also there completely failed.
Thus Satan had to try, and he did try, Jesus upon all the points that he ever had to try me upon and upon all the points that he ever had to try you upon and also upon all the points that he would have to try the other man upon. Consequently he had to try Jesus upon every point upon which it is possible for a temptation to rise in any man of the human race.
Satan is the author of all temptation, and he had to try Jesus upon every point upon which it is possible for Satan himself to raise a temptation. And in all he failed all the time. Thank the Lord!
More than that: Satan not only had to try Jesus upon all the points where he has ever had to try me, but he had to try Jesus with a good deal more power than he ever had to exert upon me. He never had to try very hard nor use very much of his power in temptation to get me to yield. But taking the same points upon which Satan has ever tried me in which he got me to sin or would ever have to try to get me to sin, he had to try Jesus on those same points a good deal harder than he ever did to get me to sin. He had to try him with all the power of temptation that he possibly knows--that is, the devil I mean--and failed. Thank the Lord! So in Christ I am free.
He had to try Jesus in all points where he ever tempted or ever can tempt you and he had to try Him with all the power that he knows, and he failed again. Thank the Lord! So you are free in Christ. He had also to try Jesus upon every point that affects the other man with all his Satanic power also, and still he failed. Thank the Lord! And in Christ the other man is free.
Therefore he had to try Jesus upon every point that ever the human could be tried upon and failed. He had to try Jesus with all the knowledge that he has and all the cunning that he knows and failed. And he had to try Jesus with all his might upon each particular point, and still he failed.
Then there is a threefold--yes, a complete--failure on the devil's part all around., In the presence of Christ, Satan is absolutely conquered, and in Christ we are conquerors of Satan. Jesus said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." In Christ, then, we escape him. In Christ we meet in Satan a completely conquered and a completely exhausted enemy.
This is not to say that we have no more fighting to do. But it is to say and to say emphatically and joyfully that in Christ we fight the fight of victory. Out of Christ, we fight--but it is all defeat. In Him our victory is complete, as well as in all things in Him we are complete. But, O do not forget the expression: It is in Him!
Then, as Satan has exhausted all the temptations that he knows or possibly can know and has exhausted all his power in the temptation too, what is he? In the presence of Christ, what is he? Powerless. And when he finds us in Christ and then would reach us and harass us, what is he? Powerless. Praise and magnify the Lord!
Let us rejoice in this, for in Him we are victors; in Him we are free; in Him Satan is powerless toward us. Let us be thankful for that. In Him we are complete.