Barry is the founder and Professor of the M.Div. program for Mindanao Grace Seminary, Philippines.
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:14-17
With this statement, we can see the reason why the incarnation of Christ was necessary. Christ, having pre-existed with the Father before creation, was selected to be the revelation of the mercy and love of God to all creation. The plan of the God-head was in place before creation itself. In the beginning, God created. He placed a unique creature over his creation. This creature had an eternal soul like the created angels but this creature also had a flesh and blood body like the animals. This creature had unique powers because it was also made in the image of the Creator. And this creature was given the power to rule over all creation. This creature was created good. He was upright and capable of obeying God. However, the man was also not God. Unlike God, he could change. He could have improved his condition by obedience and he could worsen his condition through disobedience.
Man, of his own free will, chose to disobey. God, knowing all things, already had a plan in place to redeem Fallen man. Men would be redeemed through the Son. Because these creatures were flesh and blood their redeemer needed to be flesh and blood.
He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil Verse 14
When Adam sinned, he broke the Law of God. He also surrendered his right to rule and sided with Satan in a galactic battle against God. In doing so, Adam not only brought himself under the rule and bondage of Satan, but he also brought all those who would be born from him into this bondage.
For as in Adam all die… 1 Corinthians 15:22
In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s actions affect not only him but also all people. Adam was the representative of all men. God granted Adam moral righteousness- inherent uprightness- that allowed Adam to obey God. That is why the Scripture can say that in Adam all die. Remember the only commandment given in the Garden of Eden to Adam was “Do not eat of this tree or you will die.” And die he did. He did not die immediately, but by God’s grace Adam’s physical death was postponed. This was necessary so that there would be a seed of Adam in the flesh that would create a lineage that would one day give birth to the Savoir.
However, Adam did die in a very real way that day. He died spiritually. And all his children and his children’s children inherited the death gene that will kill the body and killed their souls. So being in bondage to sin and under the penalty of death, if humanity would be free there must be a new “first man” to come and represent them before God and free him from the penalty of physical and spiritual death.
He Gives Help to the Descendants of Abraham
and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Verses 15-16
The angels had no one to represent them. Those elect angels (1 Timothy 5:21) were preserved by God while the non-elect angels were not. God offers the fallen angels no help and no mediator. They are damned and without hope. And this is just. However, according to the last part of v. 16 “…He (God) gives help to the descendants of Abraham.”
Who exactly are the descendants of Abraham?
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel… Romans 9:6
Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. Galatians 3: 7
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” Galatians 3:16
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3: 29
The children of Abraham are the children of faith. Christ gives help to the children of faith by becoming their new representative before God. He takes the place of Adam and represents the children of Abraham. Just as the sin of Adam was accounted to his offspring, so the righteousness of Christ is accounted to His offspring.
A Better Sacrifice
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Hebrews 10:14
Those sacrifices were a temporal covering of sins offered in faith under the Old Covenant and were pointing to the supreme sacrifice that would come. But as we said before it was a man who represented all men who sinned and caused the fall of all humanity. And because the sin was of a man no lesser life could pay for man’s sin. But there is a mathematical problem. One man’s life can only be equal to one other man’s life. The sacrifice of a mere man would only buy back one other man. If God wanted to redeem more than one man, God would have to provide a sacrifice of at least equal worth to the number of men He desired to redeem. But more than that, God would have to provide a sacrifice that could pay for not only each person but every sin of each person that He wanted to redeem. Given that God is infinite and given that the Law of God is a reflection of His person and ethical character, any violation against the law would be a transgression against the infinite moral character of God.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Verse 17
Only Christ could pay for the sins of man because only the Christ was of the same flesh and the same blood of guilty men. Only Jesus could pay for the sins of the descendants of Abraham because only Jesus’ life was greater value than the life of one man. Only the God-man could pay for the sins of the elect because he was the only one that could serve as a perfect mediator between God and man. Humanity must be represented by one of their own – a human. And yet all humans are fallen and sinful and therefore cannot approach God. Only the God-man could stand in the presence of the Holy God-head because He is also God and also holy.
It is no coincidence that Jesus is born from the lineage of Abraham. There is a literal necessity and a typological necessity. Jesus must be born of the lineage of Abraham so that He could fulfill the law of God given to the literal, physical offspring of Abraham. And it was also necessary so that Jesus could be seen as the fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham that “through your seed, the nations would be blessed.”
Why the God-man? So why did Christ become a man?
It is the absolute love of the Father for the Son that makes it possible for God to love the elect. Because the elect are united with Christ the Son, God the Father can love them as much as He loves the Son. He became man for the ultimate purpose of redeeming fallen men.