Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 49) - Heb 2:9; Heb 3:6,14; Heb 3:17-19; Heb 4:1-11Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 118. Heb 2:9 A. "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." (Heb 2:9) B. Does this verse teach universal atonement, that Jesus died for the entire human race? i. It cannot teach that Jesus died for the entire human race because many of them will end up in hell (Rev 20:15) which means He didn't die for them. ii. Jesus only died for His sheep (Joh 10:15), not the goats who are not His sheep (Joh 10:26; Mat 25:32,41). iii. Out of all flesh, Jesus gave eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him (Joh 17:2). C. "Every man" doesn't always mean "the entire human race" (Mar 8:25; Luk 16:16; Act 2:45; Act 4:35). D. If it wasn't every member of the human race, then who was the "every man" for whom Jesus tasted death? (Heb 2:9) i. The "every man" is identified in the next verse as the "many sons" Jesus brought to glory (Heb 2:10). a. The "many sons" are those whom God predestinated to be his children by Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5). b. They are those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). c. They are those who have redemption through His blood (Eph 1:7) which was shed when He tasted death for them (Heb 2:9). d. They are the elect whom He glorified (brought to glory) (Rom 8:29-30). ii. The "every man" are "they who are sanctified" (Heb 2:11). a. "They who are sanctified" are those who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit (1Pe 1:2). b. Sanctify v. - 1. trans. To set apart religiously for an office or function; to consecrate (a king, etc.). 5. a. To make (a person) holy, to purify or free from sin; to cause to undergo sanctification. 1526 Tindale 1 Cor. vi. 11 Ye are wesshed: ye are sanctified: ye are iustified [etc.]. c. They are those who of God are in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us sanctification (1Co 1:30 c/w Eph 1:4). d. They are those who according to God's will (His election c/w Eph 1:5,11) are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (every man - the elect) (Heb 10:10,14 c/w 1Pe 1:2). iii. The "every man" are "the children which God hath given [Christ]" (Heb 2:13). a. The children which God gave Christ are the elect whom He chose in Him to make them His children by adoption (Eph 1:4-5). b. They are "all which the Father [gave Jesus]" of whom He would not lose one, but would raise up every one of them at the last day (Joh 6:37-39; Joh 17:2-4). c. They are "His people" of whom it was said "He shall save His people from their sins" by tasting death for them (Mat 1:21). iv. The "every man" for whom Jesus tasted death are men out of every nation, "every man" distributively, not collectively (Rev 5:9; Rev 7:9; Rev 13:16 c/w Rev 20:4 c/w 1Th 4:17). E. The "every man" for whom Jesus tasted death were the same "every man" whom Jesus lighted (Joh 1:9). (See Joh 1:9 - Section III) F. The "every man" for whom Jesus tasted death was the "world" of whom Jesus took away the sin (Joh 1:29). (See Joh 1:29 - Section III) 119. Heb 3:6 - 4:11 A. This passage is by some mistakenly assumed to teach that those who believe enter into eternal rest and those who don't believe don't. B. Heb 3:6,14 i. Do these verses teach that being Christ's house and being partakers of Christ are conditioned on us continuing in the faith? ii. No, the doctrine is in the grammar. iii. Heb 3:6 a. The house which we are is the church, the house of God (1Ti 3:15; 1Pe 2:5) which Christ built (Heb 3:3 c/w Mat 16:18) and is the high priest over (Heb 10:21). b. All of the elect are Christ's house, which is His bride, the church for which He died (Eph 5:25). c. The elect who profess faith in Christ and are baptized are added to the local church (Act 2:38,41-42,47) which shows evidence that they were chosen in Christ by God to be made His holy bride (Eph 1:4 c/w Eph 5:25-27). d. "whose house we are" says that we are presently Christ's house. e. "if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" is a condition to be kept in the future. f. Therefore, this verse is declaring that our future faithfulness and obedience is the evidence, not the cause, that we are Christ's church for which He died. iv. Heb 3:14 a. "we are made partakers of Christ" says that we were made partakers of Christ in the past, which relationship continues in the present (are made is present perfect tense). 1. We were made partakers of Christ when we were chosen to be part of His body (Eph 1:4 c/w Eph 1:22-23) which is the church for which He died (Eph 5:25-28). 2. Partaker - 1. One who takes a part or share, a partner, participator, sharer. b. "if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" is a condition to be kept in the future. c. Therefore, this verse is declaring that our future faithfulness and obedience is the evidence, not the cause, that we are partakers of Christ as His church for which He died. v. In addition to the grammatical arguments contained in the verses themselves, the context makes it clear that the people to whom Paul was writing were "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling" (Heb 3:1). a. If they were already holy and partakers of the heavenly calling, then they obviously didn't need to do something to get to be what they already were. b. Furthermore, Paul used the pronoun "we", referring the Hebrew believers and himself in Heb 3:6,14, so he was obviously not giving himself a condition to meet for him to get eternal life. vi. See Col 1:21-23 - Section III for another example of a verse that sets forth a condition which is an evidence, not a cause, of eternal salvation. C. Heb 3:17-19 i. Is Heb 3:17-19 referring to eternal rest in heaven that the Israelites could not enter into because of their unbelief? ii. No, the rest that they could not enter into was the land of Canaan in which they would have had rest from their wandering in the wilderness (Heb 3:17 c/w Psa 106:24-26 c/w Deu 1:34-36). iii. They didn't believe God that he would give them victory over the Canaanites and give them the land (Num 13:2,26-33), so God let them wander and die in the wilderness for 40 years (Heb 3:17). iv. The land of Canaan was a temporal blessing of rest in this life that they were denied because of their unbelief. v. The Israelites were not denied eternal rest in heaven, even though they didn't believe God. a. These same Israelites who were overthrown in the wilderness were children of God who were spiritual partakers of Christ (1Co 10:1-5 c/w Joh 6:54-56). b. Paul, writing to elect Gentiles, called them "our fathers" (1Co 10:1). c. Moses also did not enter the promised land because of unbelief (Num 20:12). d. Yet, Moses certainly was a child of God who entered eternal rest upon his death (Mat 17:3). D. Heb 4:1-3 i. Just as there was a temporal rest promised to Israel in the wilderness that they could have entered into by belief, so it is with us today (Heb 4:1). ii. The gospel (the good news of rest which is found in believing God's promises) was preached to them as it is to us (Heb 4:2). a. It didn't profit them because they didn't believe it. b. Israel stands as a warning to us (Heb 4:1; 1Co 10:6-11). iii. Like Israel who could have entered into rest if they had believed, we which have believed in Christ do enter into rest (Heb 4:3). a. The work of salvation was finished from the foundation of the world when God chose to save His people in Christ (Heb 4:3 c/w Eph 1:4 c/w 2Ti 1:9). b. When God decides to do something, it's as good as done (Rom 4:17). c. This is why Jesus, the Lamb of God, could be said to have been slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). d. In that the work of salvation is finished (Joh 19:30 c/w Joh 17:2-4 c/w Heb 4:3), there is no more work that needs to be done, nor can be done, to secure eternal salvation for us. e. Those who don't understand that salvation is by grace, and not works, need to simply believe that God has already saved them (Rom 5:9-10; 2Co 5:18-19). f. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom 10:4). g. They that believe cease from their own works of trying to save themselves and enter into the rest, knowing that Christ finished the work of salvation (Heb 4:10). E. Heb 4:6-11 i. There are still children of God who need to cease from their own works and rest in Christ's completed salvation (Heb 4:6). ii. These are just like Israel of old to whom the gospel was first preached in the wilderness who entered not into rest because of their unbelief (Heb 4:6). iii. David prophesied of a rest in the future for the people of God (Psa 95:7-11 c/w Heb 4:7). iv. The land of Canaan which Joshua (Jesus is the Greek rendering of Joshua) led Israel into was only a temporary rest for Israel, and was a picture of rest in Christ's completed work (Heb 4:8). v. For the unconverted elect (Jews and Gentiles), there remains a rest in Christ for them to enter into (Heb 4:9 c/w Mat 11:28-30). vi. When they do this, they can cease from their own works of trying to save themselves (Heb 4:10 c/w Rom 10:3-4). vii. The elect need to cease from their own works and do the work of God which is believing in Christ (Joh 6:28-29), by which they will enter into rest in Christ in this life (Heb 4:11 c/w Heb 4:3). For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace