A Study Of Hebrews 2:9
To believe that Jesus Christ died, or tasted death, for the entire race of Adam is very natural to the Universalists, or Arminians.
In fact such a theory is in all men’s nature; for I often find myself trying to ride the “do better horse,” but he invariably throws me. If I possess a new nature, the Lord created it in me in 1883; and since, if I have one vestige of Arminianism respecting the Saviour’s death and atonement in the renewed mind, I have not discovered it.
To taste death, or to die, for any other than His elect, inspiration has failed to record it. Most assuredly if there had been one Scripture that said that He died for all the race of Adam, it would have been repeated so often from certain pulpits and press that all who read the Scripture would know of it. Now that it is only a vain supposition, such Scriptures as “tasted death for every man,” is boosted.
Luke says, “The law and the prophets were unto John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
Who is there that thinks that this means the entire race of men?
The natural man who cannot discern spiritual things, and cannot rightly divide the word of truth may think “every man” means all mankind.
Now, that Saul of Tarsus was an educated man, and converted from law-error to Gospel
truth, he could speak comfortingly and understandingly to the Hebrews, who had been made to believe in Jesus as the only Saviour of sinners. Thus he addressed them:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)
The proportional faith couched in the context is a chain of divine truth, including every line of salvation purchased by Christ’s death and atonement. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” – for His tasting the death of His Son for His chosen ones, not by His obedience, resurrection, life, or intercession, but by His death. This tasting of death was not in order to give any rain and sunshine, bread and meat, or any temporal blessings. But for thus suffering, tasting death, the Father rewarded Him for thus redeeming the
purchased possession. (Philippians 2:8-9)
Hence, all for whom He tasted death are reconciled to God by His Son’s death and atonement; and thereby all, “every man,” that Jesus by the grace of God should taste death, shall be saved from all their sins; “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.
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, saying, I will declare My name unto My brethren; in the midst of the church I will sing praises unto Thee.”
And again, “Behold, I, and the children which God hath given Me.”
With the faith of Paul and of those to whom He spake, evidently must have believed the “every man,” the “many sons,” “they who are sanctified,” “My brethren,” and “the children which God hath given Me,” embraced those who were chosen in the Son before the world out of the fallen race of Adam, just that many, no more or less. If “every man” should mean all of Adam’s posterity, so would each of those in the context.
If all would read the word of truth for instruction, they would see that only those who are called with a holy calling of Jews and Gentiles will be saved; and only those who are ordained to eternal life will ever believe in Jesus Christ. (Acts 13:48)
Even from the mouths of babes and sucklings God has ordained praise and strength. (Matt. 21:16)
It is often said by unbelievers that the Lord cannot save unless the subject will let Him.
Such have never been under the hand of God or had the sentence of death in themselves, else they would believe He doeth His will in heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand. It is by grace they are saved. Who is there that cannot see how Paul triumphantly gathers those expressions in the context, as sentinels, to prove that every one that Jesus Christ tasted death for shall be saved. As all His people are taught of the Lord, it seems strange that any should believe that some that He saved are not saved, and will never be raised to eternal glory, unless it is one who has been led to deny the gods of this world.
By M.L. Gilbert, 1938