The Plan of Salvation (3)

According to Hebrews 2:10-13 the work that the Father gave to Jesus to accomplish was that of bringing many sons to glory (cf. John 4:34; 5:36; 6:38; 10:11,15,17f.,37; 17:4). In order to do this Jesus himself had to be made perfect. What was involved?

1. We must understand that our perfect Creator is both immortal (1 Tim. 6:16) and incorruptible (Rom. 1:23; 1 Tim. 1:17). (The failure of most versions of the Bible to distinguish between incorruptibility and immortality is regrettable. See e.g. Rom. 1:23; 2:7; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2 Tim. 1:10.)

2. All human beings as creatures of God stem from the temporal earth and are flesh. As such they are mortal and corruptible by nature (Rom. 8:20; Gal. 6:8; Heb. 12:27) and need to seek glory, honour, incorruptibility and immortality by patience in well-doing (Rom. 2:7,10; 1 Pet. 1:7).

3. From the start Adam and all his posterity were promised escape from corruption to (eternal) life and glory on condition of exercising dominion (Gen. 1:26-28, cf. Ps. 8:4-6) and of keeping the commandment(s) (Gen. 2:17).

4. All failed, came short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), died (Rom. 5:12), saw corruption (Gen. 3:19; Job 10:9; Ps. 104:29; Eccl. 3:20; 12:7) and hence needed a representative rescuer or Saviour, a second Adam.

5. Jesus exercised dominion, kept the law and so met the condition of life. He was thus the first man (flesh) in history to gain eternal life or to be born again (Mt. 3:13-17; John 3:1-8).

6. As representative man and the covenant representative of all who exercised faith in him Jesus freely gave his flesh in death for sin on our account (1 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:22).

7. On his own account he was not subject to death since he had met the condition of life. So after making atonement he was necessarily raised from the dead (Acts 2:23f.) never to die again (Rom. 6:9, cf. Heb. 9:28).

8. However, since, as he had predicted (John 2:19-21; 10:17f.), he was raised as flesh (Luke 24:39, etc.), he was still corruptible. So, having finished his work, in order to gain glory (or regain his former glory, John 17:5,24) he had to ascend (John 20:17) where he was before (John 3:13; 6:62) and be transformed (cf. John 6:63).

9. Jesus thus served as the pioneer to glory of all who believed in him (Heb. 2:10; 5:9; 6:20; 9:24; 10:20; 12:2). He died to cover their sins, he was raised for their justification and he ascended as the first fruits of their resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20,23, cf. Heb. 2:9).

10. Since all human beings who know the law break it and are thereby constituted sinners, all come short of the glory of God, die and experience corruption (Rom. 3:23; 5:12). This being the case, their bodies need redemption (Rom. 8:23). When they are redeemed, they will resemble Jesus’ body of glory (Phil. 3:21). Only those at the end of history who do not die and do not undergo corruption will be glorified like Jesus at their ascension (1 Cor. 15:51,52a).

In sum, then, for man, who is by nature mortal and corruptible flesh, regeneration (life) and ascension (transformation glory) are natural necessities inherent in the purpose of God which is thwarted only by sin (1 Cor. 15:56). Only Jesus did not sin ( John 15:10; Rom. 8:3; 1 Pet. 2:22, etc.) so it was he who brought life and incorruption to light (2 Tim. 1:10) thereby paving the way to glory and victory for the rest of his brethren (1 Cor. 15:53-55,57; Rom. 8:31-39).

Truly is Jesus the hope of glory (Col. 1:27), the sole and exclusive agent of man’s attainment to the perfect image and generic likeness of the glorious immortal and incorruptible God (Heb. 1:3; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 3:21).