Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Jesus Didn't Outsource the Work of Salvation

Over time I've discovered something very interesting about myself. Although I love to simplify things when I write, I also tend to get bogged down in detail when I read. This morning I was in Heb. 1:1-4 and noticed a really interesting word. 

Here it is. It's the one with the "men" running around inside the word. 

Here the participle poiÄ“samenos is in the middle voice. The idea is that Jesus himself -- he and no other -- made purification of sins. He did it by himself, so to speak, acting in his own interest. This key idea of "himself" is reinforced in Heb. 2:14, 9:14, 9:25, and 9:26. 

Here in 1:3, there's actually a variant reading di' heautou -- "by himself." Most modern English versions follow a Greek text that lacks those words, but the idea of "by himself" is still there in the author's use of the middle voice. This is simply another way of saying that the work of purification was done by Christ personally. He did not outsource the work to another. And even though that work was given to him by the Father, he took a keen personal interest in the work of our salvation. 

By the way, I think a case can be made for the inclusion of the disputed words "by himself" due to an error of the eye on the part of a scribe who skipped over di' heautou

Be that as it may, the idea of "by himself" would still be conveyed, as I said, by the middle voice. 

Speaking of Hebrews, I've decided to make it my book study for the next two weeks as I enjoy Spring Break. Whatever book of the Bible you're currently working your way through, I hope you're reading each and every word carefully and slowly, meditating on what God is saying to you right now through these words. How fabulous to know that we serve a God who pays that much attention to detail!