Hebrews 2:10-18 

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.  Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.   He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;  in the assembly I will sing your praises.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”


The “One who makes men holy” is Jesus Christ, and “those who are made holy” are those who, in him, are redeemed from sin’s guilt and power and set apart as God’s people. Our holiness comes through faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22 states, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

What does it mean to be made holy?

We are, the instant we believe, made holy through Jesus. In Christ, the Father sees Jesus’ holiness, not our own. We are also undergoing a process of being made holy which is called sanctification. Sanctification is a life-long process for the believer. To be sanctified means to be separated unto God. Sanctification is the process of God “bringing many sons to glory” (v.10). God is in the business of transforming his children into his likeness. F.F. Bruce states, “Sanctification is glory begun, and glory is sanctification completed.”

Another word for sanctification is “consecration.” A visual of this process will help us understand what it means in our own lives to be holy and consecrated. In the Old Testament, God gave Moses instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, God’s dwelling place among his people. The tabernacle and all of the items in the tabernacle were to be consecrated unto the Lord. That means, they were to be set apart as instruments for serving the Lord (Exodus 29:44-45). Everything in the tabernacle, down to the utensils, was to be a reflection of the glory of God.

Once the Israelites had seen how God consecrated his dwelling place and all that was in it as set apart unto him, he then tells them in Lev. 20:7, “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.” From the very beginning this was his purpose. From the moment he rescued them, he said to them, “You will be for me a kingdom of priests, a HOLY nation” (Exodus 19:6).

Sanctification or holiness was God’s will for the Israelites in the Old Testament. They were to live holy or sanctified lives, separated from the lifestyles of the nations around them. When God brought the Israelites into the desert, he did so to consecrate them, to make them holy; which means he brought them out into the desert to set them apart as a unique people unto himself. In the New Testament, Peter calls all those who believe (both Jew and Gentile) as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” (1 Peter 2:9). Clearly it is still God’s will for his people today to be set apart unto him.

How are we to be holy?

If the command then was to BE holy as God is holy, how could this be accomplished? The Israelites could no more make themselves holy than we can. We can do nothing in our own strength to clean ourselves up and present ourselves worthy before the Lord. We need someone to make us holy.

Hebrews 2:10 states that Jesus is the “pioneer” of salvation. The Greek word for pioneer is “archegos” and means “head” or “chief.” It can also mean “founder” or “originator.” Jesus is the pioneer of salvation so that others may enter into it. He begins a family that others may be born into, he founded a city that others may some day dwell in, he is the author of blessings into which others may also enter. An “archegos” is one who blazes a trail so that others may follow. Jesus has blazed a trail to God for us to follow (Barclay, 26).

Through his suffering, Jesus was fully able to be the pioneer for our salvation and thus, our holiness. Why must it be through suffering?

  1. Through suffering, Jesus was really identified with men. If Jesus had come in a form different than a man and unable to suffer what we suffer, he would have been different from us an no Savior. When the Greeks thought of their gods, they were always detached from and never like those who served them. “The basis of the Greek idea of God was detachment; the basis of the Christian idea is identity. Jesus Christ identified himself with man” (Barclay, 27).
  2. Through suffering, Jesus Christ sympathizes with man. He feels with us. We cannot understand another person’s sorrow and pain unless we have experienced it too. Before we can have sympathy, we must go through what another person has gone through. That is what Jesus did. Because he sympathizes he can REALLY help. He has met our sorrows; he has faced our temptations. As a result, he knows exactly what help we need; and he can give it.

The Path of Holiness

We achieve holiness then by faith in the One who has made it possible for us, by believing and by being identified with Christ in his suffering, death and resurrection. When we give our lives to Christ, we die to our flesh. We place ourselves on the altar. Just as Jesus gave his life, we surrender our lives too. It’s a process of daily laying down our lives in obedience to follow him.

How do we walk this path? Daily surrender and keeping our eyes on Jesus. If he is the One who has given me his righteousness, I must stop looking at me, and keep gazing at him. We become like the One we behold. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, and make him the center of our lives, he will be the One to transform us through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Just as the clay cannot mold itself, just as the patient cannot operate on himself, and just as the tree cannot prune itself, so we cannot make ourselves holy. We must lay ourselves on the altar and then he must be the One to do it.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the greatest holiness. The more we behold him, the more we wait on him, abide in him and keep ourselves in his love, the more he will be the One to transform us and keep us there.


To the degree that we accept Jesus’ holiness and righteousness is the degree we can accept God’s love for us. Many struggle to “feel” that God loves them or accepts them, but when you realize that God’s love and acceptance are not based on anything you have done, you can “know” beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does accept you and love you based on what Jesus has done for you. There is nothing in us that cannot be redeemed. His goal is to redeem all of his creation in order that we might reflect his glory, his holiness.

Just as Jesus suffered, we will suffer too. God uses suffering in our lives to accomplish his purpose of consecration in us. Through suffering, we are refined, sanctified and transformed more into the image of our Maker Like the Israelites, we will walk through our own desert seasons. We wonder what God is doing and if he’s left us, but he uses those wilderness seasons for this exact reason: to consecrate us and make us his.

When the Israelite placed the offering on the altar, God took it. It would be unheard of for an Israelite to try and take the offering back. Once it was released, it became God’s. It was then consecrated, set apart. Once we surrender our lives to Jesus, we must in faith, believe that God accepts us, takes us completely as his, and then we must keep ourselves there. Many Christians have a wavering experience with God because they doubt that God has actually accepted them or that they are his. Trust that when you place yourself on the altar, you become completely his. In Jesus, you are a holy vessel, consecrated, and set apart unto the Lord to reflect his glory.

Barclay, William, trans. The Letter to the Hebrews. Rev. ed. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976