14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
14. Quando igitur pueri carni et sanguini communicant, ipse quoque similiter eorundem fuit particeps, ut per mortem aboleret eum qui habebat mortis imperium, hoc est, diabolum;
15. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
15. Et redimeret quicunque metu mortis per totam vitam obnoxii erant servituti.
14. Forasmuch then as the children, etc., or, since then the children, etc. This is an inference from the foregoing; and at the same time a fuller reason is given than what has been hitherto stated, why it behooved the Son of God to put on our flesh, even that he might partake of the same nature with us, and that by undergoing death he might redeem us from it.
The passage deserves especial notice, for it not only confirms the reality of the human nature of Christ, but also shows the benefit which thence flows to us. |The Son of God,| he says, |became man, that he might partake of the same condition and nature with us.| What could be said more fitted to confirm our faith? Here his infinite love towards us appears; but its overflowing appears in this -- that he put on our nature that he might thus make himself capable of dying, for as God he could not undergo death. And though he refers but briefly to the benefits of his death, yet there is in this brevity of words a singularly striking and powerful representation, and that is, that he has so delivered us from the tyranny of the devil, that we are rendered safe, and that he has so redeemed us from death, that it is no longer to be dreaded.
But as all the words are important, they must be examined a little more carefully. First, the destruction of the devil, of which he speaks, imports this -- that he cannot prevail against us. For though the devil still lives, and constantly attempts our ruin, yet all his power to hurt us is destroyed or restrained. It is a great consolation to know that we have to do with an enemy who cannot prevail against us. That what is here said has been said with regard to us, we may gather from the next clause, that he might destroy him that had the power of death; for the apostle intimates that the devil was so far destroyed as he has power to reign to our ruin; for |the power of death| is ascribed to him from the effect, because it is destructive and brings death. He then teaches us not only that the tyranny of Satan was abolished by Christ's death, but also that he himself was so laid prostrate, that no more account is to be made of him than as though he were not. He speaks of the devil according to the usual practice of Scripture, in the singular number, not because there is but one, but because they all form one community which cannot be supposed to be without a head.
15. And deliver them who, etc. This passage expresses in a striking manner how miserable is the life of those who fear death, as they must feel it to be dreadful, because they look on it apart from Christ; for then nothing but a curse appears in it: for whence is death but from God's wrath against sin? Hence is that bondage throughout life, even perpetual anxiety, by which unhappy souls are tormented; for through a consciousness of sin the judgment of God is ever presented to the view. From this fear Christ has delivered us, who by undergoing our curse has taken away what is dreadful in death. For though we are not now freed from death, yet in life and in death we have peace and safety, when we have Christ going before us.
But it any one cannot pacify his mind by disregarding death, let him know that he has made as yet but very little proficiency in the faith of Christ; for as extreme fear is owing to ignorance as to the grace of Christ, so it is a certain evidence of unbelief.
Death here does not only mean the separation of the soul from the body, but also the punishment which is inflicted on us by an angry God, so that it includes eternal ruin; for where there is guilt before God, there immediately hell shows itself.