Hebrews 5:9

Monday, 15 October 2018

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, Hebrews 5:9

The words, “And having been perfected,” hearken back to verse 2:10 –

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

As noted there, this idea of making perfect does not carry the idea of being made “better,” as if there was a lack in Christ. Rather, it speaks of bringing to completion, or meeting, the goal. Christ suffered, was crucified, and died with the intent of bringing God’s plan of salvation to fruition. In His passion, man sees the very heart of God, and then is asked to willingly respond to that glorious offering. The work of Christ makes Him fully and completely suited to bring those many sons to glory.

There was no moral lack in Him, but rather there was a necessity to complete the work set before Him. As fully God, He lacks nothing; but as fully Man, He grew, learned, developed, and matured in every way that other men do. He, unlike Adam though, was fully obedient to the Father and He was found with no fault in His person. Adam was tainted by his own sin and all who follow after him have received his fallen state. However, Jesus inherited none of Adam’s sin nature – having been born of a virgin and of God.

Therefore, His test as a Man was no different than the life of Adam. By passing the test and never sinning, He prevailed and assumed the right to be the sin-bearer on behalf of all men who, by faith, move from the line of Adam to the line of Christ. His perfection was not lacking at His birth or anytime in His development, but rather “made perfect” is alluding to the state which continued to exist from His birth even to His death.

As an example, think of a tree waiting to be used as lumber. The wood always exists in the tree, but it is complete and ready when it reaches the determined size. Jesus’ perfection of person was never lacking, but his test was complete when He had reached His goal for satisfaction of the law; He was “made perfect” at His crucifixion. As Meyer’s NT Commentary states, He was “formally and manifestly accredited by God as such.” By satisfactorily meeting all that was predetermined for Him by the Father, He prevailed over sin and death. Now all who obey Him can obtain eternal salvation through Him. We move from Adam to Jesus, never to be condemned again. This is evidenced in the words, “He became the author of eternal salvation.” Though getting ahead in the epistle, this thought is reflected in the words of verse 7:25 –

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them,”

This salvation is one of whom Christ is the Author (as is also noted in Hebrews 12:2). It is He who gave the terms of the Old Covenant to Israel. It is He who fulfilled those same words, thus annulling it in those who come to Him, and it is He who authored the terms of the New Covenant. Christ Jesus authored every step of the process in the plan in order to bring about “eternal salvation” for those who trust in Him.

To be saved “to the uttermost” is equivalent to “eternal salvation.” This term is explained by John Gill with the words, “…it was resolved upon from eternity, and contrived in it; it was secured in the everlasting covenant, in which not only a Saviour was provided, but blessings both of grace and glory: and it is to eternity; and stands distinguished from a temporal salvation, and is opposed to eternal damnation; it is the salvation of the soul, which is immortal; and it takes in both grace and glory, which are of a durable nature; and the continuance of it is owing to the abiding and lasting virtue of Christ’s person, blood, and righteousness.” Vincent’s Word Studies agrees by saying of this phrase that it is “a salvation of which all the conditions, attainments, privileges, and rewards transcend the conditions and limitations of time.”

What Christ Jesus has done is thus eternal in every aspect, and it is made available “to all who obey Him.” This idea follows immediately upon what was said in verse 5:8. As it says there, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” As Christ was obedient, now He offers this eternal salvation to all who obey Him. The way to become obedient is not through works, but it is through faith in His works. That was the point of Christ’s suffering. The words of John 6:29 explain what obedience to Him means –

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Jesus wasn’t saying, “OK, now I will fulfill the law in order to show you what works you need to do to also fulfill the law.” Rather, the gospel shows that He has fulfilled it. He has offered something new, and we are to trust in what He has done, and to rest in His accomplished works. This is obedience to Christ.

Life application: Jesus did not come to be the author of temporal or temporary salvation. Nor did He come to offer eternal insecurity to His people. Rather, He came to procure eternal salvation for them, guaranteeing them the promise of eternal life through His fully sufficient and fully effectual work. Do not believe anyone who says you can “lose your salvation” by failing to do this or that. If you have believed in the One whom God has sent, meaning Christ Jesus, you are saved. Read Romans 10:9, 10, and then ask yourself if you have done what it says there. If so, you are saved – once and forever.

Lord God, how absolutely glorious is Your promise of eternal salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus! Now, by faith in Him and His work, we are eternally secure and free from condemnation. All glory, honor, and majesty belong to You, O God! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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