“For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10).
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that Obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Eternal salvation is inseparably linked with Christ as Captain and Author. As Captain, He is its Leader and Originator; it does not, and indeed cannot, originate with man, who needs himself to be saved, but with the Lord Who alone does the saving. Man in his weakness is unable to fulfil God’s requirement as set forth in the law. But what man could never produce through self-effort, God provides by grace. As the Author, Christ is the source; that is, He is Salvation. Simeon, in Luke 2:30, said of Him, “Mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation.”
“And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation.” Eternal salvation could only be accomplished by a perfect Saviour. John 1:1, 14 gives us a twofold revelation of His Person: “The Word was God,” His Deity; “The Word was made flesh, His humanity. In Luke 2:11, we read of His birth, “For unto you is born… a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” As to the perfection of His divine nature we need not comment. All who acknowledge His Deity also acknowledge that perfection is essential to Deity.
However, due to erroneous teachings of some cults concerning the human nature of Christ, a few words on this subject may be in order. We, in contrast to Christ, came into the world with a fallen human nature, which was obtained as an inheritance from our first father, Adam. Because man thereby has sin within him, he has an inward response to temptation and a tendency to commit sin. As a result, the natural man becomes a sinner by choice and by practice.
Some say that man is inherently good and, if allowed freedom of expression, this good will be fully manifested. The opposite is true. Man is inherently sinful and, if allowed freedom of expression, his evll nature will soon be manifested. The prohibitive expression, “Thou shalt not,” predominates in the ten commandments, showing that God takes into account man’s tendency to do the very things that he should not do. From childhood man has to be taught to do right, but no one has to teach him to do wrong, because that comes naturally.
None of these things were true of our Lord Jesus Christ. The perfection of His human nature was as intrinsic as the perfection of His divine nature. He alone could rightly say, “The prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in Me.” That is, he found in Him no sin; Therefore, there existed no inward tendency to sin when tempted. John says, “In Him is no sin.” Peter says, “Who did no sin.” These words reveal the inward and outward perfections of the true Holy One of God.
Some one may say: “The Scripture says, ‘Yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation.” What does this means? In what sense did He learn obedience, and in what sense was He made perfect?”
An answer is found in Philippians 2:6-8, “Who being in the form of God.” This expresses the very essence of Deity, and emphasizes, not what He became, but rather what He was, for it reads, “Who being”; that is, Christ always was, now is, and always will be. Then He became what He never before had been; “Took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.” This shows His humanity and His humility. As a man He was God’s righteous Servant, and took as such a place of subjection to, and dependence upon, God the Father. “He humbled Himself, and became obedient.” The One Who in the eternal past was co-equal with the Father, as a servant became obedient to the Father. This path of obedience was a pathway of suffering, even to the extent of death. Thus He learned obedience; that is, by experience He learned what it was to be in subjection, or obedient to another. It does not mean that He, like we, had to learn through suffering to become obedient. He suffered in obedience, and because of His obedience to God.
Finally, it was as the Captain of our salvation that He was made perfect through sufferings. The perfection of His person, though essential to His becoming an acceptable sacrifice, could never of itself save a sinner. Notice that He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Death had no claim upon this perfect One. Like the Hebrew servant of Exodus 21:2-5, He could have gone out free for nothing. He was not obligated to stay in this scene of sin and degradation, nor was He required to go out by way of death. He could have returned to Heaven at any chosen time. But if He had not gone by the way of the cross, He never could have presented to Himself a glorious church. In the ages to come, there would be no redeemed to show the exceeding riches of His grace, and no Bride to sing His praises or to display His glory.
Thanks be unto God, He did not go out free, for we read, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” He was perfected as Saviour by His suffering and death, thus becoming the Author of eternal salvation. In so doing, this blessed Servant plainly has said, “I love My Master (God the Father), My wife (the Church as a whole), and My children (individual believers); I will not go out free.” As a result, He will present unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, and will say in that day, “Behold, I and the children which God hath given Me.” Just as the Hebrew servant, for the rest of his life, bore the mark of the wound made by the awl, so our Lord Jesus Christ will bear the marks of Calvary, as eternal reminders of His great love.
Notice, also, that it says of the Hebrew servant, “He shall serve Him forever.” Even so, in 1 Corinthians 15:28, we read, “When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also be subject unto Him that hath put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” Here, as we tread on sacred ground with unshod feet, words fail us. With heads bowed in reverential awe we worship and adore Him. The curtain is partly drawn aside so that we may learn a little of the meaning of His words when He said of Himself, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.” Praise His holy Name! Soon we shall see Him face to face and then we shall know, even as we are known. In the meantime we would exclaim even as Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).