And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,Hebrews 5:9(NASB)
Jesus had a unique relationship with His heavenly Father for He was the eternal Son Who became a Member of the human race, but He also had a unique relationship with humanity for He was fully Man and yet fully God. This hypostatic union of eternal deity with perfect humanity is found in one Person alone - the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became the Head of a new creation and the Author of eternal salvation to all who believe on His name.
Christ was not born with a sin nature like the rest of humanity and although fully God, and having all the divine attributes of the Godhead.. He had to learn obedience by the things that He suffered. And so we discover in this verse that Christ was not only perfect but also made perfect. He was perfected through the things that He suffered. Jesus was made perfect.. and having been made perfect He became the source of eternal life to all who believe on His name.
Having to be perfected did not refer to any personal improvement for He was already perfect in word and deed; action and attitude - mind and motive. It was not His essential attributes that required improvement for He was flawless. The Lord Jesus had to be perfected in His office as the Messiah of Israel.. and Saviour of the world.
Although fully God He had to learn how to live as a man, under the guidance and direction of God, so that He could fulfil the will of His Father. He had to acquire a full understanding of manhood and the human condition if He were to identify with men and become humanities substitute for sin. And so He laid aside His glory and lived His life as God expects all men to live - in total obedience to the guidance of God - not relying on Himself but learning obedience.. through the things that he experienced in His manhood. It was through His incarnation; obedient life; humiliation and suffering that He was made perfect. Jesus was perfected by the things that He suffered - so that by means of His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection He could become our perfect Saviour.
Multiple passages tell us that salvation is by grace through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but here we read that He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey. But how we ask, is this apparent contradiction reconciled? Is eternal salvation conditional on faith or on obedience?
In Romans 1:5 we discover that the obedience that God requires of man is faith - faith in His Word. We read that the 'obedience of faith' is brought about by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Paul was appointed by God: to bring about obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake. And Paul concludes His Roman epistle with these words: Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested.. and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to the obedience of faith; To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
Heavenly Father, thank You that the eternal Son of God set aside His glory to become part of humanity and to live in humble circumstances on my account. Thank You that He was willing to be perfected by the things that He suffered so that by grace through faith in Him He would become my Saviour. May I live in humble obedience to His will - Who is the Source of eternal life and the Author and Finisher of my faith - in Whose name I pray, AMEN.