And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” (Hebrews 5:9, ESV)

If we are not careful with our study of this verse, we could run off the rails right into heresy.  When the author says of Christ: “being made perfect,” he did not mean that Christ was once imperfect, but his suffering on the cross made him perfect.  This would be to deny the gospel and everything that the New Testament authors wrote about Jesus. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says: “This does not mean that he was imperfect and that out of his imperfection he became perfect. There is a perfection that results from having actually suffered; it is different from the perfection that is ready to suffer.”

Jesus is now the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Again, the author does not mean that we are saved when we obey Jesus.  The message of the New Testament is that we are saved by faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.  The Bible Knowledge Commentary helps us understand: “This kind of salvation is explicitly contingent on obedience and indeed on an obedience modeled after that of Jesus who also suffered. It is thus closely related to the saying of the Lord in which He declared, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:34–35).”

Obedience is the evidence of salvation. The New Testament authors speak with one voice that our goal as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling is to be obedient to Christ so that we might please him in all things and thereby persevere in our faith so as to receive eternal salvation, always remembering that it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phil 2.13)

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