Becoming Perfect through Obedience


“Though he [Jesus] 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, KJV).

As the eternal Son of God, Jesus didn’t need to ‘learn’ anything. But upon taking on flesh as a man, He had to learn many things – the most important of which was obedience. Jesus learned obedience, not for His own sake, but for our sake – to show us how to become blameless (perfect) in our walk with God. God has not changedwe have. From the beginning, God’s purpose has been for His children to be blameless in character. God, for example, said to Abram (later, Abraham): “I am the Almighty God; walk before meand be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Jesus demonstrated to us the way of perfection. If we walk in His steps – through obedience – we shall be like Him.

Today’s Scripture passage says Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Jesus was not exempt from suffering. Neither are weObeying God is very rewarding, but it comes with a price. To obey God, you need to endure suffering and give up certain pleasures, habits, desires, attitudes, relationships, conversations, lifestyle, social settings, and even certain religious views and practices which are contrary to God’s Word.

Notice that Jesus learned obedience, not by the miracles he performed, but by the things He suffered. He learned obedience the hard way: the temptations He endured, the opposition to His message, the threats from people, the persecution and hate, the pain of seeing loved ones suffer, the limitations of the human condition, etc. On the Cross, Jesus reached the height of obedience and perfection when He made the ultimate sacrifice – to redeem us.

The Bible continues by stating that Jesus became the author (i.e. the source or the cause) of eternal salvation for those who obey Him. Notice that there is a specific group of people for whom Jesus becomes the author of salvation: those who obey Jesus. In the original New Testament Greek, the word “obey” in this passage is rendered in the present tense and in the active voice. The implication is, Jesus is the cause of eternal salvation for those who currently (actively) obey Him, not those who obeyed in the past but have since stopped obeying Jesus.

Ongoing obedience to Jesus ensures, therefore, that we are connected to the source of eternal salvation. It further ensures that we grow in perfection: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). If you obey Jesus, it means you are abiding in Him. And if you are abiding in Him, you will manifest the Jesus-life.

Without obedience, there is no perfection. And there is no obedience without some measure of suffering. In Christ, and by the power of His Holy Spirit in us, we can walk in obedience like Jesus and become God’s blameless children in this world (cf. Philippians 2:14-15).

May the Lord bless you and keep you from all danger today. Amen.

For further study: Philippians 2:5-16

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