Hebrews 12:2 says we should be “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” This verse speaks of the “founder” of our faith as well as the “perfecter” of our faith. Hebrews 5:9-10 looks at the “foundation” of our faith; our eternal salvation. It says, “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus was perfected, not morally, but essentially at His resurrection where He took on a resurrected body and now sits next to God the Father where He can be our effectual High Priest and intercede for us with the Father.

Hebrews chapter seven is all about how much greater the priesthood of Melchizedek is than those of Aaron’s line who offered sacrifices for the people. The focus will be on the fact that Melchizedek has no beginning and no ending and that’s why Jesus was appointed as priest of that order rather than of Aaron’s order. The resurrection clarifies the eternal nature of Jesus’ role in heaven seated with the Father. The habitual practice of the “Hebrews” of offering blood sacrifices was deeply seated in their lives and it was extremely hard for them to let go of those religious practices as the basis of having their sins forgiven by God. Many of us today have been raised under strict religious regimes and have a hard time feeling at peace with God when we don’t live up to those standards. Like the Hebrews we continue with our religious rituals “just in case” Jesus is not enough. We feel guilty if we don’t perform. We feel less “saved” if we don’t observe the traditional routines. By focusing on the superiority of Jesus and the fact that He is “the source of our eternal salvation,” the writer of Hebrews is pointing out verse after verse, chapter after chapter, the full sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and intercession on our behalf.

According to Ray Brown, Jesus is the source of “eternal salvation” only to those who “obey him.” He understands “obey” to mean keeping the Law because He says that eternal salvation is achieved “…only by a lifetime of constantly renewed dedication and obedient responsiveness to all that God requires of his people.”[1] Nothing is more destructive to our peace with God than teaching like this. God calls us to perfection under the law! Paul tells us that the standard required is impossible for anyone to attain! The Gospel itself is the call that Jesus accomplished for us, what we could not do for ourselves. He was perfect and “perfected” for us all. Don’t put your faith and confidence in your strength to live up to the standards of the law! You’ll constantly fail. Instead, believe the Gospel. Jesus’ perfection is ours by faith. Pfeiffer says that the obedience referenced in this passage is “an obedience of faith.” He writes, “Jesus was obedient to the Father. Now He seeks the obedience of faith of all who would share His blessings. Faith may be regarded as the response of obedience to the preaching of the message of redemption in Christ.”[2]

[1] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: Christ above All, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 102.

[2] Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1962), 46.