Christ made Perfect through Suffering.
'It became Him to make the Leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings.'—Heb. ii. 10.
'Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and having been perfected, He became, unto all them that obey Him, the Author of eternal salvation.'—Heb. V. 8, 9.
'But the word of the oath appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore.'—Heb. vii. 28.
WE have here three passages in which we are taught that Jesus Christ Himself, though He were the Son of God, had to be perfected. The first tells us that it was as the Leader of our salvation that He was perfected; that it was God's work to perfect Him; that there was a need-be for it; 'it became God' to do it; and that it was through suffering the work was accomplished. The second, that the power of suffering to perfect was, that in it He learned obedience to God's will; and that, being thus perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. The third, that it is as the Son perfected for evermore that He is appointed High Priest in the heavens.
The words open to us the inmost secret of Christian perfection. The Christian has no other perfection than the perfection of Christ. The deeper his insight into the character of his Lord, as having been made perfect by being brought into perfect union with God's will through suffering and obedience, the more clearly will he apprehend wherein that redemption which Christ came to bring really consists, and what the path to its full enjoyment.
In Christ there was nothing of sinful defect or shortcoming. He was from His birth the perfect One. And yet He needed to be perfected. There was that in His human nature which needed to grow, to be strengthened and developed, and which could only thus be perfected. He had to follow on, as, step by step, the will of God opened up to Him, and in the midst of temptation and suffering to learn and prove what it was at any cost to do that will alone. It is this Christ who is our Leader and Forerunner, our High Priest and Eedeemer. And it is as this pefection of His, this being made perfect through obedience to God's will, is revealed to us, that we shall know fully what the redemption is He brings.
We learn to take Him as our example. Like Him we say, 'I am come, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me.' Wo accept the will of God as the one thing we have to live for and to live in. In every circumstance and trial we see and bow to the will of God. We meet every providential appointment, in every ordinary duty of daily life, as God's will. We pray to be filled with the knowledge of His will, that we may enter into it in its fulness, that we may stand complete in all the will of God. Whether we suffer or obey God's will, we sock to be perfected as the Master was.
We not only take Christ as our example and law in the path of perfection, but as the promise and pledge of what we are to be. All that Christ was and did as Substitute, Kepresentative, Head and Saviour, is for us. All He does is in the power of the endless life. This perfection of His is the perfection of His life, His way of living; this life of His, perfected in obedience, is now ours. He gives us His own Spirit to breathe, to work it in us. He is the Vine; we are the branches; the very mind and disposition that was in Him on earth is communicated to us.
Yea, more; it is not only Christ in heaven who imparts to us somewhat of His Spirit; Christ Himself comes to dwell in our heart: the Christ who was made perfect through learning obedience. It is in this character that He reigns in heaven: 'He became obedient unto death; therefore God highly exalted Him.' It is in this character that He dwells and rules in the heart. The real character, the essential attribute of the life Christ lived on earth, and which He maintains in us, is this: a will perfect with God, and ready at any cost to be perfected in all His will. It is this character He imparts to His own: the perfection with which He was perfected in learning obedience. As those who are perfect in Christ, who are perfect of heart towards God, and are pressing on to be made perfect, let us live in the will of God, our one desire to be even as He was, to do God's will, tq stand perfect in all the will of God.