Salvation To Those That Obey Him
We can see it at every level of society. There is a tremendous lack of respect for authority today, and this has led to a weaker, less secure society. Lawmakers, in many cases, have failed their constituents in Washington, abused their offices and flaunted their authority. The frailties of every recent president have been placed under a microscope. Kids talk back to parents, and while some kids have always done so, today it is often with new levels of venom and resentment. Teachers at some schools fear for their lives. Police departments in many places are looked upon as corrupt. Many Catholics dismiss papal pronouncements as unimportant if they do not agree with them.
In fact, many politicians do not deserve a whole lot of respect; and many judges are corrupt; and there are crooked law enforcement personnel; and many religious leaders do not deserve admiration. But what has happened to our society is an open rebellion against almost all rules and regulations, moral and otherwise. Anarchy and lawlessness will not make our nation better. And when it comes to the Scripture this rebellion against law is also seen, as many today dismiss the teachings of
the Bible with the same ease as they cheat on their taxes, or on an exam, or lie on their job application. Most who do not cheat say they do not because they are afraid that they might get caught. Only a small minority say they do not cheat because it is dishonest or immoral.
And as we have lowered our standards of conduct, we think God has lowered His as well. Society suggests that God doesn't really care if we lie a little, cheat a little and steal a little. It is unnecessary to obey God, one must only believe in Him to be saved, they insist. But let us turn our attention to salvation in our high priest, Jesus Christ, and what the Bible says about it.
"So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He said to Him, 'Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee'; just as He says in another passage, 'Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.' In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:5-10).
Jesus Was Appointed To His Office By God
"So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He said to Him, 'Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee'; just as He says in another passage, 'Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek'...being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:5,6,10). Jesus has all authority because God gave it to Him. Following Jesus' resurrection, He makes the grand announcement concerning this, with the added
admonition to teach "them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:18-20). When we reject the authority of Jesus' covenant by refusing to obey it, then we are rejecting God (Luke 10:16; John 13:20). When it comes to the teachings of Jesus, we ought to be very concerned about obeying them. There quite simply is no other mediator between ourselves and God (II Timothy 2:5).
It may be fashionable today to think it a clever thing to disregard laws and get away with it. A favorite religious belief is to think that actually obeying the words of Christ is unnecessary as long as one at least believes the right things about Him. But if we treat King Jesus is such a disrespectful way we will stand before Him in judgment, and be condemned for our disobedience (John 12:48; II Thessalonians 1:8).
Jesus Experienced Life in the Flesh
"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety." (Hebrews 5:7). "The days of His flesh" refers to the time Jesus walked on earth. As the eternal Son of God, His days did not begin with His conception. He has existed from eternity (John 1:1-3; 8:56-9). It was because of His unselfish love that God became man. Though He had existed in the form of God, He did not hold on to His equality with God. Instead, He emptied Himself by becoming a man (Philippians 2:4-7).
But the incarnation of the Son did not mean He ceased to be God, but only that He also became man. Thomas came to understand this (John 20:28) as did the writer of the Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 1:5-12). It was an entirely appropriate thing to do to fall down and worship Jesus when He walked on earth because He was and is still Deity (Matthew 28:9,10).
There are things that Jesus experienced as a man that as God in heaven He had never experienced. For this reason, the Bible speaks of Him "becoming poor" when it tells of His leaving heaven and coming to earth (II Corinthians 8:9). In His body of flesh, Jesus suffered temptation, exhaustion, tears, pain and ultimately death. But one thing He did not experience was personal sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16).
It seems as if the Hebrew writer specifically is mindful of the scene in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). The Father could and did save Jesus from death; not from dying but from the bonds of death. Jesus was saved "out of" death by the Father (Acts 2:25-28; 31-32).
Jesus Learned Obedience
"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus learned by experience. When He suffered in Gethsemane and later on Calvary's hill, He experienced something completely foreign to His experiences in heaven, for there is no pain, tears or death there. Of course, being omniscient, Jesus had always known what pain and death was, but had not experienced it until He became a man and suffered.
The Bible says, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8). Because of Jesus' experiences in the flesh, and because of His obedience, we are assured that He understands, and we have a perfect example to follow as we live by faith (Matthew 11:28-39; Hebrews 12:2; I Peter 2:21-23).
Jesus Became The Source of Salvation to Those That Obey
"And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation..." (Hebrews 5:9). The word "perfect" here means "complete". Jesus became perfectly able to function as our high priest by becoming like us. Old Testament priests had to meet certain qualifications to become consecrated as priests. Jesus completely fulfilled all the qualifications of the priesthood, not according to the Levitical qualifications, but rather "according to the order of Melchizedek".
Thus, Jesus became the "source of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him." We must respect the authority of Christ by obeying His word, else He is not the source of our salvation. Enough of this sinful and rebellious attitude that obedience isn't necessary to be saved. It is necessary if we are to be saved by Jesus, and there is no other who can do the job (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
We need to follow the example of the winds and the waves in this. The Greek word for "obey" (hupakouousin) is the same one used in Matthew 8:27; "..even the winds and the sea obey Him!" When Jesus said, "Peace, be still!" the winds and waves immediately stopped. Quite simply, if we do not obey Jesus, then we cannot be saved by Him, for He is the "source of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him."
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 4.2; February 1997