ArticlesPoetry May 26, 2015 Jesus was made Perfect
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author, thinkheaven.com

Be­cause Je­sus is ful­ly God and ful­ly man, it be­comes con­fus­ing to talk about Him be­ing made per­fect. Yet, un­less we be­lieve that He is ful­ly God and ful­ly man, we can­not be Chris­tians.

Be­ing Made Per­fect

Let’s con­tin­ue the sec­ond part of the He­brews verse from the pre­vi­ous post He­brews 5:8-9. Verse 9 can be just as con­fus­ing as verse 8. How is Je­sus be­ing made per­fect? Isn’t He al­ready per­fect? 1 Pe­ter 2:22, He­brews 4:15, 1 John 3:5. The key word caus­ing con­fu­sion there is “be­ing”. It is easy to un­der­stand (maybe) that Je­sus was al­ready per­fect. Af­ter all, He is God. But this “be­ing” means that He some­how be­came more per­fect?? So how can Some­one in whom there was no im­per­fec­tion un­der­go a process where by He was made per­fect? Philip­pi­ans 2:7-8 uses this same word “be­ing” and this is word is our point of de­par­ture from every­thing.

About Time

Brace your­selves for a very brief ex­am­i­na­tion of Bib­li­cal time. There are two modes of time in the Bible. The first is tem­po­ral/earth time. This is what we are used to: past, present, fu­ture. I ate, I eat and I will eat. If you know a lit­tle physics, then you will un­der­stand that this tem­po­ral time is cou­pled with what we call space. Time and space are in­sep­a­ra­ble in this world that He has made.

There is how­ev­er an­oth­er sense of time in the Bible. You could think about it as Holy time. It’s not time the way we’re used to it. Holy time has no past or fu­ture. In­stead, in Holy Time all things are in the present. An­oth­er name for this Holy Time is Eter­ni­ty. Eter­ni­ty is what was be­fore “In the be­gin­ning” in Gen­e­sis 1:1 and Eter­ni­ty is what is af­ter “Amen” in Rev­e­la­tions 22:21. We tend to think of Eter­ni­ty as a ver­sion of our tem­po­ral time that goes on for­ev­er and for­ev­er. But this isn’t so. Go­ing on for­ev­er and for­ev­er is what we call “in­fin­i­ty”. In­fin­i­ty is not Eter­ni­ty. Eter­ni­ty is a dif­fer­ent thing all to­geth­er. A in­fi­nite num­ber of ap­ples will nev­er pro­duce one grape. So also, an in­fi­nite amount of tem­po­ral time will nev­er pro­duce Eter­ni­ty.

The words we have in any lan­guage can­not quite de­scribe Eter­ni­ty. The Bible de­fines Eter­ni­ty through com­par­i­son and jux­ta­po­si­tion. Con­sid­er what John writes about Je­sus and His ser­vants in Rev­e­la­tions 13:8. De­pend­ing on the trans­la­tion you use you will ei­ther see one of two things: ei­ther those who are saved were saved from be­fore the world be­gan or you will see Je­sus de­scribed as slain from be­fore the world be­gan. Ei­ther one blows the mind. God is Named The An­cient of Days Daniel 7:9 and fur­ther de­scribed as the first and the last Isa­iah 44:6 or as One who is from ever­last­ing to ever­last­ing Psalms 90:2. For Him, a thou­sand years are like a day and a day like a thou­sand years 2 Pe­ter 3:8. These de­scrip­tions tell us that ideas about tem­po­ral time can­not be ap­plied to God and Eter­ni­ty. Time for Him is just an­oth­er mea­sure­ment tool. God IS. There’s no was and there is no will be in Him. He IS. So also in Eter­ni­ty, there is no fu­ture and there is no past. There is no his­to­ry. All is present in Eter­ni­ty.

In Phil 2:6-7,9-11 we are speak­ing most­ly in the past tense to de­scribe how things ARE in Eter­ni­ty. These things are fixed, im­mov­able and ARE. But verse 7 through 8 in Phil 2:7-8 de­scribe Je­sus Christ in his­to­ry. He ac­quired a past, present and fu­ture be­cause He en­tered into tem­po­ral time with all of us. So the process of per­fec­tion that Je­sus went through was not de­scrib­ing how He IS in Eter­ni­ty. This be­ing made per­fect oc­curred in time and space. Note the pro­gres­sion in time in vers­es 7-8. He went from hu­mil­i­ty through obe­di­ence all the way to death even death on the cross. He marched in time. But the vers­es sur­round­ing 7-8 say noth­ing about Christ in time. No in­stead they speak of His State and Po­si­tion in Eter­ni­ty be­yond time. Now take a deep breath be­cause we’re about to go in a lit­tle deep­er.

The Build­ing Block Of Faith

Every­thing we just talked about in the pre­vi­ous sec­tion may seem con­fus­ing and dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand. In fact, if you have read the ar­ti­cles in the blog sec­tion, you may have be­gun to guess that Chris­tian­i­ty is a re­li­gion of para­dox. The truths of Chris­tian­i­ty are ei­ther fool­ish­ness to un­be­lief or para­dox when you do be­lieve. Amidst all these state­ments the Bible makes like “Je­sus learned obe­di­ence” or “be­ing made per­fect, Je­sus...“, it can be dif­fi­cult to keep straight the things you have to be­lieve as a Chris­t­ian. It sure would be nice if you could dis­till and con­cen­trate all of Chris­t­ian be­lief into one state­ment, into one fun­da­men­tal para­dox. So let us go ahead and do this.

Let us sup­pose you had a friend who told you to ex­press what it means to be a Chris­t­ian in as few words as pos­si­ble. Maybe even one sen­tence. What is the one thing you must be­lieve to help you be a prac­ti­cal Chris­t­ian? You may come up with many an­swers. My an­swer would be this: Be­lieve that Je­sus Christ is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man. Ah but that is my an­swer and well also the an­swer I learned from Kierkegaard (see Train­ing in Chris­tian­i­ty). But what does the Bible say? Let us look at what John says in 2 John 1:7. John says here that all de­ceit­ful preach­ing can be summed up by say­ing that Je­sus [The Fa­ther’s Son 2 John 1:3] did not come in the flesh. John, the apos­tle, is say­ing that you can know that some­one is preach­ing the truth if their preach­ing re­veals that Je­sus is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man. This truth that Je­sus is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man is the the fun­da­men­tal truth every Chris­t­ian must abide in. John calls it The Doc­trine of Christ 2 John 1:9.

He fur­ther warns that you have to be care­ful to con­tin­ue to abide and in this truth or you will eas­i­ly lose your faith 2 John 1:8. What does John mean by “abide”? He means that you have to make this truth your house. Make this truth of the full hu­man­i­ty and full God­hood of Je­sus your home. If you do not ac­tive­ly be­lieve in the full God­hood and full hu­man­i­ty of Je­sus Christ, then any­thing else you be­lieve about Je­sus will be in­com­plete and weak. You will not know the One you claim to be­lieve in. As John lat­er says in 2 John 1:9, only the one who abides in the doc­trine of Christ (from the Greek)has/pos­sess­es/is joined to both the Fa­ther and the Son. Re­mem­ber our de­f­i­n­i­tion of be­ing a Chris­t­ian: A Chris­t­ian is some­one who is in com­mu­ni­ty with God, Je­sus and the Holy Spir­it. Well, it is im­pos­si­ble to be in com­mu­ni­ty with God and Je­sus, if you are not joined to God and Je­sus. John says that you can only be joined to both God and Je­sus, if and only if you abide in the truth that Je­sus is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man. There­fore, un­less your fun­da­men­tal truth is that Je­sus is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man, you can­not be a Chris­t­ian.

In Prac­tice...

It is be­cause of this fun­da­men­tal para­dox of Chris­tian­i­ty that we have state­ments like “Je­sus learned obe­di­ence” or “be­ing made per­fect, Je­sus...“. It is be­cause He is both ful­ly God and ful­ly man that these state­ments are even pos­si­ble. It is noth­ing to say that a man or a woman learned obe­di­ence or was made per­fect. But to say that God! learned obe­di­ence?! That makes no sense. It is fool­ish­ness for un­be­lief but a para­dox, the build­ing block of faith, to those who be­lieve 1 Cor 1:18.

It is the full hu­man­i­ty of Je­sus that al­lowed Him to die but be­cause He was ful­ly God, He rose on East­er Sun­day. The full hu­man­i­ty of Je­sus al­lowed His sac­ri­fice on the cross to be for all men and women. If He was only God, not only could He not have died, His sac­ri­fice could not have been for me be­cause He is not like me. It is be­cause of His full hu­man­i­ty that He could speak to me on my lev­el. Yet be­cause He is ful­ly God, His Word is not a sug­ges­tion but a Com­mand. So all this talk about Je­sus be­ing only a great teacher goes out the win­dow. He is God so He doesn’t just teach, He Com­mands. As a full hu­man be­ing, He is my High Priest who knows what it is to suf­fer like we do but as God He is my King and Lord who can still tell me what to do.

This brings us back to the whole of He­brews 5:8-9. Verse 9 con­cludes that Je­sus be­came a source of sal­va­tion to all who obey Him. He is only this source of sal­va­tion by be­ing made per­fect. We’ll talk more about this next. Con­sid­er the fol­low­ing though. If Je­sus was not ful­ly hu­man, He could not have been made per­fect and there­fore, could not have be­come the source of eter­nal sal­va­tion. Yet, if He was not God, He could not be obeyed into eter­nal sal­va­tion. You can obey any­one into a tem­po­ral sal­va­tion. But only those who be­come obe­di­ent to God, are eter­nal­ly saved Matthew 7:21. (See the two pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles on obe­di­ence.)

If you are a Chris­t­ian, lay out every­thing you be­lieve about Je­sus and weigh them against the truth of His full God­hood and full hu­man­i­ty. You will see that un­less you be­lieve what John says, all your oth­er be­liefs grow weak­er and then maybe cease to ex­ist.

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