The Path to Perfection

In God’s wisdom, perfection comes through sufferings. How can we say that Jesus had to be made perfect? Was He not already sinless? Yes, of course. “He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). From eternity, He has been “holy, harmless, undefiled.” (Hebrews 7:26) Otherwise, He could not have become our High Priest. What, then, did Jesus lack in order to become “perfect”? He needed to learn “obedience through suffering.” (Hebrews 5:8) In general, we prefer to sin rather than to suffer. We seek gain, not loss; comfort, not pain; “life,” not “death.” When we are tempted, we tend to give in, instead of resisting to the point of shedding blood in our struggle against sin. (Hebrews 12:4) All too often, we do not “put to death the [evil] deeds of the body” so that we may gain eternal life. On the contrary, we entangle ourselves in sin that leads to everlasting death. (Romans 6:33; 8:13) Peter denied his Lord three times to escape trouble. Meanwhile, Jesus walked into the lions’ den and allowed Himself to be devoured by wicked men. He had already gained the victory over selfishness in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed, “Your will be done!” (Matthew 26:42) Knowing that it was God’s plan for Him to endure hatred, torture, death, and the wrath of God so that He could “destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Jesus chose to obey. Before taking on human flesh, the eternal Son of God did not know that sort of obedience, for He had never been tempted. To save us, He submitted to temptation. Unlike us, He refused to give in. He chose suffering over sin. In that way, He became the “complete” – the perfect – Man. Are you suffering? Perhaps God wants you to learn the same sort of obedience. Don’t surrender to self-pity, or envy, or anger, or despair. “Rejoice in the Lord always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)