Hebrews 5:8–9 (ESV)
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”
Christ learned obedience through all that he suffered, which resulted in him being made perfect and is, therefore, the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. The author of Hebrews does not say that Christ is a source of eternal salvation. Nor does the author say that Christ is a source of eternal salvation to anyone and everyone. What the author does say though is that Christ is the source of eternal salvation. Then he qualifies who that eternal salvation is for, viz. to all who obey Christ.
Christ’s sacrifice for sin was eternally effective because of his perfection. He was able to be the perfect representative of man by experiencing all that man experiences and yet he did not sin. He remained perfectly obedient to God. His obedience benefits sinners. Through his active obedience of living a sinless life, Christ’s death was able to remove man’s sin and guilt. His death was also the only sacrifice that could satisfy God’s wrath towards sin. In this way, Christ removed man’s sin as far as the east is from the west and he has reconciled God and man to a right relationship.
Yet, this eternal salvation will only be effective to those who obey Christ. Here is the key to saving faith. It is not enough for a person to give mental assent that there is a God. It is not enough for one to simply believe that Christ died for their sins. Even the demons believe that there is a God and they shudder (James 2:19). Believing these things must result in obedience. Saving faith is the great “therefore”. Saving faith says, “I believe that there is a God, therefore what his Word tells me to do I will do.” Saving faith says, “I believe that God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to take away my sin and satisfy God’s wrath towards me because of that sin. Therefore, I will change the way that I live to be like the obedient Savior, who learned obedience through what he suffered.”
There is a vast difference between giving mental assent to God and offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable to him, which is your spiritual worship every single day. The first type of “faith” is worthless religion, as James calls it (James 1:26). The second type of faith is faith that works. This type of saving faith is active in obedience to Christ, who is the source of eternal salvation. If you are not obedient to Christ then your faith is dead, since faith apart from works is dead (Jam. 2:26).
Do you want to be like Christ? Follow in his foot steps, because he was man’s perfect representative in his obedience. His perfection was an acceptable sacrifice for your sins and his death on the cross removes all your sin, guilt, and God’s judgment that is hanging over you for your sin.
Will your faith be faith that works? If it is it will look like the faithfulness of Christ, who was obedient unto death.
“There is something appropriate in the fact that the salvation which was procured by the obedience of the Redeemer should be made available to the obedience of the redeemed.”