Posted On August 10, 2020

Hebrews 5:8-10, “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, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

Reformed Protestantism has for centuries taught that Christ’s obedience throughout the entire course of His earthly life was necessary for our salvation. Our Lord’s active keeping of God’s commandments was necessary so that Christ could be our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). But in addition to Jesus’ active obedience, we also need His passive obedience, His suffering the curse of God so that we could be cleansed of our sin (Rom. 3:21–26).

As we consider the passive obedience of Christ, we must remember that it does not mean that our Lord was merely a passive recipient of suffering in His death. Yes, He suffered because other men beat Him and crucified Him, but Christ was active even in this. He gave Himself over to sinful men so that He could die in our place (Mark 15:16–20). He laid down His life; no one took it from Him unwillingly (John 10:18).

All of the suffering Christ endured from birth until death falls un-der the category of passive obedience, but in particular we are talking about the suffering Jesus endured in His crucifixion when we are considering His passive obedience. Today’s passage refers to this suffering, noting that by this suffering Christ learned obedience (Heb. 5:8).

The phrase “learned obedience” is interesting and might strike us as odd. After all, Jesus is God incarnate (John 1:1–18), and certainly God does not grow in His knowledge. But remember that Jesus is also truly man and can grow in knowledge according to His human nature though not according to His divine nature. The seventeenth-century Reformed theologian John Owen comments that by “learned obedience,” the author of Hebrews means that Jesus came to understand suffering by experiencing it Himself. By walking through suffering as a man, Jesus has shared the human condition of suffering and can now help us when we suffer.

Yet in His suffering, Christ also experienced something that we will never know. Owen notes that there is something “peculiar in that obedience which the Son of God is said to learn from his own sufferings, namely, what it is for a sinless person to suffer for sinners.” In some ways, the sufferings of Christ are analogous to ours, but in other ways, they are unique to Him in His role as our Mediator. In fact, it was through obeying God and experiencing the curse of suffering that our sin deserves that Jesus was made perfect as our High Priest. By offering Himself as our atonement, Christ fulfilled His appointed task and became “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9–10)

Coram Deo

The suffering that Christ endured at the hands of other men was unjust, and yet He endured it. Although there are times when we are called to fight back against unjust suffering, there are times when we are to endure it for the sake of gospel witness. Discerning what we should do in a given situation is difficult, so let us be in constant prayer that God would give us discernment for when and when not to submit to suffering.

Obedience in Suffering, Copyright (2020), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Approved Workers

Approved Workers

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave continues the 2 Timothy series looking at 2 Timothy 2:14-21 and teaching Christians the truth and how to handle error correctly, and dealing with false teachers. What you’ll hear in this episode Dealing with false teachers....

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

“I’m so tired.” These words seem to come out of my mouth more and more these days and start off more journal entries than I can count. I feel physically tired, as though no amount of sleep could possibly replenish my energy, as well as emotionally tired. I hear these...

Wild Olive Branches

Wild Olive Branches

Romans 11:16-18, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the...

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Deborah Howard discuss Christian friendship and support in and out of the local church, advice for family members and friends with family or friends who have memory loss, the local church, and supporting family members...

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

I’d done it again. It was subtle, and neither my husband nor any of our five children sitting in the car with me knew what I had done. That’s how sneaky sinful comparison can be. While reading during a long road trip, right in the middle of a well-crafted sentence in...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share45
Tweet15
Reddit
Email
Buffer