>During the Sunday morning sermon a few weeks, I made a statement along these lines…
“Until the Cross, God was not perfect.”
To be perfectly honest, I don’t quite remember the wording, but these words at least capture the emphasis that I was certainly making. Fair enough?
At the time, I was wrestling with the passage in Hebrews that says:
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (2:10)
In several other places, the writer of Hebrews makes mention of the concept that our High Priest -Christ, the Son of God (God incarnate), that is- has been made perfect (i.e., “being perfected”, “having been perfected”, etc.).
Here’s where we run into the seeming problem… If Christ is the Son of God and no less God than the Father, wasn’t He already “perfect”? In what sense does the Cross of Christ perfect the One it bore?
First, the idea of being perfect, here, is the Greek idea. The Hebrews author isn’t speaking to the perfection of the divine attributes of God. Rather, it seems, he’s engaging us with the idea of perfection as the goal-oriented concept that the Greek term telos captures. The purposed goal in the heart of God was that the Son, the One through whom we were created, might redeem us by stepping into our predicament. Until -in the realm of time and space- that happened, the goal had not been met.
Second, even in the realm of eternity, it seems that in keeping with the divine nature, it is only fitting for the triune God to bear in Himself the sufferings of Man made in the divine image. Christ, being the very image of the Father, serves as Mediator between God and Man, becoming the theanthropic Person (lit., the God-Man) so that He might redeem those made in said image. Having been created in the image, they should be redeemed in the image. Were it not for the Suffering of the Son, for the Cross of Christ, God’s heart and mind it seems would fall short of what it truly is. In other words, if God intends to save through suffering and then does not save through suffering, He is less than what He intended to be.
Please do bear with these thoughts, for they are weeks old and haven’t been well-developed. Please also feel free to challenge, critique, or rebuke.