We must never forget the central theme of this book, which is the supremacy of Christ. In this next verse, we need to consider the supremacy of Christ in His authority to save. “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” (v. 10).
By the grace of God, Christ tasted death for everyone. This is because is was fitting for Him (that is, God) to equip the Son of God to be our Savior. This God is the one for whom everything exists, and the One by whom everything exists. The task He is accomplishing is the bringing of many sons into glory—the glory of Christ is not given to Him in isolation. He is glorified as our forerunner. As God equipped Him to be our Savior, He did this by establishing Him through suffering, making Him therefore the captain of our salvation.
Salvation is to the glory of God. All who acknowledge that God created everything know that everything exists by Him. But not all Christians know why everything was created—everything exists for Him as well. We live, breath, walk, talk, and come to salvation in order that God’s name might be lifted up. It is fitting for God, for whom all exists, to bring us to salvation. Our salvation is ordered to His glory, just like everything else.
So the ultimate purpose of all things is glory of God. This must never be forgotten. But God’s purpose is to bring many sons to glory. How can this be reconciled? The answer will be beyond us if we think of God as just “another character in the play.” The glory given to us in Christ is not glory taken away from Him. This is not a zero sum game. In the grace of God, glory grows. As we come to salvation, and share in His glory, it magnifies His glory. His glory, already infinite, overflows. Further, remember that, before the process began, God was not deficient in glory. He was meeting no need within Himself when He created the universe for His own glory. He was correcting no deficiency. The glory that comes to His name through our salvation is true glory, and it is superfluous glory. God wastes glory. When it comes to grace and glory, our triune God is a prodigal spendthrift.
But we must also consider the phrase “to make . . . perfect through sufferings.” Was Christ imperfect before He was made perfect? Did God have to sanctify Him from sin? The answer is clearly no. The author of Hebrews later tells us that although Christ was tempted, He was completely without sin. So what does this mean? The word is teleiosai, and in this place means to “consecrate” or “dedicate” or “set apart” to a particular office. Christ did not rise above “sinfulness” as He was made perfect; rather, He was ordained to be the captain of our salvation as He was fitted or equipped to that office. His sufferings were His preparation to ordination as our captain.
And the word captain is very interesting. The word is archegos, meaning prince, ruler, or captain. “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people” (Is. 55:4). In our salvation, Christ is our prince. Not to put too fine a point on it, this means that He tells us what to do. We serve Him as He brings us to glory.
The point of application is obvious. If Christ is not your captain, He is not the captain of your salvation. Those who want to sever Christ in His offices, making Him Savior at one point, and Lord at another, are tampering with the gospel in a fearful way. Christ as our prince does not have perfect subjects (this is not what His captaincy means), but He does wield a perfect authority over those whom He is bringing into salvation.