Endtime Prophets

Christ was already perfect. He didn't need perfection

The following is a Bible study based on the question, "was Christ already perfect while on the earth or did he need to be perfected?" The misinterpretation of the following verse is the cause of a lot of the deception in the church today.

(False teacher/prophet quotes are in purple and indented, my
comments are in plain text and scripture is in teal. False teachers rarely use scripture. I have only included those portions I intend to comment on.)

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:9, 10)

Kenneth Copeland believes this verse is saying that Christ became perfect through his cross experience:

"The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. . . . it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross." (Kenneth Copeland, "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1990 audiotape #02-0017, side 2.)

However, Copeland's reasoning doesn't match up with Scripture. The Him in this verse is God "for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory" and also because the Him in this verse is a separate entity from the captain of their salvation, i.e., Jesus. The author of Hebrews was explaining (because of verse 9) why these Jews should expect a suffering messiah and not a conquering one at this time.

The word translated perfect is literally teleioo in the Greek, to carry to the goal or consummation. This does not imply any moral imperfection in Christ but is instead speaking of God, coming to earth as a man, having to die a terrible death for mankind, i.e., to suffer the cross. This is all part of God's plan and this was referred to back in the first part of this verse, For it was fitting for Him (God) . . . in bringing many sons to glory . . . i.e., this was the plan from the beginning. Christ could not be the author of our salvation unless he suffered death for us. [1]

The Greek word archegos means one who goes first, a leader, our captain. The Son goes first and then the rest of God's sons follow. And he is not only our leader but also the path, our example, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6).

God is a holy God and cannot look upon sin. Adam's sin needed to be atoned for. This would take a sinless person to atone for this sin. Only God himself was qualified to pay for man's sin. God the Father provided a means to salvation. God the Son saw that it was fulfilled, and God the Holy Spirit applies it to our lives.

Thus this verse is not speaking about Christ being perfected morally through the Cross experience but instead fulfilling the redemptive plan of God for man's sin. If he wasn't already perfect he wouldn't have qualified to be able to die for man's sin in the first place.

This is a good example of the reason Kenneth Copeland and simillar teachers have gotten so far off track by not understanding the plan of God and misinterpreting scripture. Also see the False Teachings of Kenneth Copelend.

1. Kenneth Wuest's "Word Studies in the Greek New Testament", Vol II.

Lori Eldridge
Copyright © 6-4-00 - Updated 10-24-20