While the world celebrates in secularism, for many Christians, October 31st serves as a reminder of those who have contended for the faith centuries before us. It’s also a reminder of the necessity to contend for the faith as humanity has a propensity to drift away from the gospel and slip into its own form of the gospel message. During the time of Martin Luther it was a salvation by works that included allegiance to the Catholic Church, the purchase of indulgences, and justification apart from faith. Today, many still consider salvation by works, but it is through allegiance to individuals or self, the purchase of favor, and once again justification apart from faith. While the form may look different, the heresy remains the same.
The consistency of this heresy through the generations demands continuous action, an action that subsists of contending for the genuine faith of the gospel. While urging believers to run with endurance in the Christian life, the author of Hebrews exalts the Lord Jesus Christ with these words:
“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2)
Amidst the great exhortation (which is worth noting in itself, but we don’t have time to look through at the moment) the author notes some important aspects of who Christ is in regards to our faith.
The first is the note that Jesus is the source of faith. The ESV uses the word ‘founder’ while the Reina Valera 1960 utilizes the word ‘author.’ The concept conveyed by these words is profound because it identifies Jesus Christ as the initiator of our faith and calls attention to the fact that when we consider things of the faith we must look at him first.
However, the description does not stop there. Instead the author goes further to describe Jesus as the perfecter of the faith. How is it that faith can be perfected? Considering the Lord Jesus Christ’s work upon the cross. Crucifixion was the lowest point for any person who was required to endure it, thus for Christ, it was the ultimate point of lowliness in which he descended to the worst depths of humanity. However, it is from this that humanity finds its greatest exaltation because Christ’s work on the cross provided the way of salvation for mankind to those who would believe upon Him, perfecting the plan of faith that God intended from the beginning.
The implications of Christ as the author and perfecter of faith is indicative of something grand. If salvation is to be found, it cannot be found apart from Christ because he is both its source and its perfecter. Such a belief is contrary to the thinking that sparked the Reformation and is contrary to the thinking of many people today. Yet, being contrary to natural tendencies doesn’t negate its truthfulness. Therefore, Jesus Christ is to be elevated and emulated in the Christian life all the more. His life certainly provides an example for each of us, however more than that, he is not merely an example to be emulated, he is the object of our faith to be worshiped.