Saved to the Uttermost- Hebrews 7:11-25

Hebrews 11:25 tells us that Jesus saves us “to the uttermost” (NIV- completely). This is an unusual expression, and this study will examine Hebrews 7:11-25 in order to determine the meaning of this expression. In verse 11 we find that perfection could not be attained through the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priesthood here refers to the sacrificial laws of the Old Covenant, and in this system no one could attain “perfection”. The question arises here as to what is meant by “perfection”? The common understanding of perfection is that it refers to “flawlessness”, however this is not what is meant by the Greek word used here. The word translated as perfection here is teleiosis, which represents the idea of completion, and perfection here describes the completion of a mission, the accomplishing of a purpose, the achievement of a goal. One who is “perfect” in this sense is one who is fulfilling his or her purpose. The sacrificial law of the Old Covenant could never fulfill the purpose of sacrifices here, which we learn from verse 19 is to allow us to “draw near” to God. Since this “law” could not accomplish this, another law was needed. Since another law was needed, another priest was needed also, one not of the order of Levi, but of Melchizedek. A priest in the order of Melchizedek was needed because only one who is a priest forever would be able to perform the sacrifice by which we could truly draw near to God. Jesus is the fulfillment of this eternal priesthood, because He does not come from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah. This places Him above the law, for the law of Moses never mentioned anyone from Judah becoming a priest. Jesus is a priest on the order of Melchizedek not due to His physical ancestry (which is how the Levitical priests were selected), but due to an “indestructible life”. The Greek word indestructible here is akatalytos, which refers to a life which is incapable of dissolution, everlasting, unable to be destroyed. Because Jesus is this one in the order of Melchizedek, He has “become” a priest forever, since He lives forever. This raises the question of Jesus “becoming something, of how can one who is by nature eternal and unchanging “become” anything? Jesus “becomes” a priest not in terms of His nature but in terms of His function, He functions as a priest because He ministers for His people before God, performing the sacrifice by which we may eternally draw near to God. He has been declared by God a “priest forever”, setting aside the former law, by which we could never be “made perfect” and through which we never could draw near to God. The sacrifices of the Old Covenant priesthood cleansed the people only externally and temporarily, but the sacrifice of this “new” priest cleanses the people internally and permanently, which is why it is a better hope and through it we may always draw near to God. We have seen here how this new sacrifice “makes perfect” its recipients, and our next post will continue in our study of Hebrews to determine why this sacrifice saves us “to the uttermost”.

1 Comment Jesus Christ  //  Living with a Purpose  //  Salvation

One Response so far.

  1. Rosalinda says:

    Thanks for helping me to see things in a dinfereft light.

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