Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Other translations use terms such as "pioneer" (CEB), "source" (HCSB), "leader" (Darby), "founder" (ESV). Every aspect of our faith is centered on Jesus. He controls our faith as the source of it and the one that maintains it. Let's take a deeper look at this verse's meaning.
A story is written by an author. The story of the Christian faith was written by Jesus who is the “Author and Perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2). The original greek used for author is “Archégos” means “originator, author, founder, prince, leader.”
The word for “perfecter” is teleiótés, Greek for “completer, finisher.” The writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to persevere against the internal “entanglements of sin” (12:1) or “hostility from sinners” (v.3) by trusting Jesus.
He has many names, but Author and Perfecter are distinctly related to a life of faith.
What Is Faith?
1. Christ taught a way of living and thinking about God and about others. This new “way” demonstrated what it means to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Members of the Faith, or Christianity, praise and worship God, repent of sin, and demonstrate maturity of the faith by their increasing submission to his authority.
2. Trust in Jesus is another way to understand “faith” or “pistis” in the Greek. This is “belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.”
In one sense, it “is ‘not from ourselves,’ though from another perspective, ‘faith’ is obviously from ourselves. And if ‘faith’ is the gift of God, so too is ‘grace’ and ‘salvation.’ [...] It is not ‘either/or’ but ‘both/and.’”
One is better able to engage in the Faith when he or she has a strong personal faith.
What Is the Faith of Hebrews 12:2?
Which idea of faith has Christ authored and perfected? Wayne Jackson explains that Jesus is the “originator of the Cause to which we have committed ourselves. [...] The expression ‘the faith’ becomes the equivalent of “the gospel system” in many passages.”
As one with God, Christ is himself complete. He is the focal point of this Cause, the embodiment of all it stands for.
Yet, the replication of Christ’s teaching is the outworking of personal trust in him.
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).
How Is Jesus the Author of This Faith?
Jesus is One with God, the author of Scripture by which our way of life is defined. Jesus Christ pioneered or founded the new Way by his example, his teaching, and he sealed our trust at the resurrection.
Everything Jesus told us to do he did first. He submitted to the will of the Father: “not my will, but yours” (Luke 22:42). He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and cared for them all.
Even as he grieved the death of his cousin John, Jesus did not send the people away or lose his temper but “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).
Jesus gave his life for his friends (John 15:13) so even when he tells us to take up our crosses and follow him, we know Christ understands how hard this is.
As a pioneer, he taught both Jews and Gentiles how to love the Lord and each other with their hearts, not merely their actions. Jesus rejected all of Satan’s temptations in the wilderness after his baptism.
Our Savior was “zealous for good works,” performing many miraculous acts of healing, even raising people from the dead.
Then he gave the disciples, by his Spirit, the fullness of himself so that they would yield spiritual fruit. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Every good work that comes from us is a result of what God has done in us by his grace and our willingness to let him refine us. Although we have free will to shut Christ out of our lives, no Kingdom work is possible in our own strength.
How Is Jesus the Perfecter of Faith?
How can a belief system be perfected or finished? Christ ministered to the people, taught them to know God, to love him, and to love each other, then died and rose again.
After a short period of continued ministry, which enabled Christ to prove he had risen from the dead, he concluded his work on earth.
His purposes were fulfilled. Charles Ellicott wrote, “Because it is [Jesus] who begins and brings to perfection our faith, we must run the race with our eye fixed upon Him: in Him is the beginning, in Him the completion of the promises.”
Completion in this sense is not synonymous with the conclusion of a story but with the embodiment of salvation available to all people who will accept the gift. Even as sinners, the certainty of perfect wholeness awaits us in Heaven.
Jesus pioneered salvation and growth for the faithful; he makes us whole with God by his own Spirit. Bob Deffinbaugh explains “we take that faith and make it more by developing, reading, praying, studying, talking, being real with God and real with ourselves.”
He provides the whole picture of what it means to walk by faith; we take our cues from nowhere else. He is our Lord, and “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
Why the Faith Feels Unfinished
1. We still experience sin. When Jesus said on the cross “it is finished!” his disciples were not freed from the reality of sin; only its power to separate them from God.
They faced external persecution and struggled with their own temptations. Paul said, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15).
2. We are still maturing. While Christ’s work is complete, there is always room for spiritual growth in our lives. No one can teach like Jesus taught, or model perfect submission to God as he did.
The good news is that we are expected to continue maturing as long as we live in our mortal bodies. Salvation is not and cannot be contingent on our being perfect but on Christ’s perfection.
3. We are driven to earn salvation. Many other religions teach performance or works-based salvation. Society is also caught up in this idea; that we earn a place in Heaven or even achieve divine status.
Jesus sent out the disciples to do good works in his name and for God’s glory, so he equips the saints with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3).
The Helper, Christ’s Spirit, reminds us of gospel certainties when we start to wander away. These reminders provide “a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22), which the hymn writer Fanny Crosby referred to as a “Blessed Assurance.”
The faith to which we cling is the assurance of Christ’s own faithfulness, perfect confidence in the Father. Only total certainty that God was completely, perfectly in control could have enabled Jesus to endure the cross and finish his earthly ministry.
He trusted that the total story had been written in advance. Christians might feel as though they have been living out a prolonged cliffhanger, but God authored the complete work of the gospel from the very start.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/MichaelJay
Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.