Hebrews 5:9 (ESV) … “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…”
Through His incarnate human experience Christ “became” (egeneto) that which He was not before. He became “the author” (aitios) of the divine redemptive program. Two characteristics of His divine-human saviorhood can be seen in Hebrews 5:9.
First, its basis was in His perfection. The participle “being made perfect” (teleiōtheis) stresses the completion of a process. In the life of Christ, it was achieved at the cross when He used the same verb in His triumphant exclamation: “It is finished” (tetelestai; John 19:30). The perfection of the Redeemer and the redemption were finalized at the same time. In the anticipation of His death, Christ could say that He had finished the divine work for His life (John 17:4). The saviorhood process began at the Incarnation and continued through His human development; His ministry, which was rejected by Israel; His agony in Gethsemane; and His passion on the cross.
Second, its result was the giving “of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” The provision of salvation was achieved through the obedience of the Son to the Father at the cross, and the appropriation of salvation is accomplished through the obedience of the repentant sinner toward Christ. In this passage, obedience is synonymous with faith (Acts 6:7; Rom. 6:17; 10:16). The obedience involves compliance with His prescribed regulations for salvation (John 5:24). It does not view salvation as a reward for works of righteousness (Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8–9). The nature of the verb indicates that man bears the responsibility for either the acceptance or rejection of Christ.
Because Jesus was perfect from start to finish, he is thus able to be our perfect sacrifice. The result of His perfect life, something we can not and could not do, provides for our great need. As bad as our badness may be, Christ’ goodness is a perfect match. Because of His life lived out in perfectness, Christ can to save us to the uttermost of our sinfulness.