QUESTION: WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN?
“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.”
It’s a complicated verse, to be sure— but it has a very specific, interesting interpretation.
This verse is talking about Jesus Christ.
He is the “captain of our salvation.”
Jesus’ purpose was to come to Earth to save the human race from the Curse. The Curse was put on Earth and all it’s inhabitants because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were told not to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16,17)
Because they disobeyed God, they immediately “died” spiritually— the intimate fellowship they had with the Creator was severed. That’s what “death” is— it’s separation from the Creator. They also began to die physically— Adam lived for 930 years before he actually died.  This gradual deterioration and eventual death was not part of the original plan— men were originally created to live forever.
This tragic “fall” effected the whole Earth. That’s why we see so much death and destruction all around us. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
From that moment, God began the long and tedious process of rescuing the human race from death. Death is the enemy of God. God is the God of life, not death. He planned from the beginning to eradicate the enemy of Life. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” But even God can’t simply will death out of existence. Death is the result of a wilful breaking of God’s law, and law can’t be just brushed aside— justice demands that the punishment prescribed for breaking the law be paid in full.
That’s why every one of us is faced with the prospect of death. “The wages of sin is death” says the first half of Romans 6:23. The payment due us for sinning is death. We pay for our sin with death.
There is no other way of appeasing the Law. The law is only completely satisfied when the punishment for the crime is meted out in full. So if you’re a sinner, you have to die to pay for your sin, there is no other way out— nothing you can do can stop it.
BUT— God found a way. He sent his son Jesus Christ into the world. Christ became a man…he was born of a virgin into Adam’s race…he lived a perfect life (he never sinned, not even once)…and he offered himself as a sacrifice, to die on the cross on our behalf. Anyone therefore who is willing to confess their sinfulness, admit they are responsible for their sins and admit their need to be rescued from sin’s punishment— when they accept what Jesus did on their behalf (he DIED so that they do not need to die)— they are saved from death at that moment. To be saved means to have your sin debt erased, and to be released forever from the possibility of ever having to pay for sin again.
But I also mentioned he lived a perfect life. Why then does our mysterious verse say “the Captain of their salvation [was made] perfect through sufferings.”? Well, by Captain we usually mean the person responsible to accomplish a task, a mission— in this case the mission was to save all men from death— and when a mission is assigned it is not considered closed or successful until it is finished. When a Captain— even a perfect Captain— accepts a mission, he is taking on the full responsibility, which means he accepts the risk of success…or failure. Until he succeeds, his is now shouldered with the possibility of failure…and the only way he can redeem himself fully is to finish the job completely. So in this case “made perfect through suffering” means Jesus accomplished a difficult, terrible mission by dying for us— and he came through it successfully, even adding the destruction of death as one of his extraordinary feats. Since his mission and purpose was the destruction of death, his life would not have been deemed “perfect” until he had accomplished it.
Although Christ is the creator and sustainer of all life ( “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible… and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” Colossians 1:16), and before the foundation of the world he knew beforehand that he would have to die for the human race, this role wasn’t finished until He himself said from the Cross, “It is finished“. [ John 19:30] At that point his role as SAVIOUR was perfected. He was “made perfect” through suffering death on our behalf.
Imagine if He had chickened out? What if at the last minute he had lost his nerve? Notice how the Bible treats this possibility: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews . 12:2] Jesus Christ is the toughest man who ever lived! Look what it said about him on the Old Testament: “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:7
No wonder he is the captain of our salvation! No wonder at the end of History every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! He has won our trust and our admiration forever!
All this being said, what have you done with Jesus Christ? Have you made him the Captain of your salvation? Have you trusted him as your Savior? Have you ever considered that he did everything possible to save you from death…and now that the ball is in your court, you must act to finish the transaction. You must confess your sin, and your need of salvation, and invite Jesus into your heart.
Why don’t you go the full nine yards and pray to confess your sin and ask Jesus to save your soul from death?
TYPICAL PRAYER: Dear God, I now realize I am a sinner under the Curse. I am sorry for my sin, and I although I can’t honestly say that I will never sin again, I don’t want to sin ever again, and I want to have my sin debt paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ. I now take Jesus as my Saviour, and I ask Christ to come into my life and show me how to live. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
If you have prayed this prayer and want more help and encouragement, contact Analogyman.
 Genesis 5:5
 Romans 8:22
 1Corinthians 15:26