Jesus Christ, Author and Finisher
By J. L. Leifeste
“...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...”
— Hebrews 12:2
A song, a race, a story, an obligation — most things are best when they have both a start and a finish. Some things seem to have a beginning, but no ending. Some things start, but they end in destruction. However, beauty and accomplishment come from things being finished in fulfillment. For example, a beautiful painting should be finished by achieving the desired result that was envisioned and planned when the artist began. Actually, its real beauty does not exist until its production is fully complete. Other than God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, everything has had a beginning and will have some kind of completion.
Jesus Christ accomplished many marvelous things. He started and finished the most enlightened parables, deeply penetrating lessons, unique and startling miracles, and an earthly ministry that has never been equaled. As the Word, He created all things (Jn. 1:1-14), giving them a beginning. As the perfect Lamb of God, He fulfilled the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 8:3-4; 10:4), giving it a completion. And everything about Jesus Christ shows one most important thing for humanity. He is the only way to spiritual salvation and eternal life.
All people have sinned, and the penalty for sin is eternal punishment (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Jn. 5:29). So everyone needs to be saved. The only way to be saved is through faith in Christ (Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:1; Heb. 11:6; Jn. 14:6; 8:24). What is that faith? Saving faith includes: believing in Christ, repenting of sins, confessing the belief, being baptized, and living according to New Testament teaching (Jn. 3:16; Acts 17:30; 8:37; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:26-27; Rev. 2:10). For each Christian, this faith has already begun, and it should be building to the perfect completion. In this regard, Jesus Christ holds special relationships to us and our faith.
Jesus Christ is the Author of our faith.
The word “author” denotes one who writes, constructs, or originates something. The gospel message is about Christ. Without Him, there would be no gospel. The seeds of our faith come from hearing about Christ in the Bible (Lk. 8:11). So, our faith originates in Him (Rom. 10:17; Phil. 3:9; 1 Jn. 5:4). For faith in Christ to be true and acceptable to God, it must include obedience (2 Thess. 1:8-9). And for it to continue true and acceptable, it must grow. These, and other things which are necessary for a total faith, are found in the New Testament. Through the miraculous inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Christ's apostles taught the essentials and boundaries of true faith (Jn. 14:26; 16:7-15; Heb. 1:1-2). We find those teachings in the pages of His New Testament. Therefore, we must study and follow the New Testament in order to have true faith.
The Greek word translated “author” in Heb. 12:2 is sometimes translated “leader.” It indicates one who takes the lead, possibly starting something in the process. Christ is our leader. He has taken our place by dying for our sins (Rom. 5:8), and He has taken the lead in being resurrected to a new life (Rom. 6:1-11; 1 Cor. 15:20). He is also our leader through the example of His life upon the earth. Christ exhibited perfect obedience to God (Heb. 5:8-9). And we receive His instruction in Romans 6:12-16 that we must be obedient instruments of righteousness. Christ is also our leader by being our Lord (Rom. 14:9; 1 Cor. 8:6). And our faith should confirm Him as our ruler by our steadfast devotion. He is both the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) and the rock upon which our faith is built (Matt. 7:24-27; 1 Cor. 3:11). He is the chief cornerstone of the church and the chief cornerstone of individual faith (Matt. 21:42; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4-6).
So Christ is the author of true Christian faith: He is the start and growth of faith, the sacrifice for our sins, the model for Christianity, our Lord, the head of the church, and its chief cornerstone.
Jesus Christ is the Finisher of our faith.
Our faith originates in Christ, and it culminates in Him (reaches fulfillment in Him). He is the totality of it. There is no more and no less to Christian faith than the loyal, obedient faith which is displayed and taught in the New Testament. Some people teach doctrines which were not delivered by Christ in His New Testament. Some people add and subtract from His teaching concerning Christian faith. Such man-made doctrines are not pleasing to God (1Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).
In Heb. 12:2, the word for “finisher” also means one who perfects. Our faith is perfected in Christ. It is not a process where we remain in ignorance and do nothing. Our faith grows toward completeness. As mentioned before, Christ has set the precedent. He is the supreme example of what our faith should be (Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:17-3:2; 1 Pet. 2:21). The words of Christ come from God, and they are life (Jn. 12:49; 6:63). His teaching and example, found in the New Testament, explain Christian faith (1 Cor. 2:13; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Our faith grows when we apply ourselves to those words and to His correct example (1 Pet. 2:2; 1 Jn. 2:3; 2 Jn. 9; Heb. 5:12-15; Col. 1:28; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; 3:18).
Christ also perfects our faith by giving us continuing help. He is our Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1), the Mediator between the Christian and God (1 Tim. 2:5). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has worked for us and continues to work for us. He is the Savior, the High Priest, and the complete authority. He provides continual cleansing of the dedicated Christian's soul (Heb. 9:14; 1 Jn. 1:7, 9). Our faith is also improved when we recognize the strengths and encouragement that He provides (Eph. 6:10-18; Heb. 4:14-15; 10:19-25; 13:6).
Jesus also will supply the final enactment which fulfills the hope of our faith. He is the one by whom we will be raised from death, judged, and rewarded (Jn. 5:28-29; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16; 14:10; Rev. 2:10). Therefore, faithful Christians who have been raised from death will be another proof of His ultimate victory over evil (1 Cor. 15:50-58). That victory will be the beautiful finishing touch. It will be the complete fulfillment of our faith.
So we see that the words and the example of Christ are waiting to construct, stabilize, and polish our faith. In following them, we invest the effort that ensures the “finishing" of our faith by Christ. As our Savior, Mediator, and High Priest, He continues to act in our behalf and give us spiritual strength. His victory finalized in judgment makes a complete fulfillment of our faith.
It is important to know that Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. We must apply ourselves to His teaching and example. We must take advantage of all that He offers us. In doing so, our faith will be the substance and the evidence that it should be.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”