It is most interesting and instructive to study the Scriptures to learn how one Greek word is used to tell us of the perfect life and perfect redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ; and of the believer’s perfection in Christ. The simplest form of the word is “teleo” meaning “to end” or “to finish”. “Telegraph” means to write from the end. This Greek word is translated in the Scriptures “perform”, “finish”, “fulfill”, “perfect” and “full age”. In Hebrews 7:25 it is preceded by the Greek prefix “pan” which means “all” or “entire” or “full”. The word is “pantelace”; “uttermost”. Now carefully note these Scriptures as they give us the progress and development and final completion of redemption. Some form of “teleo” is in every verse.
“And when they had PERFORMED all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” Luke 2:39.
“And when they had FULFILLED all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:29 and 30.
“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.”
“And being made PERFECT, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” Hebrews 5:9.
“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have FINISHED the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4.
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, “It is FINISHED: and He bowed His head, and gave up the Ghost.” John 19:30.
“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.
“For by one offering He hath PERFECTED for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14.
“But ye are come unto mount Sion . . . and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made PERFECT.” Hebrews 12:22 and 23.
“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the UTTERMOST that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will PERFORM it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of FULL AGE, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto PERFECTION; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” Hebrews 5:14 and Hebrews 6:1.
“But when that which is PERFECT is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” I Corinthians 13:10.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13.
Your careful, prayerful, spiritual study of these scriptures will teach you that Christ is indeed the author and finisher of our faith. This word “author” is the same Greek word translated “captain” in Hebrews 2:10, and “prince” in Acts 3:15 and Acts 5:31. The word is “archegos”, literally “the chief leader”. The word “finisher” is “telerotes”. The Finisher being made perfect cried, “finished” and became the author of eternal life. Hebrews 5:9. This “author” is a different Greek word from Hebrews 12:2 and means the “causer”. Surely the Lord Jesus Christ is the “causer” of eternal life; and He is and will be the finisher. This brings our minds to Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The word “perform” is “epi-teleo” meaning to “further fulfill” or to completely finish”.
The captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering. He said “I must finish”; “I have finished”; “It is finished”. Christ, in His perfect life, ministry and sacrifice, was the perfect antitype of all of the Scriptural types of Him by which He was prefigured, all that spoke of His work before and during the “shadow” days of Israel. Hear these words of Christ, in Matthew 5:17 and Luke 24:44: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me.” Read the manner in which He had to fulfill the law even in childhood. Luke 2:21 to 39. “When they had performed (teleo) all things according to the law.” Then read carefully Acts 13:29, how all things concerning His sufferings were fulfilled. “When they had fulfilled (teleo) all that was written” He cried, “Finished”.
God sent His Son, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Galatians 4:4 and 5. All that Christ, did under the law, and on the cross for those who were under the law, was in fulfillment of the Scriptures; and was what God before had determined to be done. Acts 4:28—Acts 2:23. He became the author (causer) of eternal life. “By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified”. Hebrews 10:14. He cried, on the cross, “finished”. The good work begun will be performed (epi-teleo) until the day of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Chief-leader and finisher of our faith. He is able to save to the uttermost (pan-teleo) all who come unto God through Him; because He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
With Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever occupied in behalf of the believer and the believer in possession of the completed Word of God, with the perfect truth concerning membership in the Body of Christ, the hope, calling and blessings in the heavenlies, the mystery revealed to Paul (Colossians 1:24 to 27), certainly the believer today should be of full age (teleo), and go on to perfection. With the high and holy truth revealed Paul said, “I have finished (teleo) my course.” II Timothy 4:6 to 9.
Some day the Lord of Glory will bring all believers to the day of redemption and give to them glorified bodies like unto His own glorified body, and then all will come unto the realization of a perfect redemption, body, soul and spirit. Then Ephesians 4:13 will be realized—“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
This has been called the masterpiece of God.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.