As Christians, when we confess that we believe in the forgiveness of sins, we are affirming our faith in the efficacy of the work of Jesus Christ. In this selection from his commentary on Hebrews, Swiss reformer Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) emphasizes the significance of Christ’s priesthood for our salvation, which, through his perfect sacrifice, brings the forgiveness of sins, and so eternal life and perfection for all who believe.


These words are a recapitulation, in which the author returns to explain the way in which Christ “was heard”; that is, he explains what is the goal and fruit of the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ: eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and perfection. Later on he harps on this theme. For it is not enough if we merely believe that Jesus is a priest; for we must also believe that Jesus is a priest for us. So he rightly revisits this topic again, because earlier he instructed them more than once that the fruit of Christ’s priesthood—or rather, of his entire work—is eternal life. For his sacrifice is so complete that there is nothing left to be desired from it; so rich and abundant that there is no race of people which it does not absolve and redeem, if only they believe. For, as the Baptist said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” For since Christ was teleōtheis, which is translated “perfected,” his sacrifice and atonement for us are teletē, perfection itself, as well as the aitios—the cause, energy, and originator of eternal salvation. For Christ himself was made for us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Nor is there any other salvation in any other person, but he is the priest of all who believe in all ages, having been established by God after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews, ed. Ronald K. Rittgers. Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. 13, p. 73.