Lord, bring us all to maturity.
Read HEBREWS 5:11 – 6:3
Warning Against Falling Away
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
6 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings.’ (Phil 3:10) Join with Paul in expressing your desire to know Jesus better.
Recent surveys in the UK and the USA reveal that not only do many Christians have an inadequate grasp of Christian truth, but they actually believe things that are contrary to the Bible (www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/november/uk-state-of-theology-ligonier-british-evangelicals-dont-kno.html). The issue that the writer raises here, therefore, has a contemporary feel. We are concerned when babies fail to grow: gaining physical strength, knowledge, and wisdom. We should be just as concerned when Christians do not grow in understanding of the truth, relationship with God, and holy living. There is an element of irony in these verses – all part of the author’s persuasive strategy. The word translated ‘no longer try’ (11) carries a stronger meaning; they have become lazy or sluggish (12). Pressing on with God is no longer their priority.
In 6:1 and 2 the writer is presumably highlighting particular local issues. The word translated ‘cleansing rites’ is translated in different ways (baptisms, washings) and probably refers to Jewish rites rather than Christian baptism, for which the New Testament uses a different word. The issues today may be different, but the need to press on remains. The initial act of repentance and faith is essential, but we cannot live in the past; it is where we are with God today that matters. The remedy for slipping back, now as then, is to go forward. Pressing on requires effort. Solid food is for those who ‘by constant use have trained themselves’ (5:14). Paul recognizes that he has not arrived but still needs to press on to enter in to all that Jesus had done for him (Phil 3:12).
The writer is concerned primarily with understanding truth. In a world of conflicting ideas and world views, it is important to know what we believe and why. The church needs people who can make a robust and convincing presentation of truth.
What might the next step in pressing on to maturity involve for you?
Lord, we have left the false foundation of dead works. We now build on solid Christian principles and doctrines.