Press on to Maturity
Hebrews 6:1-3 NASB
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.
Once we have truly believed in Jesus Christ, with childlike faith, which is God-given divinely persuaded faith, and we have died with Christ to sin, and we have risen with him to righteousness, we shouldn’t need to keep hearing those elementary truths. We should, instead, be moving on to maturity in Christ and be taking in the meat of the Word of God instead of just the milk.
The problem that exists, though, at least here in America, is that so much of the institutional church is not really teaching the elementary truths of the gospel, but what they are teaching is a sanitized version of the gospel message, and in order to make it more acceptable to the masses by removing unpleasant or undesired features contained within it.
So, the masses are not being fed even the elementary truths of the gospel, but they are being fed this sanitized version which appeals to human flesh, and thus it is a false grace gospel, which gives people a false hope of eternal life with God, and which gives free license to lasciviousness. And, the church gatherings are filled with people who have bought into this sanitized gospel.
So, the elementary truths are having to be taught side-by-side with teaching on spiritual maturity, because so many people have bought into the lies.
The Truth Is…
The truth is that faith in Jesus Christ is of God, and is divinely persuaded as to God’s righteousness and holiness, and as to his divine will and purpose for our lives. Thus, it submits to God, yields to the Lordship of Christ, and surrenders to the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in our lives. True faith, thus, repents of sin and turns to God to walk with him in his holiness.
Then, it walks according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. This is not saying that a true believer will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be his (or her) master. Daily, the believer in Jesus should be dying to sin and self and should be walking in obedience to Christ and his Word, all in the power and working of God’s Spirit within them (within us).
Yet, scripture does indicate that a follower of Christ can wander from his or her pure devotion to Christ, for a time, and need to be brought back into right fellowship with God (See: Rev. 2-3). But, it also teaches that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, in darkness, in sin, and we make sin our practice, and we don’t obey Christ and His Word, then we don’t have eternal life with God. So, it all comes down to our walks, how we live, and what we practice. For, we will reap what we sow (See: Gal. 6:8; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21).
Hebrews 6:4-8 NASB
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
This is a difficult passage of scripture for many to interpret, so there are varied interpretations of what it is saying. The language strongly leans towards speaking of those who did, at one time, believe in Jesus Christ, but they have since fallen away beyond recovery. It is obvious that these people heard and received the true gospel message, not the false gospel, and that they partook in the Holy Spirit, which would indicate true conversion.
Having a good understanding of the true gospel message helps with this, I believe, for we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future), when Christ returns. For, it is as many as are believing in him (present tense) who have the hope of eternal life with God. We must endure to the end, and our faith must remain steadfast to the end if we want to have eternal life. We are not saved based on past belief, in other words.
This warning is being given to those who have believed in Jesus Christ and, perhaps, to those who made only a profession of faith in Christ, too. The warning here, I believe, is that, if we don’t move on to maturity, there is a danger we will fall away from Christ beyond recovery and not be able to be brought back to repentance. And, this is not because God is not forgiving, but that the one who falls away will not desire to be brought back, I believe.
Yet, scripture gives many warnings to the church, which include a call to repentance, for those who have wandered off, with the chance being given of recovery, if they will repent and will return to their Lord in full surrender. These scriptures, too, warn of divine judgment if they do not repent, but also include a promise to those who overcome (See: Rev. 2-3).
So, there is hope that some people who have fallen away from their pure devotion to Christ will return, and will repent of their sins and forsake their idols, but this revival may not take place until some divine judgment takes place which will lead them to repentance.
God, all throughout biblical history, has warned his adulterous people of divine judgment if they do not repent, but also promised restoration for those who did. Yet, this Hebrews passage also adds to that, that there may be those who will fall so far as to never repent and be renewed, and that is a very sad reality, indeed.
He Remembers You
Hebrews 6:9-12 NASB
But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Again, our salvation is not a one-time deal, it is done with, over, we live our lives, and one day we go to heaven. Our salvation is progressive, like the process of sanctification. We will inherit eternal life with God if we endure to the end, and if we remain in the faith, which is not just a belief, but a practice. For, there are things which must accompany salvation for us to have genuine faith, and these things must remain in us.
[See: Jn. 8:31-32; Rom. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I Jn. 2:24-25.]
God will reward us one day for our faithfulness to him, for our endurance and patience in service to our Lord, and for our love and ministry which we have shown and have given to the saints of God, his true followers. Although we may be going through many trials and tribulations now, and we may be faced with much rejection and persecution, even coming from those who claim to also be followers of Christ, our work in the Lord, in his power, according to his will and purposes, will one day be rewarded.
We just need to keep on keeping on in doing what God has called us to do in preaching the Good News of salvation, proclaiming freedom from sin’s deceitfulness to the captives, and giving messages of hope and healing to the brokenhearted, following Jesus Christ, in his footsteps, becoming more and more like him as the time nears for his return.
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.
Friday, May 18, 2018, 8:17 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. May we all take them to heart and apply them to our lives. Amen!