Lesson #19 ID3b The Encouragement toward Maturity part 1

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Abraham praying

Abraham praying

Tom Lowe

Lesson #19 ID3b The Encouragement toward Maturity (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Scripture: Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV)
1. 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 (Or from useless rituals) and of faith in God,
2. instruction about cleansing rites (Or about baptisms), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
3. And God permitting, we will do so.

Just as our physical bodies have senses without which we could not function, so our inner “spiritual man” has “spiritual senses.” For example: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16). As we feed on the Word of God and apply it in our daily life, our inner “spiritual senses” get their exercise and become strong and powerful. Paul called this process exercising ourselves unto godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

No one can escape coming into the world as a baby because that is the only way to get here! But it is tragic when a baby fails to mature. No matter how much parents and grandparents love to cuddle and hold a baby, it is their greater desire that the baby grow up and experience a full life as a mature adult. God has the same desire for his children. That is why he calls to us, “Go on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1).

The writer lists six foundational truths of the Christian faith, all of which, by the way, are also foundational to the Jewish faith. After all, our Christian faith is based on the Jewish faith and is a fulfillment if it. “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). If the readers of this epistle went back to Judaism in order to escape persecution, they would only be abandoning the perfect for the imperfect, the mature for the immature.

(6:1) 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 (Or from useless rituals) and of faith in God,

“Move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ” is literally “leaving the word of the beginning concerning Christ.” This verse literally reads, “Therefore, having left once and for all the elementary lessons the ABCs of the teaching of Christ.” When I was in kindergarten, the teacher taught us our ABCs (We didn’t have television to teach us in those days.) You learn your ABCs so that you might read words, sentences, books─ in fact, anything in literature. But you do not keep learning the basics. You use the basics to go on to better things. If we are going to make spiritual progress, we must leave the childhood things behind and go forward in spiritual growth.

The phrase, “Let us move beyond,” should be translated, “Let us be carried forward.” It is God who enables us to progress as we yield to Him, receive His Word, and act on it. A baby does not “grow himself.” He grows as he eats, sleeps, exercises, and permits his body to function. Nature, as ordained by God, carries the baby along day after day, and gradually he matures as an adult. It is normal for Christians to grow; it is abnormal for them to have arrested growth.

You remember those six foundational truths of the Christian life that were mentioned in the introduction to this lesson; two of them can be found in verse 1. One is repentance and the other is faith. Both are Godward and mark the initiation of the spiritual life. “Repentance from acts that lead to death” concerns the “works of the Mosaic Law.” They were continually trying to keep the law, then breaking it, then repenting. That is baby stuff, the writer tells them.

To repent means to change one’s mind. It is not simply a “bad feeling about sin, because that could be regret or remorse. It is changing one’s mind about sin to the point of turning from it. Once a sinner has repented (and this itself is a gift from God (Acts 5:31; 11:18), then he is able to exercise faith in God. Repentance and faith belong together (Acts 20:21).

The Old Testament taught “faith in God” (Or “toward God”); so just to say you believe in God doesn’t mean you have come very far. The Old Testament ritual presented a faith in God by approaching Him through the temple sacrifices, not through Christ as High Priest.

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