The Danger of Immaturity
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: This passage is the third in a series of warning sections found in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The danger of neglect was found in 2:1-4. The danger of doubt was presented in Hebrews 3:7-4:13.
The current passage warns of the danger of immaturity for those who profess to know Christ as Savior. The warning sections are progressive. First there is aimless drifting (2:1-4); leading to doubt (3:7-4:13); and then dullness (5:11-6:20).
1. The Instruction for Believers (5:11-14)
The constant infusion of doctrine mixed with faith is imperative for Christian growth. This is a major factor in all of the warning sections found in Hebrews. Maturity is accomplished by:
- Weaning from Milk (5:11-14) It seems that some believers never progress beyond this point and are constantly afflicted by zeal without much knowledge.
- Working in the Word (5:14) Time plus exercise in the Word of God yield maturity. Such a serious concentration on the Word was exactly what the Hebrews were not doing.
The importance of this instruction is seen in -2. The Impossibilities for Believers (6:1-8)
These verses constitute one of the most controversial sections in all of the Bible. The two major contrasting views on this passage could not be more dissimilar. Some teach that it describes actual believers who fall away from salvation and are ultimately liable to eternal destruction.
Others - myself among them - believe this section depicts those who have come under tremendous spiritual conviction and influences short of actual salvation. Chronic carnality and immaturity may be indications that a "professor" of salvation is not actually a "possessor" of salvation.
I believe verse 9 holds the key to understanding the intention of the writer. In essence he says even though such immaturity may be true of some who are not regenerated that he is "persuaded" of better things "that accompany salvation." With this in mind, notice -
3. The Inheritance for Believers (6:9-15)
- The Potential of Going on to Maturity (6:1-3) This is at the heart of the argument of the entire book - "Let us go on to perfection."
- The Possibility of Going Back in Apostasy (6:4-8) Here is a healthy chunk of meat. The apostate is not one who falls away from salvation but one who falls away from the profession of salvation.
4. The Immutability of God (6:16-20)
- Obtained by Diligence (6:9-12)
- Obtained by Patience (6:13-15)
It ultimately comes down to God's faithfulness, not ours.
- Based Upon His Promise (6:13)
- Based Upon His Oath (6:16)
Immaturity is the end result of drifting by and doubting the Word of God. Every believer must be involved in an active and systematic study of God's Word. When immaturity is found in the life of a believer then it is certain that a steady diet of God's Word has been neglected.