Hebrews 5:11-6:3 talks about not being fed any longer with spiritual milk, but rather solid food. If we are to move on from these "foundations," ("spiritual milk") what things should we be moving on to?

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Hebrews 5:11-6:3 talks about not being fed any longer with spiritual milk, but rather solid food. If we are to move on from these "foundations," ("spiritual milk") what things should we be moving on to?

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:34 pm

The author of Hebrews has been sharing in a very theological discussion; in fact, he has just been using the Old Testament character of Melchizedek to illustrate the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Then he pauses, concerned for the ability of his audience to take in the things of which he is writing. His pause begins this section we are concerned with, as he stops to take stock of his audience’s spiritual maturity, which is essentially what this short section of Scripture is about. And so he begins: We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil—Hebrews 5:11-14. The assumption for the Christian life is that growth is an ongoing fact of that life—growth as measured by spiritual maturity. There is also implied the idea that the maturity of believers creates the next generation of teachers to lead the next generation of new believers, so that the church (the body of believers, the body of Christ) is continually being renewed by its constant state of growth. The idea here is that there is a food that is absolutely appropriate for infants. But after a time, the expectation should be that more solid food is necessary and appropriate to reflect the growing and maturing of the child. As we expect that in nature, we should expect that spiritually as well. What the author had experienced with his audience was a spiritual “dullness,” literally a sluggishness of spirit. They were essentially lazy in their faith, so much so that the maturity the author had hoped to see in them had been very slow to occur. Even the basic truths of the faith had become difficult for them—not from any lack of information but rather from a lack of experience in practicing the information they had. So then the author reminds them of those “elementary teachings” of which he is hoping they will soon be able to use not as a first principle of learning but rather as a foundation from which to mature. As he says, Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so—Hebrews 6:1-3. What the author is saying that, having once experienced the fundamental, foundational teachings of the faith, we shouldn’t have to experience them again as a newborn would, learning them all over again as if for the first time. They should now be our springboard to lessons (spiritual “solid food”) for the more mature. In that sense, we never leave the “elementary teachings about Christ” but we grow from within that foundation to more mature living—and the lessons that support that—but we should seek to grow and mature in what we know about Christ, not purely intellectually but to reflect that knowledge spiritually, in our lives. As Paul wrote of his hope for his churches, And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God—Paul, Philippians 1:9-11. And in that same vein, as he shared with the church at Ephesus, I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe—Paul, Ephesians 1:17-19a. So what does this look like? Well, for instance, basic teachings of Christ would focus on repentance and faith, focusing on what God through Christ has done for us. Moving on from that would be building a life that now lives reflecting what Christ has done for us by showing forgiveness to one another, compassion for one another, and also the ability to minister to those outside the Kingdom, partially by reflecting the Kingdom in their own lives. It should always be the goal of the believer to continue to more and more reflect the image of the Son. As Peter said in some of the last words of his life, [G]row in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—II Peter 3:18a.

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