Commentary by Walter Albritton
Growing Up and Moving On Toward Maturity
Hebrews 5:11 – 6:12
Key Verse: 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. – Hebrews 6:1
The writer of Hebrews quits meddling and starts preaching! He speaks plainly and urgently. As a loving parent might say to a lazy, apathetic child, he says to his readers, “Grow up! You can no longer be content with the “milk” of the gospel; you must learn to digest the “meat” of the gospel.”
The elementary truths about Christ are the milk. The deeper truths of the faith are the meat. When our boys were infants, they were satisfied with a bottle of milk or applesauce. However, as they matured, they began to eat solid food. How tragic it would have been for them to grow up but remain content with the food of infants.
This, regrettably, is the predicament of the early Christians to whom this letter was written. They had settled for immaturity when they ought to have been striving toward spiritual maturity. Many present-day Christians are in a similar predicament. They prefer to stay in the kindergarten of faith, drinking milk, rather than do the hard work necessary to become mature, well-informed disciples of Christ. An example of this lethargy can be found in most adult Sunday School classes; lesson quarterlies are seldom studied by anyone except the designated teacher.
The writer makes his point with another analogy. These Hebrew Christians are content to remain students when, by now, they should have become teachers. He uses “teachers” in a broad sense, for he means much more than persons who teach others in a classroom. He wants growing Christians to teach by moral example and by a Christlike lifestyle.
He wants them to understand that spiritual immaturity is a major problem that results in spiritual dullness. Mediocrity can retard our growth, causing us to live like babes in Christ rather than like men and women who maturing by probing the deeper truths of our faith. If we are to discern between good and evil, we must learn to wrestle with greater issues than the ABCs of the faith.
The writer warns the Christians not to retreat to Judaism but to allow the Spirit to lead them into genuine, mature faith. Specifically, he warns them of the grave danger of being cut off from God’s mercy if, having “tasted the goodness of the word of God,” they “fall away.” Those who reject Christ are certain to face the judgment of God and miss the eternal reward reserved for the faithful.
He affirms the
Christians, complimenting them for their good work and “labor of love.” He
expresses confidence that God will not forget their service to him. Therefore,
he pleads, be diligent and persevere in the faith. He issues a clarion call to
be intentional about growing in the faith so that they may realize their full
potential as servants of Christ. His admonition to the Hebrew Christians
reminds us of
This lesson is a wake up call to us all to resist the temptation to rest on our laurels and be content with our spiritual maturity. We must not give in to lethargy that causes us to settle for mediocrity. We must grab ourselves by the nap of the neck and plead with the Holy Spirit for a fresh anointing that can propel us forward toward maturity. To settle for less will be a disgrace to the One who bought us with his own blood.
If we persevere, constantly seeking a deeper walk with Christ, one day by the grace of God we will be able to say as Paul did near the end of his life: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).
No lesser goal can be acceptable to Christians who are surely called to “go on to perfection.” + + + + (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)