WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – It’s fun and exciting to help kids eat their first bites, learn their first words, and take their first steps. However, if they need that same help when they’re 20, something’s wrong. If they have normal capabilities but haven’t made normal progress, something needs to be fixed.
That was the case with many of the Hebrew Christians receiving this letter. Some had been believers for years but had made little progress. They were still dependent on their teachers. “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food” (Heb. 5:12). The author was very concerned and was determined to help them move on to maturity:
“Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this” (Heb. 6:1-3).
They had begun where all Christians start: They’d been saved on the foundation of repentance and faith, and they had been taught the basics of Christianity:
- To be baptized – “Ritual washings” in this passage is literally “baptisms;” mainly baptism in water, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and baptism in fire (difficulty).
- To lay hands on one another – For the reception of the Holy Spirit, for healing, and for commission to ministry.
- To see past this earthly life – There will be a resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment in which the lost will be sent to eternal punishment and the saved to eternal life.
Those are great beginnings, but they’re only beginnings, the “milk” necessary for the first stage of life. But these folks were spiritually old enough to be eating “solid food.” The author noted two reasons they were stuck:
- Spiritual laziness – “We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand” (Heb. 5:11).
- Lack of training – “But solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). The mature have trained their senses through practice at godly living. They no longer need someone to tell them what to do and what not to do.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – Healthy spiritual life is divided into the same three phases as healthy human life: In the first phase, you’re dependent on someone else feeding you. In the second phase, you’re becoming skilled in feeding yourself. In the third phase, you begin to feed others younger than you.
If most of what you learned about following Christ this week you learned from the Sunday sermon, you’ve been living in Phase 1. That’s OK, but you need to be moving to Phase 2. You need to learn to feed yourself, and the only way you learn that is by doing it. That’s why I’m writing these devotionals on one point in each chapter. I want to encourage you about how much meat there is in one passage so you’ll look for more in the rest of the chapter.
And if you’ve been feeding yourself in the Scriptures for a while, it’s time to start feeding others. Here’s how to start: When God shows you something “tasty” in your study, ask Him to bring someone across your path this week who needs that very morsel. He’ll do it.