“1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (NKJV).
Jesus is the only Way to salvation. This is clearly laid out in the book of the Hebrews. It cannot be avoided without some serious omissions. Now that this is established, we can move on. Paul, who is commonly promoted as the writer here, goes on to help these Jewish people and believers to see that there is common ground between the Judaism that they grew up with and Christianity that he is showing them. And, who better than a former Pharisee to help these Jews to see the truth and to come to the right conclusion? True Christians cannot hate Jews. Salvation is from the Jews; Jesus IS a JEW. He is the King of the Jews; this was legally recognized by the Roman government at Jesus’ crucifixion.
Paul goes on to tell these Jews that it is time to mature to move on from the ‘elementary principles,’ the building blocks that we use as a foundation. If we do not move on, then all we have is a foundation but no building to use and inhabit. Too many Christians are stuck at the foundation part; they never mature past the rudiments of the faith, and they become stagnant. Stagnant persons are not of any value to the Kingdom. They take and take but never contribute.
- Perfection, verse 1
Paul encourages us to move on to ‘perfection.’ The word here is ‘teleiotes’; it is not that of complete perfection. We have the Holy Spirit in us as a ‘down payment’ on our eternal life.
Ephesians 1:14, “The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory” (Common English Bible).
So, we have the Holy Spirit living in us; we are called the Temple of God, as God is in us; and we have eternal life. One day, we get perfect perfection when we get our new bodies, and our minds finish their renewal at the end. We see this in Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV):
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
The word then does not refer to the perfection we will get at the end of this age, so what ‘perfection’ is it referring to? It is one of maturity. We will never reach the perfection that we crave as God’s children here on earth, but in Jesus and on the foundation of Jesus, we can begin to grow a certain maturity that prepares us for the new body, and, even here, transforms our mind to think and act more like Jesus.
He is speaking this to the Jews, reminding them that Christianity has some of the same principles as Judaism, things like repentance, faith in God, baptism and resurrection. If they will open their eyes, open their hearts and take an honest look, they too will become mature in Jesus.
- Maturity, verse 1
What is the importance of maturity? Spiritual maturity is very important for a few reasons, and I will lay them out for you. Mature people contribute to others and help others to grow. Immature people take up time and resources and cannot be trusted to work. Mature Christians can handle the harsh and often turbulent times of life. They are not easily beaten and defeated; they stand and keep moving ahead. They are able to handle pain and can help others handle pain. Immature Christians crumble at adversity and seek attention for their pain. As a result, they are incapable of helping others with their pain.
Immature people only think of themselves, and the mature Christian is always looking for a way to help others, even at one’s own cost. Immature Christians always crave attention, like the kid that wants every little doodle they make to be put on the fridge. Mature Christians relish the idea that God would want to use sinful persons like them, and they give God the glory. Immature Christians are touchy, easily offended, and long to be catered to. Mature Christians are tough, almost never offended, and make allowances for others, even ones we disagree with.
Sadly, immature Christians are a blight on the modern church; they flit from church to church, using up resources and never investing in themselves. They take and take, never learning to give. They are immature. Sadly, if you have immature kids, you will know they live in the disillusionment of maturity. Many Christians are the same way; they are blind to their immaturity, and only an act of God will change them. Paul is telling us to move on to perfection; maturity. Move on from the foundational blocks of Christianity and begin to build and prepare for the next life. Mature Christians live for eternity; they seek a new home, live by new rules (see the Beatitudes), and live for Christ.
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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