Moving on to Maturity in Christ

Hebrews 6:1-3 ESV

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”

What is the elementary doctrine of Christ? It is that we must no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) like the ungodly. We must not give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not the way we should have learned Christ. For the truth that is in Christ Jesus teaches us to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (see Eph 4:17-32; cf. Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).

We also read in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died and was raised, on our behalf. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies (with our lives). And he died so we would be crucified with him in death to sin and so we would be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him free from slavery to sin (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).

As well, we read that we must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, for if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we don’t know God, we are not in relationship with Jesus Christ, our sins are not forgiven, and we are not on our way to heaven. For we are all going to reap what we sow. And if we sow to please the flesh, we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Gal 6:7-8).

Now, what this is saying is that we should get to the point in our walks of faith to where we don’t need to keep rehashing these elementary teachings and to where we can now move on to maturity in Christ. But the problem with that today is that so many people are teaching a false elementary gospel and so the truth of the gospel is having to be repeated because so many professers of faith in Jesus don’t really know Jesus for they never were crucified with Christ in death to sin, and so they were never raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, and so they need to be taught the truth of the gospel so that they can come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”

Now, this is a difficult passage to interpret, for there are other Scriptures which indicate that one can fall away, for a time, and can be brought back to repentance and to renewed faith in Jesus Christ (see the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3, for example).

But how does this passage in Hebrews 6:4-6 fit with verses 1-3? Perhaps the indication is that there were those professing faith in Jesus Christ who never went beyond the elementary teachings of the gospel to literal walks of faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps they repented once and once made a profession of faith in Jesus but they never walked in obedience to his commands. They did not continue with Christ, and so they never grew to maturity in Christ.

But one thing is for certain here and that is that the Scriptures do teach that we must walk (in practice, in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We must by the Spirit daily be putting the deeds of the flesh to death and we must walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. For our salvation is ongoing, not a one-time event which takes place in our lives, and we must continue in that walk of faith until the very end or we will not inherit eternal life with God.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Lu 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 1 Jn 2:24-25]

Hebrews 6:9-12 ESV

“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

So, what things belong to salvation? Works of the Spirit by the Spirit, which are the works God prepared in advance that we should walk in them. We are to daily die to sin and to self and to walk in obedience to our Lord. We are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain. And we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

And we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) in a manner worthy (fitting) of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work. And we are to be cleansed of what is dishonorable so that we will be vessels for honorable use, set apart to our Lord and master, ready for every good work. And we are to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. For Jesus gave himself up to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

For God is going to render to each one according to his works. And if sin is what we practice and if righteousness and obedience are not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we walk according to the Spirit, and we obey our Lord, and we forsake our sins, and we do what our Lord commands, then we have the hope of eternal life with God.

So, let’s grow to maturity in Christ. Let’s walk in the ways of the Lord, not just because it is required of us for salvation and for eternal life, but because we love our Lord and our desire is to please him. Let’s do what he says because we want to serve him with our lives, and because we love our fellow humans and we are concerned for their salvation and for their walks of faith that they know him and that they grow in him and that they obey him in love and that they also love their fellow humans.

[Eph 2:10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; Rev. 2-3; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:6,16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

A Believer’s Prayer

An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

2 thoughts on “Moving on to Maturity in Christ

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