December 12 I Wednesday
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” —Hebrews 6:1-2
Milk is very good for babies. Their digestive capability and nutritional needs are met with milk, and we need the same kind of spiritual food when we first become Christians. Peter writes, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). It is important we take steps to mature, but just as important is digesting and absorbing the six elementary teachings in the opening verse.
“Laying again the foundation of repentance” is a change of mind where we turn from sin that leads to death to dependence on Christ that leads to life. Secondly, “of faith in God” is placing our trust wholly in Him. Thirdly, “the instruction about cleansing rights” is about baptism, a public declaration of our faith that conveys an inward transformation of our hearts. Fourthly, “the laying on of hands” is associated with receiving the Holy Spirit, who lives in and through believers.
Fifthly, “the resurrection of the dead” is life beyond our mortality, the confidence believers have for the future. As Paul eloquently puts it, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). And lastly is “the eternal judgment.” A day is coming when we will be accountable to God, and it is this accountability that gives value and integrity to every human life.
These aspects are the foundation of basic elementary teaching, but this is still milk, a Sunday school curriculum of the Christian life. They are essential, but we must go on to maturity, which is not moving out of these things but growing more deeply into them. For example, there is more to the teaching of righteousness than that we have been forgiven and declared righteous. The far richer, fuller understanding of righteousness is that we have died with Christ, been hidden with Him in God and that He is our righteousness.
Spiritual maturity is about our intimacy with God and about the quality of life and fruitfulness that flows when God is present in our hearts. The Gospel is not just a rescue mission that gets us out of hell and into heaven. That is elementary. The Gospel is about getting God out of heaven and into people; not just declaring us righteous but producing His righteousness in us. If we do not know that, we will live our Christian lives by human tactics, which will leave us frustrated and defeated. Only Christ can live the Christian life and bring us into spiritual maturity, and He is all we need.
Prayer: God in heaven, thank You for the elementary teachings on which the Christian faith is built and that I can grow into spiritual maturity by relationship with You.