Scripture: 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. Hebrews 6:1-2
Observation: Having urged this spiritually young church to seek God’s mercy and grace confidently, the author of Hebrews turns their attention to Christ’s superiority over their earthbound order of human intercessors (priests). In Christ, we no longer need religious leaders to represent us before our Creator—to make sacrifices to the Lord on our behalf. For the Father perfected obedience in his incarnate Son through suffering, and thus Christ became our ultimate source of forgiveness and eternal salvation (5:7-10). Then, with a tone of frustration, the author of Hebrews addresses ungodly behavior amongst the flock that has led some astray from the Truth. Hence, he exhorts the church to mature in their faith—to move beyond elementary teachings of Christian praxis (6:1-2 above).
Takeaway: Perhaps the biggest challenge we face as church leaders is how to allocate human resources to mature our members in their faith. Of course, our leaders must commit to growing in their knowledge and application of the church’s historical teachings, for we cannot lead others where we are not already going. The temptation, though, is to focus most of our resources on reaching the lost. It is not as taxing of our volunteers and is more energizing. But when we fail to invest in discipling new members, we become a revolving door. And for those who stray, who have “tasted the heavenly gift” but wander from it, they jeopardize their souls (6:3-8).
So what would the author suggest to rectify this ongoing failure of the church? He cites a two-point approach: earnestly foster our hope in Christ to the end of our life journeys—avoiding complacency (6:11), and fervently follow the godly example of those who patiently pursue their promised heavenly inheritance (6:12). In sum, it is a call to preach the good news, instruct believers with the entire doctrine of our faith revealed in Scripture, and invest our time to support, encourage, and hold accountable those who seek to grow in their faith. Indeed, it is time-consuming and requires much of us, but this is Christ’s Great Commission: to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for those who have come alongside us to help us mature in our faith. Would you please help us pay it forward and follow the lead of your Holy Spirit, that we might invest our time and resources to move hearers of the Truth to doers of their faith? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling