The Spiritual Man Series
“5.11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain, because you are dull of hearing. 12Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to reteach you the basic principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food! 13For everyone who lives on milk is still an infant, inexperienced in the message of righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their senses to distinguish good from evil.
6.1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity (perfection), not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Heb. 5.11 – 6.2
It is good to show a continuation from Hebrews 5.11 through Hebrews 6.2. Though these verses are divided by chapters, they represent one continuous flow of thought. This flow of thought is indicated by the conjunction beginning Chapter 6, “Therefore.” This simple word in the Greek, dio, expresses two directions—looking back (to being an infant) to properly looking forward (to going on to maturity). It literally means that one who only feeds on the milk of the Word cannot be a true teacher or instructor of the Word until he becomes mature and feeds upon the meat of the Word. As an infant, something is missing in his understanding and life experiences. Though he possesses a foundation knowledge in the Word, which is the sincere milk of the Word, that is all he has to his understanding. As an infant, he is yet to come into a higher knowledge and practice of a spiritual adult. Thus a union must be forged between increased knowledge and practice (or experiencing the Word.)
The apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When ten I became a man, I set aside childish ways.” 1 Cor. 13.11 His inference was of course in the natural. For example, there was this humorous instance in which a little boy successfully counted from 1 to 10. The father then challenged the little boy and asked if he could count it backwards, meaning from 10 to 1. The little boy promptly turns around backwards (with his back to his father,) and proceeds to count 1, 2,….10. This immature mind thought he knew exactly what his father wanted but lacked proper understanding. There needs to be a proper connection made between understanding and practice. We can only do what our understanding permits, our knowledge must continually grow, and our understanding refined, until our practice is as an adult. Then we would both think and act like an adult. If this be true in the natural, it is equally true in spiritual matters.
If the evil one, the enemy of our Lord, cannot entice and lure believers into the world and into his own kingdom of darkness, he would at the minimum desire to hold them as spiritual infants where they are not a threat to him. In Satan’s mind, at the worst they can lead others to believe in Jesus Christ to avoid eternal damnation and get into heaven, at the best they remain a poor witness for Christ and are susceptible to delusions, myths, and even down right perversions of the truth. For these are, “infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming.” Eph. 4.14 They are easily deceived and unstable in their ways.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity (perfection), not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Heb. 6.1-2
Neither teachers nor learners should occupy themselves with laying a foundation over and over again. The fact might be surprising to note that the subjects here specified under the foundation, beginning with repentance from dead works, and faith towards God, and including baptisms, laying on of hands, the resurrection, and eternal judgment are “religious” in nature (meaning not necessarily spiritual) and thereby in themselves not distinctively Christian. Any or all of the subjects belonged as part of the Old Covenant Law, or even other ancient religions. They only become transformed into spiritual reality when Jesus is actually received as the Messiah. This is why, the tendency of many converts, especially Jewish, were satisfied to rest with these foundational truths. A most horrific aspect is that they may be all practice as a religion and be absent if the spiritual life imparted through the Spirit of Christ.
O’ how oft do we hear the proclamation, “Believe in Jesus and you will go to heaven when you die,” as if rote religious acts will somehow substitute for the spiritual life imparted received in Christ. This notion suggests God’s goal in all creation, and in sending His Son to die as a blood for sin, is simply to get man into heaven—which fall infinitely short of God’s ultimate plan for man. While visiting a particular church one Sunday morning, a movie was shown shown in place of the Sunday sermon, something suitable for children but certainly not for adults. The sole plot of the movie was to purchase this (train) ticket to heaven—equating salvation through believing in Christ to purchasing a ticket to heaven. Everyone in the movie wanted this train ticket.
A foundation is only as good as the quality of the stones which makes up its base. Weak doctrine as this cannot uphold the Church of Christ. It is too weak and deceptive. It even falls short of being milk of the word suitable for infants. When tested, it will fail. James writes, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Jam. 2.19 Many hold a simple belief in God and in Christ, but that fails to be a ticket to anywhere. The salvation foundation must be surer. On the Day of Pentecost, the day of the birth of the Church in a most glorious fashion, it was Peter who declared, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2.38 This foundation stone is surer, but still a foundation, something to build upon. In this doctrine:
- Belief is called for in the name of Jesus Christ. The name indicating all that he is in divine title and quality, purpose and destiny; and the Christ being the only anointed of God, salvation is in no other name, He alone is the Lamb of God, and His only Son.
- Repent and be baptized is far, far more that modifying a lifestyle and being dipped in water. Succinctly, it represents a putting off the old man with the dying of its nature and the rising up of a new man possessing a new spirit born of God.
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit brings forth the transformation of the soul and opening up of spiritual realities.
As awesome as this is, and the glory that surrounds its understanding and practice, it still represents an element of foundation, the milk of the Word, and its possessor, a child of God. It remains something to build upon.
Building upon the Foundation
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as if through the flames.” 1 Cor. 3.10-15
Here, the apostle Paul not only makes a distinction of a foundation and that of building a higher level understanding and practice of our faith in Christ upon that foundation, but also cautions about how we build upon that foundation. Please understand there are marked differences between building our lives upon outward religious principles, which is really bringing our old nature under the control of who and what we are and what we do and that building our lives upon spiritual principles being transformed by the inward leading and power of His Holy Spirit. An earthly father fully expects his children to grow into a responsible, productive, adults with good judgment through the process of learning, training, and growing in understanding. Even more so, our heavenly Father anticipates the maturing of His children in knowledge and understanding of inward working spiritual principles that literally transforms His children from the inside out. The difference in learning is profound and many fail to draw upon this distinction.
In that Day, upon the return of Christ and our presentation before the judgment throne, we too will be judged, but not according to past sins for that has been dealt with through the blood of Christ, but rewards and loss thereof will be based upon how we have build upon the foundation of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5.10 Here, heaven and hell is not in view of the believers judgment, but the good or bad he has done and his status and function in the Lord’s Kingdom. It must be fully understand that the word for good in this verse means inherently (intrinsically) good, what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life to transform them. These are the gold, silver, and precious gems build into their lives. The bad is the worthless wood, hay and stubble whose end is to be burned. It is what originates from our natural thought, reasoning, and emotions in which we determine the goodness and badness of things—which is actually eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil. Paul cautioned greatly of the ineffectual wisdom of this world to produce spiritual results.
Mysteries and Hidden Wisdom
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Col. 1.9
In each and every place visited by the apostle Paul he laid a sure foundation: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Cor. 2.2 But then, in order to bring the believers into maturity, he would build upon that foundation…
“Among the mature, however, we speak a message of wisdom—but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of the mysterious and hidden wisdom of God which He destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Cor. 2.6-7
One may rightfully ask, “What of this mysterious and hidden wisdom of God? How are the secrets of God revealed?” First of all, I believe God is anxious to reveal these mysteries. However God is Spirit so one must first become spiritually born, in Christ, to receive and understand these hitherto hidden wisdom . Mysteries are not something unknowable. Rather, it is what can only be known through revelation. However initiation into Christ is a prerequisite for such understanding. This is much like when Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Mt. 16.16 Jesus’ immediate reply was, “For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” Mt. 16.17 Thus is the unveiling of the mysteries of God. Outside of Christ no such revelation can be made. Understanding of such truths in the natural realm is by human wisdom alone, which profits little spiritually.
“Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Cor. 14.20
Following may be considered some stones that may be thought of as building stones laid upon the great foundation stone. Such messages are intended to bring maturity to the believer, that is, to build upon the sure foundation found only in Christ. Each topic is briefly introduced without much elaboration, and are given in no respective order… chapters in this series expands on each topic.
2Cor. 5.21; Phil. 1.11
2Tim.1.9; Phil. 3.12-14
Jam. 4.8; Heb. 10.19-22
Col. 1.13; Rev. 11.15-18
Rm. 6.3-8; Gal. 2.19-20
2 Thes. 1.10; 2.1 1Thes. 5.2
Eph. 2.5-6; 1Cor. 15.51-58
The Body of Christ
Eph. 1.22-23; 1Cor. 12.12-28
The Bride of Christ
2Cor.11.2; Rev. 19.7-9
Jn. 4.19-24; Jn. 17.3
Love: Agape, Philio
Jn. 21.15-17; 1Jn. 3.14
Heb. 11.1; 2Cor. 5.7
Phil. 3.12; Eph. 4.13-16
Becoming Spiritually Minded
Rm. 12.2; 1Cor.14.20
Children and Sons of God
Jn. 1.12-13; Rm. 8.14-15
Rm. 8.23; Eph. 1.5
Titus 3.5; 1Pet. 2.23
Col. 1.20; 1Cor.2.2, 3.11;
1Cor. 3.16-17; Eph. 2.21-22