The Danger of Not Growing Spiritually. Heb 6:1-4
Grow in the knowledge of Christ.
The author starts the 6th chapter of Hebrews with an exhortation. He expresses his concern about reader’s spiritual infancy and the danger of spiritual apostasy. They were dull of hearing the Word of God and thus became the slow learners. Laziness had led them to ignorance and apathy into spiritual infancy. The sign of infancy is the inability to discern good and evil. The pathway to spiritual maturity is to go beyond baby food. Foundation is important but once it is set, we must move on to maturity. So the writer urges his readers to leave the elementary teachings about Christ and move on to maturity. Paul warned Timothy that the time will come, people will chose only what they want to hear and remain immature in the faith (2 Timothy 4:3, 4). Basic doctrines are the first principles of the oracles of God. But Christians should grow into a fuller knowledge of Christ to become mature. Matured Christians are those who understand the deeper truths about Christ and distinguish truth from error. The elementary teachings fall into three groups. Repentance and faith; Baptism and laying on of hands; Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
Dead works will not save us. 6:1.
Dead works are the works unsaved person does to please God to earn salvation (9:14). Our good works have no saving merit before God. Repentance is the radical reorientation of our outlook towards sin and God which results change in behavior. They will turn away from idols to serve the true and living God (1 Thess 1:9). Remorse is not repentance. Only godly sorrow can produce repentance (2 Cor 7:8-10). Repentance is vital and it must be a daily experience. Faith, on the other hand is both trust and obedience to God. It is more than the knowledge in the existence of God (James 2:23-25). Someone has said "To believe; mind must be convinced, hearts must be consumed with love and will must be committed in obedience". Forcing someone to believe is authoritarianism. Pleading without explaining could lead to sentimentalism. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God (Rom 10:17). .
Baptism has no saving merit.6:2.
The doctrine f baptisms and laying on of hands are the outwards ordinances. The baptisms mentioned here is in plural. These refer to baptismal rites of either Jew or gentiles. They are external in nature and purify only flesh and not conscience (9:13, 14). Only saved people should be baptized according to the commandment of Christ (Matt 28:19, 20). The laying on of hands was symbolic of ordination, recognition and identification (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6). It does not impart any special grace. Resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment are eschatological doctrines revealed in the Old Testament and as well as in the New Testament. The writer warns that to matured spiritually Christians should leave these basic principles and advance to a higher knowledge of Christ. Also the writer recognizes that we will do this with God’s help and blessing (6:9).
Immaturity can lead to apostasy. 6:3.
If we are not growing spiritually, we may be carried away by the errors of false teachers. Many Christians lack maturity because they never had a good foundation. Spiritual maturity comes as a result of constant use of the Word of God. They train themselves to recognize the difference between good and evil and then do what is right (5:14). We are exhorted to grow in the grace and in the knowledge our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Also we are strengthened by grace (2 Timothy 2:1). Paul testifies that "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain" (1 Cor 15:10). The writer of Hebrews warns his hearers the peril of turning away from Christ (3:12-19). The interpretation of verses 4-8 has been widely disputed among Christians. Falling away from the faith is a real danger to professing Christians. The parable of the sower clearly reveals this truth (Matt 13). True believer is not in danger of losing his salvation. No one can be saved, then become unsaved, and then be saved again.
The Bible alone is the Word of God that reveals Christ.
To know Christ we have to study the Bible and make the Bible part of our daily life. The Bible alone is the Word of God. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. The Scriptures are not only profitable for salvation but also prepare and motivate us to serve God (2 Tim 3:16-17). The Bible points out what displeases God and helps us to get right with God. Hebrew Christians knew the basic principles but did not profit them because of lack of growth in their faith. They were not growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thus they were in danger of apostasy. Pray that God helps us to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.