Day 8

Go on to Maturity

from the Hebrews reading plan

Hebrews 5:11-14, Hebrews 6:1-12, Proverbs 2:1-11, Philippians 3:12-16

BY Elaine Phillips

There are two elephants in the theological room today.

Simply put, as the author of Hebrews describes, we often lack enthusiasm for wrestling with biblical truths, especially when they are challenging. We are too prone to mutter, “Whatever!”

This was also an issue for the audience receiving the book of Hebrews. In today’s reading, as soon as the discussion of the supremely remarkable “priest forever” (Hebrews 5:6), Melchizedek, was just getting underway, the author breaks off. It’s as though someone had just said the equivalent of “Why do we need to talk about Melchizedek anyway?” We can infer that the audience was content with matters the author declared to be elementary—mere baby food. 

And now to the second elephant: it sounds like I can lose my salvation! That butts up against dearly treasured assurances. Isn’t it ironic that the discussion on Melchizedek is postponed, and instead, we address this gnarly topic?

It starts on a somber note: “It is impossible…” (Hebrews 6:4). In the Greek text, readers are left hanging. We only discover what is “impossible” after we first read that these persons have been enlightened, tasted, and shared in the Holy Spirit. “Taste” does not mean a tentative superficial sample; it means to enjoy fully. These sound like bona fide children of the living God. The words could be testimonies in a revival service. Their spiritual journeys, however, come to a crashing halt. Most of us know individuals who affirmed their belief in the transforming power of the Word and Spirit but chose to step away. That move implies deliberate disavowal. 

Enter the land metaphor with the key word—“cultivated” (v.7). Caring for land is hard work; so is cultivating our souls. Thorns and thistles speak volumes of neglected land. To riff momentarily on the earlier metaphor, those who stay on baby food or only milk may have compromised immune systems later. When virulent spiritual viruses attack them, they succumb, especially if they have not learned to discern evil from good, an exercise lodged in the study of the Word.

To be sure, the author is confident of “better” things for the “dearly loved” audience (v.9). Rather than tie up loose theological ends into a nice package, the admonition goes directly to our tendency to coast when rest is not appropriate in the face of evil within and without. We need to be warned lest we neglect necessary spiritual disciplines. 

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Go on to Maturity"

  1. Lois East says:

    Such good insight

  2. Sydney Scott says:

    Let us grow from the Milk. So we can eat the feast!

  3. Sydney Scott says:

    Good points you guys (Emily and Carissa) I loved this passage. If we neglect our salvation, if we neglect God… if we simply want the salvation and not Jesus… we will not endure. Yet the Lord keeps his children in the faith. Those who continue in faith and patience. Lord Jesus, keep us. We must have you keep us. Guard our path, shield us, lead us to Jesus always. He knows us. He has us. Let us rest in him, and run to Him, and come to him in confidence. Only by faith in you are we saved. Let us continue in this. Bear fruit in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit, to continue. To glorify YOUR name. Trust YOU for daily provision and life, not ourselves. Jesus you took care of our sin. Let us live in obedience because we love you. Because we trust your love is enough. Let us never try to earn that which is a gift. God help us. We are saved not by works but by your mercy, by YOUR work. Amen

  4. Emma Babbitt says:

    But you can actively reject it. “Lose” implies it was misplaced— an accident.

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