For the Mature

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 6:53 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 5:11-6:12 (NASB).

Marks of Immaturity (5:11-14)

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Concerning Jesus Christ, we have much to say. Although he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – he left his home in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, encouraged the timid, delivered people from demons, and performed many miracles when he walked the face of this earth. He spoke many encouraging and comforting words, as well as he told the people the truth about their sin, about their eternal destiny, and concerning the cost of following him as their Lord and Savior (See: Lu. 9:23-25). And, he gave messages of hope and healing to all who would put their trust in Him.

Jesus came to the earth with one main mission in mind – to die on a cross for our sins. When he died our sins died with him and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over hell, sin, Satan and death on our behalf. He died to take the punishment of our sins for us so that we could be delivered from condemnation. He also died to give us eternal life with him, for those believing in him, beginning at the moment we believe, throughout our lives on this earth, and into our future home of heaven when we leave this earth. Yet, that is not all. He also died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness. He died to deliver us out of slavery to sin so that we could become bond-servants of him and of his righteousness. He died to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that we could receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in him.

Yet, many who have believed in Jesus Christ have not moved past the elementary truths concerning our salvation and on to maturity in Christ, and one of the reasons appears to be that they have become dull of hearing, i.e. they don’t want to know anything beyond just their initial salvation from sin. They are content remaining spiritual infants. And, so they are not really growing in their relationship with Christ, and in his Word, so that they can have their senses trained to discern good from evil. I am sure they do know that lying, cheating, stealing, etc. is wrong, but their consciences can be seared or they can become desensitized to evil if they do not mature in their walks of faith, and if they are greatly exposed to the things, philosophies, values and practices of this sinful world, primarily via TV and the internet.

Fallen Away (6:1-8)

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

So, what’s the big deal if someone decides to remain a spiritual infant and not move on to maturity? They still get to go to heaven when they die, right? Or not. There are so many scriptures that teach us that choosing to receive Christ as Savior of our lives is not a done deal, i.e. it is not a guarantee of heaven and eternal life with God. Why isn’t it? Because Jesus didn’t die just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His purpose in saving us from our sins was not merely to take the punishment for our sin, but to deliver us out of slavery to sin and that we might be resurrected to new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” He didn’t call us just so we could go to heaven when we die. He called us to be a holy people for him while we still live on the earth.

So, his goal is for us to mature in him. His goal is to conform us into the image of Christ. So, what is the danger if we don’t mature? I believe it is that we could fall away from grace, and that we could turn away from our God, and reject what he did for us on the cross, and for our belief to turn to unbelief. What this passage describes here is not someone who just professes to know Christ. This is someone who was a partaker of the Holy Spirit. We can’t partake of the Holy Spirit if we did not genuinely believe in him. This is saying, and many other passages like it are saying that it is possible for us, if we do not continue in the faith we had at the beginning, to fall away never to return to our Lord, and we need to take this seriously.

Faith and Patience (6:9-12)

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Our decision to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives is not a one-time experience, then we live life how we want it, and then we go to heaven when we die. There are things which must accompany our salvation, such as repentance, obedience and submission to Christ and to his cross. But, these are not things we do in our own flesh. Even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is a gift from God, i.e. a divine persuasion of his will. He even grants us repentance, and gives us the ability to obey him. We just have to yield control of our lives over to him, and cooperate with the Spirit’s work of grace in our lives. And, our Lord will give us all we need to live godly, holy lives pleasing to him.

There are many, many scriptures which teach what this passage teaches regarding our salvation. This is yet another scripture which encourages us or which instructs us to show the same diligence we had at the beginning until the end. This also warns us that if we don’t, we are in danger of becoming sluggish in our relationships with our Lord. And, yet there is encouragement (exhortation) that we become imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. And, if we do follow our Lord in obedience, in surrender to his will for our lives, and we become his ministers (his servants) in showing his love and grace to others, and in sharing the gospel of our salvation so that others can come to know him, too, our work will be rewarded. We may not always see how God is using us now, but we can be assured that if we are following him, he has a plan and a purpose for what he has called us to do, and his Word will accomplish what he desires.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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