Today’s Reading: Hebrews 5 & 6
When we choose not to grow, we do not just remain stagnant. We begin slowly drifting away. Our relationship with God needs to be current – not just “current” as in happening at the present time, but “current” as in a body of water steadily MOVING FORWARD in a definite direction. God has a plan for us to be used for His purposes and we need to allow Him to refine us and make us into exactly who He created us to be. Listen to the writer of Hebrew’s frustration with the complacency of the believers:
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. – Hebrews 5:11-14
Father, we stop right here and ask for you to reveal to us ANY way in which we may be guilty of what the writer of Hebrews is accusing the Jewish Christians. Have we become spiritually dull? Are we not listening to what you are saying? Are we comfortably stuck on “milk” when you are ready to MOVE US FORWARD into a deeper knowledge of you? Lord, help us to grow and become mature in our understanding. Train us to recognize the difference between right and wrong. May the study of your word be alive and active, sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. Expose our innermost thoughts and desires and refine us into a tool to be used by you (4:12).
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will MOVE FORWARD to further understanding. – Hebrews 6:1-3
There is no reason to turn away from God or lose hope in His promises. We can trust that what God promises is true and what He promises He will do. God promises He will condemn those who turn away from Him and reject the Son of God. But He also promises eternity to those who hold on to their faith and show endurance in all situations. You can be certain that what you hope for will come true when you fully put your trust in God!
For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened – those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come – and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.
When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, AS YOU STILL DO. Our great desire is that you will KEEP ON loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. THEN you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. – Hebrews 6:4-12
Hebrews gives us the example of the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham, “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number” (6:14). Abraham believed in God’s faithfulness and patiently waited for God to do as He had promised. Just like Abraham, we can be perfectly sure that God will not change His mind because it is impossible for God to lie (6:17-18).
Since we are in the midst of our Christmas celebrations, let me use Mary as another example. The angel told Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God even though she was a virgin and she believed. The angel told her that nothing was impossible for God and she believed. The angel told her that Elizabeth was pregnant and she rushed over to her house in faith that what the angel said was true. Mary believed that the Lord would do what He said He would do! We can have this same confidence.
Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek (6:18b-20).
Jesus is our High Priest. That sounds like a great place to pick up tomorrow morning!