By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington
Focal Passage: Hebrews 6:1-8
A family who moved to a new neighborhood got a late start one morning. As a result, their 6-year-old girl missed her school bus. Though it would make him late, the father agreed to take her to school if she could give him directions. After going in circles for 20 minutes they finally arrived at school, which turned out to be a few miles from where they lived. Patiently the dad asked why they drove all over the neighborhood. She replied, “That’s how the school bus takes me.”
Sometimes your spiritual life is not making much progress because of detours, circle-going, and constant stops. Hebrews 1-5 encourages the readers to move on to maturity and get off dead center. Because of their Jewish background they want to go back to the ceremonial laws rather than move forward toward the cross.
Hebrews 6:1-3 tells them to move on past the ABCs of elementary school. There is nothing wrong with the ABCs of early childhood but there is something wrong if the high school student is still stumbling with them. Babyhood is for babies; maturity is for those who can feed themselves.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “The ABCs of the Christian life are important, but they must be the launching pad and not the parking lot, for the challenge is ‘Let us go on to maturity.’ ”
These fundamental truths in verses 1-3 supply the basis or “foundation” for the Christian to build his life on. They figured prominently in the Apostles’ teaching after the Day of Pentecost. As good as they are, unless the structure is built, the life is immature.
Then in verses 4-6 the writer gives one of the most difficult passages in Scripture. For centuries it has been debated … with good arguments on both sides. The main question is “Who is the writer addressing … the saved or the unsaved?” The evidence seems to point to the saved.
Here are three reasons. 1) The whole book is addressed to Christians, 2) Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3 speaks of them as babes who need to grow up, and 3) Hebrews 6:9-12 addresses them as “dear friends.” The King James Version says “beloved.” Verse 10 speaks of their “love and good works.” Verse 12 says they are to be imitators. These phrases are not applicable to the unsaved.
Verses 4-5 speaks about privileges they once for all enjoyed in the aorist (past) tense — once for all. It does not teach enlightening and tasting to a point of refusal, thus a person is doomed forever. This would make for another “unpardonable sin” that Jesus spoke of.
It does speak about their spiritual weakness in wanting what can be called a “do over.” Sometimes Christians want to get saved again so they can press the restart button rather than work through their own spiritual difficulties and weaknesses. This would mean that Christ would have to go through the shame of another crucifixion for them. This would say to the world that His sacrifice was not sufficient.
An illustration follows these verses. Land that is barren and without moisture only produces thorns and thistles. The only way to deal with them is through burning. Some professed Christians refuse attempts to spur them to holy living. If the thistles are cut down, they grow back. Fire is the remedy. Lives that do not respond to the love God has given them can only end in disgrace. Thankfully the writer says in verse 9, “but in your case we are confident of better things … .”
We must be content with what we have but never with what we are. Personal growth is like riding a bicycle; we’re either moving forward or falling off. Don’t walk away; confess your lack of commitment and begin the journey again. He will be there with you.