Spiritual Growth; June 11, 2019

Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

I’ve heard it said that the things mentioned here as “foundational” would constitute a pretty high-level course in most seminaries today! The fact is, the majority of church members have very little foundation at all to their faith, which makes them easy prey for the devil and his lies. We run into trouble from the first item mentioned, arguing that where the Greek says “dead works,” that surely must be “acts that lead to death.” The original thought includes not only flagrant sins, but also legalism itself. Those who congratulate themselves for not doing “the bad stuff” are all too often trusting in “the good stuff” they do to save them, rather than in the totally undeserved grace of God. Every other one of the things mentioned here is likewise a subject of misunderstanding and argument in the Church. Whatever happened to “unity in the faith?” (Ephesians 4:13) Spiritual growth is essential, but as C. S. Lewis pointed out, one thing we can be sure of is that when we get to heaven, every last one of us will be shown to have had it wrong in some way, but the cross of Christ is sufficient to cover it all. Just yesterday I was listening to a podcast about a book that discusses various “giants of the faith,” pointing out that each one had some pretty glaring faults. We aren’t to be satisfied with our own “level of perfection,” but we need to cut some slack for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to encourage growth and maturity in those around us, sharing what the Lord has taught us, but doing so in all humility, knowing that we too are doubtless wrong somewhere.

As a pastor with Teacher gifting, I identify 100% with this passage, but I also recognize the trap of pride. I am to be secure in my convictions, but know that at the very least I don’t have the full picture. I am to check every new teaching against the Bible, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not get swept away by the religious fads that seem to be never-ending. At the same time, I must remember there is no box big enough to fit God into, and stop trying to do so. He is big enough to do anything He likes, and my standards of decorum don’t apply. I am to recognize my own immaturity and seek to keep growing, at the same time I encourage those around me to do so. God’s grace covers us all.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the books and other material You have been bringing my way recently. Help me gain from them what You intend, not going off on any tangents but moving forward into all that You have planned, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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