The Need For Maturity
Verse 1 – Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Verse 2 – of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Those who have been acquainted with the basic foundations of Christianity for a while, should move on to the greater mysteries. The idea is to advance to higher doctrines.
In other words: Let us advance to a higher knowledge of truth and holiness His intent was for them and us to advance from the elementary foundations to the point where we would not turn back – the danger of apostasy.
Note: The word baptisms has a S, because there are two baptisms involved with Christianity – water and then by or in the Holy Spirit by Christ.
Laying on of hands; in healing the sick; in ordination to office; and the imparting influence of the Holy Spirit.
The resurrection of the dead is one of the important foundations of Christian beliefs. It is the foundation of all hope in Christianity for an eternal life with Christ. No other system of religion can be found where the believers are raised to a life with God for all eternity, with proof such as Christianity has.
Verse 3 – And this we will do if God permits.
Meaning: Paul believed and had confidence that though they had lingered long around the elementary foundations of Christianity, they would advance to higher attainments.
Verse 4 – For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
Verse 5 – and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
Verse 6 – if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Some believe these verses are not intended for the true Christians, but only those who have been awakened and enlightened by the gospel and then fall back. We have to keep in mind that Paul is writing to true Hebrew Christians at that time. He was endeavoring to keep them from apostasy. It was to preserve those who were already true Christians, from going back to perdition. Paul was talking about Christians that had tried Christianity and had then rejected it, because they had rejected the only plan for salvation. They cannot be saved twice because Christ cannot be crucified again.
“Falling away” – going back to a state of Judaism, paganism, or a life-style of sin.
Let me make something clear: Most people who are concerned about these verses, that at one time or another have back – slidden, more than likely didn’t have the understanding of truly being born-again, so yes there was and is repentance. But I don’t know of anyone who back-slides more than once. I believe that they were never truly saved in the first place. Why? Because I was one. I thought I had done too much to be forgiven for and therefore stayed away. I had very little understanding of the gospel at that time. All I knew was, “Get saved or You are going to hell!”
However, when a light goes off and the Holy Spirit grips your heart, there will be no turning back!
Verse 7 – For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessings from God;
Verse 8 – but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Land that produces, shows that it has been cultivated and nurtured. Land that produces thorns and briers, is worthless and will be burned up.
There is a strong warning in these two verse for those who profess to be renewed, but yet show no evidence of such faith.
Verse 9 – But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
Paul is saying he trusts that they are true Christians; that they will produce proper fruits of holiness; in the things that pertain to salvation.
Verse 10 – For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
God never forgets what a Christian is doing for the kingdom. He sees the sincere heart that labors for Him.
Verse 11 – And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,
Verse 12 – that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
As Christians, we are to persevere in our faith; doing good works; encouraging others; praying; and studying God’s word. Sometimes discouragement is a deal-breaker for some. They will stop praying and believing that God is able to turn their situation around and then before long, they fall away. Our hope and assurance is not placed in man. People will fail where only God can prevail.
Verse 13 – For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
Verse 14 – saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
God cannot lie! Did His promise to Abraham come to pass? Yes, it did! Why is it so hard for Christians to believe that all God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen!”
Verse 15 – And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Did you catch the words “patiently endured?” We are to endure and wait on the Lord to fulfill His promises.
Verse 16 – For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of dispute.
Abraham’s faith in God’s promise, did not waver. He had a confident expectation that what God promised would come to pass. He believed God! Shouldn’t we as Christians also believe what is written about us being His children and giving us an abundant life?
Verse 17 – Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
Verse 18 – that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
For God to lie, it would be against His nature. God’s promises do not change This hope of eternal life with our beloved Savior, has been set before us and is not subject to change!
Verse 19 – This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Verse 20 – where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Our hope in Christ, our anchor for our very soul. Hope accomplishes for the soul the same thing an anchor does for a ship. The anchor secures a ship when the waves beat and the winds blow, as long as the anchor holds. So with the soul of the Christian. In the tempests and trials of life, our mind stays calm as long as our hope of heaven is firm, not giving way to “feelings.”
Steadfast and steady on course will lead us to that blessed promise land!