About this 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 need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food (Hebrews 5:11-12).
Many believers experience this problem. They make a decision to follow Christ, they eliminate a couple of bad habits, like swearing and drinking, they add a couple of good habits, like coming to church and helping out with Vacation Bible School in the summer; however, they don’t really strive for spiritual maturity. They can recite the basics – Jesus died for my sins, I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Jesus is coming back someday to judge the world – but they are not aggressively pursuing a life of mature, grounded, obedient holiness.
Here’s the problem. You cannot remain in “neutral” in the Christian life. The Christian walk is an uphill climb. What happens when you put your car in neutral on a hill? You roll backward. It’s the same way for a disciple. If you are not in gear, you will roll backwards. If you are not gaining ground, then you will lose ground.
So the writer of Hebrews says, “Let’s move on to maturity. Let’s not stay here spinning our wheels, going over the same first-step doctrines again and again.” Then he introduced one of the most controversial passages of the New Testament. It’s controversial because it’s difficult to decipher. Theologians have struggled with this passage for centuries. I do not presume to have the final word on it – not by a long shot. But I will tell you what I understand about it.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God. When I approach Scripture I strive to discern what God is saying to me and to the people of our church through its pages. When a passage leaves me scratching my head, I rely heavily on what pastors and teachers and theologians have uncovered about the text throughout the ages.
Next time, I will continue this thought, but in the meantime, I don’t see this passage or its context as problematic. A scientist does not abandon science just because he encounters some questions that science cannot answer. A mathematician does not abandon mathematics when he encounters an equation he cannot solve. And we do not abandon the Bible when we come across passages that we do not fully understand. Instead, we learn what we can and we keep seeking the truth.
Because of Jesus,