The Power of Grace Ministries

March 23

Did you know you are supposed to have a joyful life? Unless we leave the elementary principles of religion and move on into a relationship with Jesus Christ we stay in dead works. 

Hebrews 6:1-2
“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, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrect    

Verse 1 is telling us it is time to grow up as Christians into maturity. When I make that statement in person, I always get at least one comment from someone regarding how long they have been a Christian as if longevity equals maturity. Another funny comment I get is that they have reached that level of maturity. My internal thought is if you have reached this level of maturity why do you feel the need to tell people so? There are some Christians who have reached this level of maturity, and most think they have until you ask them what is the most important in the life of a Christian, and the overwhelming answer is staying away from sin. At that point I simply ask them how does one stay away from sin, and I always get a multitude of answers none of which involve drawing to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. The church as a whole seems to be so sin conscious, and argues so heavily over what are the qualifications for salvation that we tend to stay stuck in the elementary principles of Christ.   

(Note: for those who may not have figured out yet that sin is not the issue between man and God; here are several verses laid out in sequence of importance that support the simplicity of salvation. John 3:16, John 12:31-32 to support 3:16, John 3:17, Romans 8:33-34, John 3:18, & Romans 10:8-10 for the simplicity of action, “John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. John 12: 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself, (Note: peoples is italicized because it was not in the original Greek text, but was added by the original translators to try to help make since of the sentence. Even with “peoples” left in the sentence it does not make since, since all people are not drawn to Jesus-many still reject Him. The truth is when you look at the text as written in Greek, and take out the English punctuation and the numbering of the verses the statement of “drawing all to myself” is actually referring back to “the judgment of this world”). Here is the exact Greek sentence with correct punctuation, but with English words instead of Greek. {Now is judgment of this world; now shall prince of this world be cast out and I, if I be lifted from earth will draw all unto me.}  (Jesus drew all of our sins to Him when He was lifted up on the cross.) John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Romans 10:8-10, 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Fact: God sent Jesus to the earth to pay the price for all man’s sins, and the only sin man will be guilty of at Judgment Day, since Jesus hung on the cross, is in not believing in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  

Hopefully you can clearly see that with such proof that sin has been taken out of the way. For the church to remain so sin conscious, that the church is still stuck in the elementary principles of salvation.   

Verse 2 is the list of elementary principles we are to move past and yet even today nearly 2000 years from the writing of Hebrews, this elementary list, provides the largest battle lines, between all of the different doctrines and religions claiming to be Christian. The last part of chapter 5 is the maturity we are to walk in and that is in our understanding of being in His righteousness, not in trying to gain or maintain it. The foundation of repentance is almost always interpreted as repenting from our sin actions, but I believe the writer of Hebrews is going beyond that. The book of Hebrews is confronting Christian Jews that have gone back into their works of law. I believe he is not only suggesting that we should repent from our dead works which includes sin, but to repent from continually laying down the same foundation over and over which can only lead to religious acts. Even righteous or pious acts performed that we put our faith in as a means to maintain or gain right standing with God are elementary. In fact according to the gospel of Jesus Christ even good religious acts are dead works if done in any effort to gain or maintain righteousness. If righteous actions accounted for righteousness of the person performing the acts, then why did Jesus call the Pharisee’s “white washed tombs”?  We need these foundational principles; we are not being encouraged to ignore them, but to move past them. They are what they are- Foundational, not the final, but the foundation. A mature Christian should not need to be told what he or she must do to overcome the sin in their life, they should be beyond that to the point they are reaching the lost and teaching them the basic principles of life in Christ Jesus. We can never be justified by some good work for God, but only in the belief of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. That is why trusting God in faith is not for sissies, since you will most likely never feel saved. This can only come from having a relationship with the living God through the complete faith on Jesus’ perfect work on the cross and not any of your religious acts.  

I don’t think the writer of Hebrews is saying we should move beyond faith because we know that without faith it is impossible to please God, which is written in Hebrews 11:6. I do believe that we spend too much time searching and trying to find or increase our faith instead of using the faith we have. I all too often hear “if only I could increase my faith?” or “I just don’t have the faith to receive that” It’s not your faith that needs to be increased it is your doubt that needs to be squelched. Jesus told us that if we only have the faith of a mustard seed, Matthew 17:20 we could move mountains. Another miss-conception I hear is “I need a greater infilling of the Holy Spirit.” This is usually followed by some
type of prayer or even some type of waving action as if to be waving in the Holy Spirit. You are either filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit or you are not. Filled is filled, it is not partialed. There is no such word, but I am amazed at the number of Christians that act or believe that the concept of partial infilling is real. That is as crazy as believing there is the old man sin spirit and the born again Jesus spirit battling it out in the same person. 

The author of Hebrews is pointing out that although the doctrines in verse 2 are necessary, there is so much more for Christians living in Christ. I also believe that the majority of Christians and their doctrines are still stuck in these four elementary doctrines; just look at how we act as a people in whole. How many Christians do you see, with any longevity of life in Christ that also has a joyful life? If you are honest you will probably say, “wow, I didn’t know we were to have a joyful life”.