Agonizomai: Heb 5:11-14 - Christ - The Food That Matures Us

Monday, December 14, 2009

Heb 5:11-14 - Christ - The Food That Matures Us

Heb 5:11-14 Christ - The Food That Matures Us

Heb 5:11-14 (10... being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.) 11-14 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 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, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


Who needs doctrine!? Just give me Jesus! But which Jesus are we to receive? And how much of Him?

Christ is indeed to be received as if we were little children, for we are reborn and must learn all things new. But we are no more correct to remain spiritual babes than children are to lie in their cribs crying to be fed milk when they are of an age to walk and cook and make their way in the world. Yes, the gospel is simple enough that the very least of humanity can receive and believe it. No, it is not good enough to refuse to go on from there and to call those who do "doctrinaire" or "complicators" or “worshipers of a paper Pope”, or even "bibliolaters".

The difficulty of the deeper things, the intricacies of the truth, the detailed complexion of what God has revealed of Himself in Christ - these things are only made hard by the attitude of the believer. "Ask," God says to the believer, "And it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." {Mt 7:7} And what does the following verse say? "For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

So the professor must ask, must seek, must knock - and if he turns from that frame of mind and ceases to inquire then he ceases to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. He will remain a mere spiritual baby. Babies are wonderfully provided for by God, but they are not meant to be the permanent condition of humanity.

Now the Hebrew believers of the first century had made profession, had grown, had lived and made a show of faith, but they were in danger of turning back. They had somehow and somewhere allowed their faith to be compromised, and they were wavering. This seems to have been evidenced - maybe even originated - in a dullness of hearing. The same facts were available to them. More information was available that they might be deepened in their understanding of the Person of Christ and his High Priestly (and Kingly) office(s).

The first flush of "Messiah has come and he is Jesus" - the excitement of original conversion, the first love, the stars-in-the-eyes phase had passed. Life went on. He hadn’t come back, yet times were getting harder and persecutions more widespread. A gentle loving Jesus Who came from heaven to save them was delaying His return, and what they were holding onto was not meat enough to deal with the tougher issues. The foundations needed shoring up. They had a foundation based on a Jesus about whom they had not grasped (or had, perhaps, relinquished) the significance.


He was the fulfillment of all their peculiar history as a nation. He was the High Priest that prior high priests only foreshadowed. He was the King of Whom all prior kings (including David) were mere prefigures. If they studied and sought and asked, they would know this, and knowing it they would not be tempted to go back to the mere advertisement when the real product was before them.

Had they misunderstood? Was their faith in vain? The perfect had come and, by now, they ought to have come to a fuller understanding of this teaching, so that they would no longer, like Lot’s wife, be found looking back to things that had been superseded. The fact that they were wavering indicated that they either had indeed misunderstood, or that they were in process of apostatizing.

Notice also that the truth is not simply a matter of knowledge alone. It begins in knowledge and not in mysticism. It engages the hearing and the rational mind. Yes, it also goes beyond what our fallen rationality is able to grasp. Nevertheless, the mind is the place where the knowledge of the truth enters and is apprehended. Facts are learned. But then those facts must bear fruit in behaviour. The information must be put into practice in order for the process to be fruitful. Faith must be manifested through obedience.

Learning Christ builds faith when that knowledge is put into practice. Deeper learning requires more practice. {Mt 7:24,26} It brings greater tests because it illuminates finer distinctions between good and evil, which we must then either walk in, or offend our consciences. Greater knowledge brings greater responsibility. Greater obedience brings greater understanding. Greater understanding brings greater maturity.



3 Comments:

Blogger Roxylee said...

This is so true... The Word of God is what matures us. Learning of Him, practicing obedience, realizing the love He has for us, spurs us on.

Some teachings elude me, though. I was listening to Piper and a panel of other pastors discussing eschatology, and it made my head spin. I can't understand which view is correct, but then, maybe God left it that way so we'll all just strive to be ready. Or maybe there is a way to know and I'm not seeing it.

Anyway, thank you for these studies about the deity and sufficiency of Christ, the real Christ, as taught in the Bible.

11:10 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

Many good men have diverse views of eschatology. It is a complex subject. There is nothing wrong with exploring the differing views so long as eschatology doesn't lead to imbalance by becoming our main focus in life.

If you want a simple view I would venture these three things:

1) Jesus is coming back in glory
2) Nobody knows exactly when
3) We are to be ready at all times

That's enough for me to chew on most days.


Blessings,


Tony

12:09 pm  
Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

Concerning eschatology - AMEN.

Concerning this from the post:

"Notice also that the truth is not simply a matter of knowledge alone. It begins in knowledge and not in mysticism. It engages the hearing and the rational mind. Yes, it also goes beyond what our fallen rationality is able to grasp. Nevertheless, the mind is the place where the knowledge of the truth enters and is apprehended. Facts are learned."

Bingo! THEOparadox!

Good word.

Blessings,
Derek

12:43 pm  

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