Warning against Turning Away
11Much more could be said about this subject. But it is hard to explain, and all of you are slow to understand. 12 By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food. 13People who live on milk are like babies who don't really know what is right. 14Solid food is for mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong.
1We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn't need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. 2And we shouldn't need to keep teaching about baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment. 3Let's grow up, if God is willing.
You can hear the frustration here, echoing down the centuries and bursting from the page: when will they make some progress? When will these baby Christians do what it takes to mature? As with all the other New Testament letters, we only have one side of the correspondence, so we have to make some assumptions. It seems the Hebrews are stuck on the basics. Tell us again why we need to trust God and what is that thing you said last time about praying for each other? Do we really have to stop sinning? This is milk, and they really ought to be ready for meat.
It isn’t just that the church needs mature Christians to teach and disciple new Christians (5:12). The letter writer knows how vulnerable these infants are to temptation and to suffering. If their faith is to withstand pressure it needs to become stronger.
There are a lot of pictures painted of the spiritual life in the Bible. We are urged to run the race (Hebrews 12:1-3), grow our roots into the stream (Jeremiah 17:8), build our houses on rock (Matthew 7: 24-27). All these convey effort, focus and strategy. Our faith doesn’t grow if we leave it unattended. Even the ability to distinguish good from evil takes practice (5:14).
The question we need to ask ourselves then is “Am I ready to do what it takes to grow up?”
Gracious Father God, I am sorry for continually returning the beginning, for asking again and again those fundamental questions about trust and obedience. I want to grow up. I want to be mature and strong and resilient. Thank you for feeding me with your Word today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.