Hebrews 6:1-8: Part 2 of 5; The Call to Spiritual Maturity

I want you to think back to when you were a kid—this is easier for some of us than others—but let’s try. Do you remember a time when your parents told you to grow up—to act your age?

Or perhaps you fathers in the room—has there been a time when you’ve told one of your children to grow up?

What usually precipitates this statement from a parent?

Someone in this story, you or your own child, is acting younger than they really are, right? There’s an expectation of a level of maturity. And it’s not being displayed.

And so an exhortation must be made to grow up, to act with the maturity you already have. A reminder that you are not acting the way that is in line with who you really are.

In this first part of Hebrews 6 we find the author addressing exactly this same problem…but with a bunch of fully grown men and women in the church! This is the overarching point of Hebrews 6:1-8.

Three Elements of the Believer’s Exhortation to Grow Up in the Gospel:

They are:

I. The Call to Spiritual Maturity (today)

II. The Catch of God’s Permission (tommorrow)

III. The Caution of Failure (Thursday)

The first element of the believer’s exhortation to grow up in the gospel is The Call to spiritual maturity.

vs. 1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.”

To understand this high calling we must step back from our immediate passage and look at what the “therefore” refers to.

From the very first verse of this book, the author of Hebrews has been expounding on deep and glorious truths of the gospel, namely the supremacy of Christ as the only way to salvation from sin and death. And in chapter 5 he delves deep into the teaching of Jesus Christ as our perfect high priest and His association with the priestly order of Melchizedek. But in verse 11 of chapter 5 the author abruptly stops. He has a challenge to the original recipients of this letter—something is not right with them and must be addressed before he can continue explaining these deep mysteries.

He calls them to account for their (1) dullness of hearing (vs. 11), (2) inability to swallow deeper teachings of the word of righteousness (vs. 12) and their (3) lack of training of their powers of discernment through practice of distinguishing good from evil (vs. 13-14).

And this is what he is referring to with this “therefore” in chapter 6, verse 1. Essentially saying: “In light of these deficiencies I challenge you to… ‘leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.’

So what is this call to maturity?

It’s a 2-part calling as we see from the 2 main verbs verse 1:

  1. “Leave”—do not stay in the place you have been with—“the elementary doctrine of Christ”— the ABCs of the teaching they received when they first heard and understood the gospel…the first things, the simple basics.
  2. “And go on”—literally “be carried on”—“to maturity”—not that they graduate or move on from the gospel but that they dig deeper—realities of the gospel practiced and lived out (reference back to 5:14).

These believers are still playing with simple building blocks when they should be designing skyscrapers! The author of Hebrews is basically saying: “Grow up—be the adults that you are and no longer act like children!”

And now, if we look at verse 2, we see the author of Hebrews emphasizes the call to maturity with a command of what not to do:

[They are to move on to maturity] “not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God, and of instructions about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

Their faith is like a building and the foundation has already been laid.

–          A foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God

–          A foundation of instructions on washings and the laying on of hands

–          A foundation of instruction on the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.

In the construction of a building, the foundation is laid only once. The only time you might lay a new one is if the first foundation is insufficient, is imperfect, is not worthy to build further upon. The author is saying “No! Christ is sufficient for you! The foundation laid is perfect! Now continue to build up from this foundation!”

There is no doubt for us that these believers in Hebrews have heard the gospel and have believed. The foundation of Jesus Christ has been laid in their hearts.

The first 5 chapters of Hebrews make it clear that the author is addressing these people as believers. We don’t need to worry—they have a foundation in the gospel!

But as we see from the end of Chapter 5 they have not moved beyond that initial foundation laid—they are still children in their understanding and application of the deep truths of the good news of Christ. And they have not trained their powers of discernment through practice of the teaching they have received.  It’s like they’ve been picked for the school basketball team, taught to shoot the ball and dribble but they’re not out there practicing—growing and perfecting their skills. So now the coach has come to and exhort and encourage them to grow up and start ballin’!

Brothers and sisters, this call is for us as well: we must continue to move on in our faith! We must build on the perfect foundation of Christ in our hearts through the knowledge, understanding, and practical application of the gospel! We never graduate from the gospel—and we must grow up in it!

So I must ask you, where is your building at? How is your foundation? Are you firmly grounded in the Gospel of Christ, confident and able in your living out the principles you first learned as a new creation? Is your foundation being built upon with deeper truths and more magnificent heights of Christ?

I I hope so! Because, if we are believers, we must mature.

And as we do mature we must not just learn for learning’s sake but for the sake of our souls—that our hearts we be continually renewed with the washing of the word of God—and that we would produce works that are in accordance with the salvation we have received.

But lest we forget the grace of God, there is a catch to our calling and we’ll look at that tomorrow.

  1. Amen! Thanks for the reminder for our call to not stick with the basics but to keep digging deeper and strive to grow in maturity.
    – Amanda

  2. Praise the Lord for giving us His Word to instruct us in His ways and to remind us of what we need to hear, understand, and believe!

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