Hebrews 6:1 – 3
The writer had just enlightened his audience about the difference between MILK and STRONG MEAT; signifying that Judaism and the Old Testament are the elementary and the shadow of the soon coming Son of God – who would become the Savior of the World. This is in contradistinction to the STRONG MEAT which signifies the message of the Gospel and the New Testament and which stands as the total reality of the pictures presented in the Old.
He further stresses on the aspect of MILK and STRONG MEAT by highlighting the point that the only food for BABES is MILK. To continue using MILK spells ineptness, clumsiness and incompetence. BABES do grow out of drinking milk as their only meal. In other words there is a vast difference between the priesthood of Aaron and that of Melchizedek knowing his audience knew and understood history. To eat STRONG MEAT in the context of this passage is to acknowledge the finished work and the purpose of God for humanity through Christ Jesus. This he said in order to convince them (his audience – the ones who have NOT committed to the message of the Gospel) to make a choice to follow the new Covenant.
The unbelieving audience needed to get beyond their inadequate and incomplete knowledge of God before the issue of Melchizedek could be discussed in detail. Milk is for the inexperienced and beginners when it comes to the ways of God. Adults do not feed consistently on MILK; they have since learnt to break food down before they swallow. Its called growth in the life of a newborn baby.
There is a time when drinking milk will not suffice; one would have to gravitate towards eating STRONG MEAT, in this case. So there is nothing wrong with MILK – the Old Testament; it helps one grow to that level where you come to appreciate the essence of chewing STRONG MEAT – the New Testament. To the ones who have embraced STRONG MEAT, you are expected to have listened and understood the message of the Gospel and are able to discern between the Old and the New Testaments.
He knocks home his point by telling his audience (unbelieving ones) to LEAVE or abandon the past, and MOVE into the future. The past is the elementary principles leading to Jesus and His mission on planet Earth, which the writer referred to as the foundation; the past is Judaism and its many rituals. What you expect after the foundation is the erection of the building. To stay working on an already laid foundation becomes preposterous. We can only move forward after laying the foundation.
WHAT DID HE REFER TO AS THE FOUNDATION?
- Repentance from Dead Works with
- Faith towards God.
- Laying On of Hands
- Resurrection from the dead
- Eternal Judgment
Repentance is the turning away from evil works or deeds that brings death. People were exhorted to repent from their evil deeds to avoid death, the ultimate punishment. John the Baptist came with the subject of REPENTANCE, which was strictly a message to the Jews only. His slogan was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. When we compare this message to what we have now after the introduction of the New Testament, repentance seems meaningless with believing in our Lord Jesus Christ by Grace through Faith.
Looking from the perspective of the new Covenant, the repentance typified here is indeed Repentance from Dead Works. The Dead Works referred to here is the old ways of relating to God. While they were in the Old Testament, it was a beautiful truth but stepping into the New Testament, that truth became obsolete. I cannot approach God at this time as though I lived in the Old Testament ways and mannerisms. I have to adapt to the New way and New Testament. The Jews struggled with this and hence their reasons for having cold feet in responding to the message of the Gospel.
Faith in God was another principle the Jews were asked to abandon. There is a clear-cut difference between having Faith in God and having Faith in Jesus. Jesus said no man can come to the Father except through Him. In the Old Testament, there was no mediator but looking into the New Testament, we are presented with Jesus who became the mediator between humanity and his creator. So to have FAITH in God now is to have FAITH in the finished work at Calvary.
He told them to abandon Baptisms, which is a Greek word that specifically refers to washings and ablutions. Every Jewish home had a basin filled with water at the entrance of their family homes so that visitors could use it for ceremonial cleansing. The use of this word gives another strong indication that this particular passage was actually addressing unbelieving Jews. This is quite different from the one presented by Jesus in the Gospel according to St John. The washings in the Old Testament were temporal while that of the New Testament was once and forever permanent.
He told them to abandon Laying On Of Hands – under the Old Testament, the person who brings the animal for sacrifice was required to put his hand on the animal which is symbolic of a transference of the Sin into the animal and also a simultaneous transfer of the cleanliness of the animal into the person and the people he represented before the blood of the animal is shed. Looking at what Jesus came to do, He became the sacrifice for us all and our sin was imputed into Him and His righteousness was transmitted into us as long as we believe in Him. The High Priest did this practice once every year while Jesus was once and for all. To this, the Jews had to abandon and move on to better things already specified in the pages of their Holy Books. This had nothing to do with what happened in the book of Acts.
He told them to abandon RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD – our Salvation is predicated on the resurrection of Jesus from the Dead. The writer was not referring to the resurrection of Christ from the dead but the resurrection of those who died and were raised again. They came back to life with the same body; Lazarus and the girl Christ raised from the dead are instances of those who came back as they were before they died. The resurrection of Jesus is somewhat different; He came back with a different body and told His disciples not to touch Him because He had not ascended to His father in Heaven.
He also told them to abandon ETERNAL JUDGEMENT, which was based on either evil or good according to the Old Testament. Contrary to this, the New Testament is based on whether you accept Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior through the message of the Gospel called Grace and through FAITH or believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross at Calvary.
From these the writer admonishes his audience to ABANDON and FOLLOW IN THE WAY of Christ whom he introduced in the earlier parts of the book as being superior to any and everything under Judaism. To say the writer was referring to Believers in the Lord Jesus abandoning these aforementioned principles and doctrines is to be in error. Judaism is obsolete and it has been abolished!!!
Every one of us ought to remember that a great deal of that commodity in this world known by the name of good works is not good works at all. What is a good work? I should venture to say that anything that has in it the element of selfishness is not good. You may question that, but I think it is the highest virtue to be unselfish. If a man were found to be virtuous, as we say, with the design of benefiting himself, has he not spoiled his virtue? – C.H Spurgeon
Keep it right here and be refreshed!