Feb. 27, 2013

What does it mean when the scriptures tell us to "go unto maturity," as seen in Hebrews 6?

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.. And this will we do, if God permit." Hebrews 6: 1-3

I believe that God wants us to get past talking and discussing about these basic foundational principles. If that is the case, then what should occupy our time? In other words, most of us should already know about eternal judgment. We should already have been convinced that the time will come when the books will be opened and our lives will be judged, towards eternal salvation, or towards eternal damnation. We should already have been taught about the doctrine of baptism, and we should all know about its importance in the Christian life and walk. We should all know of the importance of the laying on of hands, and the importance is has for us in terms of healing, activation, and encouragement.

The foundation should have already been laid and now the walls and windows of the structure should already be evident. Instead, we oftentimes, hear the same messages from the pulpits. We still hear of the same altar calls and ceremonies. To be sure, some still need to come unto a saving grace, and those must hear that message, but many have heard it, month after month, and year after year.

We are told that when all the parts of the body are performing correctly that:

"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." Eph. 2:21

When each of those members are doing their part then the structure begins to grow. The walls then emerge as those "living stones" partake of their giftings into the structure.

It seems that we have several different types of structures that we might call "churches" around us these days. We see beautiful cathedrals filled with velvet tapestries, and mahogany pews. Brightly colored stained-glass windows allow the viewer to look out into the distance while listening to a sermon. Other churches are perhaps more quaint and simple. They don't need the adorning velvet curtains and pipe organs. They are content with Aunt Mary playing the piano, along with various musically-gifted people singing a song. But each of these different types of "buildings" are just structures. We know that they really aren't "the church." The church is made-up of his body upon this earth,where each person is doing their part towards creating a building in the spirit, not done by human hands, but one that is spiritually sustained and maintained.

But even though some of these dwellings may appear to be "finished" and "complete" in themselves, they really are far from finished. The work has just begun in some of them. Some are still in the foundational stages of development because they still just preach eternal salvation. They still just teach about baptism and the laying on of hands. These places of worship need to progress unto other things. Their structures in the spirit need to have walls in them. And when these walls are built properly, then windows can be added that might add light so that the structure "might breathe."

Then there are other buildings that seem to talk about "only those things that lie ahead of us." These prophetic and apostolic churches may well have walls, and windows, and perhaps even vaulted ceilings, but their foundation may have cracks in it. They may have begun to built with the wrong materials. They may be building with hay, straw, and costly gems, rather than with the right materials of the spirit.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. I Cor. 3

For then even with these structures that seem to house all the right trappings, the members are still just being fed with milk and not solid food. We'll never go onto maturity if our diet is continually milk. The church doesn't need infants, it needs grown-ups and adults who know how to distinguish between right and wrong and they've had their senses trained to know the difference.

Stephen Hanson