Study of Hebrews: “Milk and Solid Food”

< Hebrews 5:7-10 | Hebrews 5:11-6:12

I don’t know about you, but I find myself feeling pretty overwhelmed by what I know (and what I don’t know) about God.  There are some things that I cannot wrap my head around, but because they are so clearly taught in the Bible I have to simply be okay with them on one level and take it on faith at another.  This is why the next section of the book of Hebrews is puzzling to me.

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 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, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

(Hebrews 5:11-14 ESV)

Grow Up!

The author makes quite a stern admonishment here.  It is as if the people he is writing to are confused and ignorant about the basic truths of God and Jesus.  In the next verse he says that what he has outlined so far is “elementary,” which he teaches, unlike Holmes, it is entirely inadequate and something that we should move on from.

Now, inadequate does not mean that it is unimportant.  After all what has been described so far is the foundational truths of Christ and his role as our High Priest and Savior.  “You should know all of this,” is his basic assertion.  You should know that you are saved by grace and not by works.  You should know how to honor Christ and how to worship Him.  You should understand what a big deal this is that Christ, God in the flesh, left his throne to rescue us from our death in sin.

As in Hebrews 3:7-4:13, we are given a warning that what we have seen and heard should not be taken lightly.  Yet, this time instead of appealing to our desires to enter God’s rest, the author makes a more frightening claim:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

(Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV, emphasis mine)

If we become lazy about what Christ has done for us, if we stop hungering for more about the truth of God, if we forget the amazing grace of God then we are essentially crucifying our Lord in vain.  The Apostle Paul gives a similar warning in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 when he talks about practicing the sacrament of Communion in an “unworthy manner.”

I Have To Be An Expert?

I don’t think that the author of Hebrews means that we must understand completely the wonders of God and the work of Christ.  Beloved, there is little doubt that God is incomprehensible and that His ways are so beyond our ways that there is not time in all the world to fully understand the enormity of our God.  Yet, there is much that we can know of God and understand.  We may not be able to understand why God would love sinners so much, but we do know that He does because he fulfilled His promise to send us a Savior.

The incomprehensible nature of what we can understand is what powers us and motivates us to honor and serve God.  As we hunger and thirst for God’s word, the Holy Spirit grants us understanding beyond the intellectual level, motivating our work and giving us the very power that we need to effectively serve God.  Not that our work saves us, but it is expressive of our continued relationship with God and our devotion to Him and His work on earth.

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

(Hebrews 6:9-12 ESV)

To put it another way: how could we do otherwise?  If you have understood how greatly you have failed to live up to God’s standard for the perfect life, then tasted the sweetness of God’s saving grace through Jesus, how could you not be different?  How could you not want to honor and serve Him?  How could you not want to tell everyone about Him?

The Truth From The Lies

There is no shame in being reminded about our need for salvation.  It is too easy in our world to forget, to think that other things could “save” us.  Look at how many modern luxuries even the poorest of us have in this country.  Self-help books claim 5 easy steps to a carefree life.  But at the end of the day, all their offerings are inadequate at best.

Do you hear their lies?  The more fervent you are about seeking the truth of God the more disgusting those fish stories are.  The deeper your relationship with the Truth, the less convinced you will become by those other “saviors.”  And the shoddier they become the more beautiful our Lord becomes.

Seek Him daily.  Hold tight to His Truth and Love that is unmatched.  Remember Whose you are.

Hebrews 5:7-10 | Hebrews 5:11-6:12

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

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