A foundation with a mixture of grace, a dab of works, and a dose of “looking good”.
Heb. 5:14-6:1 says ‘But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…..’ Scripture then goes on to describe several fundamentals of the gospel as ‘elementary’ and encourages the Hebrew reader to move on to solid or meaty food.
A key point is that the mature are trained in the elementary teachings, thereby demonstrating ability to receive and digest solid food. A measure of maturity is the ‘constant use’ of the elementary aspects of the faith. Training implies constant, repetitive application; not just intellectual understanding. The scripture says the mature have trained ‘themselves’. It is the responsibility of the pastor, teacher and apostle to teach. It is the responsibility of the believer to train themselves in the truths of the gospel.
Heb. 5: 12NLT says ‘you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about scriptures’.Very often the believer’s foundation is too quickly laid and often with a mixture of grace, a dab of works, and a dose of ‘looking good’ to prove you are a believer. This quickly laid foundation crumbles under the weight of theological bricks and meaty mortar and the trials of life laid upon it. The problem with the Hebrews was not that they had not been taught but they had not trained or applied themselves in the elemental truths of the gospel.
Some believers think they are mature, but their emotional responses to life and their core beliefs leave them falling short of God’s goal of maturity and fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13 ; 2 Pet. 1:2-9). A good example of this involves the concept of spiritual correction and judging others. Some believers are quick to judge others and advocate the correction of those they judge. Yet those same people are unwilling to receive correction themselves. Their response indicates they have not trained themselves in grace and faith. In reality they are immature and do not properly digest solid food.
I’ve found that it is best to go back and repair the foundation before moving into additional solid food. The prerequisite to moving forward is training and practicing again of grace and faith on a constant basis.
As leaders we can’t assume people we lead are mature based upon gifting, age, or knowledge. Maturity is a process building on the foundation of daily grace and faith training. Let’s move on to maturity. Train yourself! Become mature, ready and willing to digest solid spiritual food.