Daily Archives: January 21, 2011

Onward or Nothing

Hebrews 6:1-8 (ESV)

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, [2] and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [3] And this we will do if God permits. [4] For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, [5] and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, [6] if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. [7] For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. [8] But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

This particular text of a Scripture has been a point of controversy between Christians of different stripes for many, many years. The chapter begins with a call for the readers to leave the elementary teachings of the faith and go on to maturity. Why? Because it is impossible to be brought back once you have fallen. This is a striking thing. You will either press on to maturity or you will give up on the faith altogether. There is no mention of any middle ground. Go ahead or quit.

There is no such thing as neutrality in the Christian faith. There is no “nominal” Christianity that results in true saving faith and a welcome from God into the eternal Kingdom. Onward or nothing. Which are you going to do? Have you become complacent? Has the first love been forsaken (Revelation 2:7)? Do not deceive yourself.

You are not going to stay around in the faith if you do not go ahead. Call it a lull in your faith, a pause that is temporary or whatever. It is you starting to go backward. It starts with prayer becoming less and less a part of your daily routine and the enjoyment of it goes. The time spent in it decreases and the necessity of it becomes less and less clear. Then the Bible reading loses its zip. Can’t make much sense of it anyway. And besides, it is reasoned, I can hear plenty of it on Sundays anyway. Then it starts becoming easier to absent oneself from the gatherings of the saints. Sermons aren’t addressing the needs and that church is a bunch of weirdos anyway. Then the doctrines of the faith will start to be critiqued and conclusions will be reached that cannot be gotten out of Scripture, but they will be enough to justify the growing sense that all this church stuff is not as necessary as you once thought it was.

Do any of these things sound at all familiar? Talk to a Christian friend. Call a pastor. Ask for help. Pray. Force yourself to read a text of Scripture. Pray “Lord keep me from wandering away”. Have someone call you on Sunday morning to get you out of bed and into church. Your soul is at stake. You must not take this lightly. Do not trust feelings of surrender and criticism of the church and the Bible and the doctrines of the faith. (If you really are in a bad church then find a good one).

Do not be deceived. What you sow you will reap. Only those who do not look back are fit for the Kingdom of God. Prove out the truth of your faith by leaving the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity. There is no middle of the road. You are either going ahead or going back. Press on.