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I would like to read Hebrews 6:1-2 from the New American Standard Bible. It says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal  judgment.” Before we break these verses down it’s important to know that this letter was written to Jews who had confessed the Lord Jesus as their Savior and yet they were still clinging to the teachings they had been given in the Law of Moses. In short, they were still practicing Judaism instead of embracing the full truth of Christianity. Years had passed since they had first professed salvation through Christ and they were not growing spiritually. In Hebrews 5:12-14 we read, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not strong meat. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature.”

They were still “baby Christians” needing milk instead of “mature Christians” that are able to eat meat!

In Hebrews 6:1-2, they are being encouraged to “press on to maturity.” How could they do this? By leaving the “basic doctrines” that were taught in the Old Testament. Those doctrines were important for their time, for they were meant to prepare them to receive Christ when He came. But now that Christ had come and they had received Him, they were to learn the “advanced teachings” of Christianity; teachings about Christ and His finished work on the cross, His present work as our great High Priest, and the believer’s position in Christ.

Here are the doctrines they were to leave:

1) ”Repentance from dead works and faith toward God”….They had been taught in Ezekiel 14:6, “Thus saith the LORD God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols.” In Genesis 15:6, they learned that Abraham “believed in the LORD.” Throughout the Old Testament they were taught these elementary truths of repentance from evil works and faith in God. The truth of Christianity went beyond this, as we see in Acts 20:21 where the apostle Paul preached, “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” The believer in Christ doesn’t just repent of their sins; they have a complete change of attitude “toward God.” Their faith isn’t just in God; their faith is now directed “toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” realizing that He alone is the Savior of sinners.

2) “Washings and laying on of hands”….In Exodus 30:21 the Jewish priests had to “wash their hands and their feet, that they die not” and in Leviticus 4:4-5 the priest was to “lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the LORD” and then “take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation.” These were but pictures of the spiritual cleansing believers have today through the washing of water by the Word of God and the cleansing from every sin by the blood of Christ, as taught in the New Testament.

3) “Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment”….Resurrection of the dead was taught in Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Eternal judgment is seen in Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” As important as these teachings are, they fell short of the fuller revelations of Christianity. In Philippians 3:11 the apostle Paul said, “…in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (NASB). Old Testament saints knew nothing of a resurrection FROM the dead, but the New Testament assures believers in Revelation 20:6 that they will have “part in the first resurrection: on which the second death hath no power.” Judaism clearly warned sinners of eternal judgment, but Christianity comforts believers in John 5:24,”Truly, truly, I say unto you, he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment.”

In conclusion, Jewish believers were being exhorted to leave the teachings of Judaism with its shadows and types of Christ, and to press on to the fuller revelation they now had in Christ. If they did, they would finally leave their condition as “babes” and grow to “maturity.”  (145.5)  (DO)