Summary: I marvel at God’s forgiveness and His unchanging love when I fall – His is a forgiving love that is unconditional and not based upon your performance or your character but rather His holiness and righteous character. As Martin Luther discovered after a f
No Middle Ground
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving...Colossians 2:6-7"
I marvel at God’s forgiveness and His unchanging love when I fall – His is a forgiving love that is unconditional and not based upon your performance or your character but rather His holiness and righteous character. As Martin Luther discovered after a frustrating life of works based on his own merit: "The just shall live by faith...” Your faith and mine must rest firmly in what Jesus did for you at the Cross -- for there the work was finished and the only foundation laid. To live by faith in Christ’s complete work is what it means to move forward in your life. Faith is the great appropriator of God’s abundant resources for everyday life. But faith must be exercised or it becomes flaccid and it must be tested to prove it trustworthy (Warren Wiersbe).
How sad that many are sitting on God’s precious gold mine without knowing how to dig out the ore. How sad to be so rich in Christ (Col. 2:10) and live like a pauper throughout life...to be a believer but never move forward in your Christian life. In Christian love and truth, please know there is no middle ground in your walk with the Lord. You are either moving forward or sliding backward. This is the problem the writer of Hebrews describes for you in Hebrews 5:12-6:9:
12. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. 6:1. 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, 2. of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3. And this we will do, if God permits. 4. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5. and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6. and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8. but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. 9. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.
Here Hebrew believers were not moving forward in their Christian life and it was of great concern to God’s chosen instrument that wrote this letter. The writer identifies the problem and shows believers then and now what they must do.
First, YOU MUST APPLY WHAT YOU KNOW OF GOD’S ETERNAL TRUTH TO EVERYDAY LIFE. Listen again to Hebrews 5:12-14: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17)
Notice the Word of God is essential to moving forward in your Christian life. The phrase "who because of practice..." in verse 14 implies a life of obedience to Christ. This is a walk that applies God’s eternal truths to everyday life and a heart, which is willing to step out on the waters of faith for Jesus. It takes many Christians a long time to realize that not only does Christ desire to live in us but He also desires to live His life through us (Phil. 2:13). Sadly, many people have what I call "a Peter Pan mentality." They never want to grow up spiritually. You can teach them the Word, you can set an example for them but they don’t take the first step (James says they are "hearers not doers"). They spend all their time engaging in baby talk rather than building godly character. They have an inability to instruct others, an inability to discern good from evil (emotionally gullible, personality followers). They still need milk and are not acquainted with righteousness. They lack godly character and still respond as a child. This truth is illustrated by the high school principal who gave a promotion to an employee with less years of experience than a 25 year employee. When the 25-year employee confronted the principal with the perceived injustice, he was told: "You haven’t had twenty-five years of experience. You have had one years experience 25 times.” This sadly speaks true of many Christians.