Our next portion is a very short portion: Hebrews 5:12-14
v12: By this time you ought to be teachers: Based on the time that they have been believers, this group should be teaching others. The problem is that this group have not matured.
- You need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of G-d: The writer tells them that they need to be taught the basics again. This could be because:
1. They are so immature that they did not understand what they believed so need to be retaught. They have not realized that faith is meant to produce obedience in their lives. The gospel message brings about not only salvation, but also produces sanctification. (a process, which a believer goes through, whereby he becomes holy – holy in action and in deed).
2. They have not understood the framework of G-d’s revelation for understanding the person and the work of Messiah. If He is not ministering in and through us there is a problem – and it will stunt our growth, spiritually speaking.
3. They said the words (mouthed the prayer) but they did not really believe.
* The first principles of the oracles of G-d: Back to the fundamentals of the faith.
* Milk: The teachings on how to be saved.
* Solid food: Teachings on how believers are to behave.
v13: When we begin to act righteously it produces maturity in our lives. Acting righteously means that we are acting in obedience to the Word (commandments) of G-d. The commandments (which even the New Testament is full of) tell us the right way to act/live and show us what behavior to avoid. We are not saved by our obedience, but obedience is an outcome, or a fruit, of faith (Matt 3:8). The commandments express righteousness.
v14: Solid food: This is a reference to the teachings of the Apostles – of which prophecy was highly esteemed. When they spoke about order in the congregations, they spoke of prophets first. When we think of maturity we should think of prophecy. Prophecy drives us back to the righteousness of G-d. Prophecy teaches us how to live, in light of what is coming. Mature believers value prophecy. The foundational message of how to be saved needs to be proclaimed widely, BUT, having been saved, we need to talk about things that lead us to maturity.
- Full age: Complete. Those who are mature. Our condition is meant to change. Anyone in Messiah becomes a new (a Kingdom) creation (2 Cor 5:17).
- Have their senses exercised: Our senses take in information from the world around us. There is a need to train our senses so that in different situations we will make the right decisions, doing the things that glorify G-d.
- Discern: The ability to make right judgements.
- Good and evil: Right and wrong.
When we accept the ministry of our great High Priest, we are assured of our salvation, but there is more to our faith than this. There is a present-day reality for believers – that we might live righteously and demonstrate maturity. As mature believers we need:
1. Declarative righteousness – the righteousness of Messiah imputed to us, assurance of salvation.
2. Expressive righteousness, whereby we live and behave righteously in this world.
Righteous living means that we demonstrate the laws of the Kingdom. To live in light of Kingdom truth we need discernment. We need to be individuals who train our senses to be able to look at something and discern if it is right or wrong – those things that are in accordance with the will of G-d and those things in conflict with it. This comes about through the ongoing work of maturity, through the Holy Spirit – the very Spirit of Messiah. The Holy Spirit equips us for every good work. As believers, we are called to be Kingdom workers. When we are not responding, do not understand our call or demonstrate the righteous Word of Messiah in our lives, we are not going to mature. We need to know the expectations of G-d for our lives….what a believer is called to do. We are called to move from immaturity to maturity. In deeds, actions, words, behavior we are to demonstrate the Kingdom, of which we are ambassadors, so that people can see the power of the King of kings and the L-rd of lords in our lives. This should produce a desire in the lives of others to also want to live righteously, and for the advancement of the Kingdom of G-d.