8th October 2022
Read (Hebrews 5v11-14)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
We have touched briefly upon the subject of Christ’s priesthood and His relationship to Melchizedek but we’ll have to wait for Paul to continue his thinking. He admits that he has much to say about the topic (v11a) but that it is hard to explain (v11b). This isn’t the Apostle struggling with the complexity of the subject. Instead it’s “hard to explain” because the Hebrews have become “dull of hearing” (v1c).
This is a damning indictment of this particular church. We think that Paul was probably writing to a church based in Rome and he stresses that by this stage of their Christian walk they should be teachers (v12). In other words they should have grown to such an extent that they should be well grounded in the faith and able to pass that faith on to others. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Instead of teaching, these men and women need someone to put them over the basics once more (v12b). Like a young child not yet ready for meat, the Hebrews need milk and not solid food (v12c).
Let’s be clear - milk is good for you and the milk of Christian teaching that you received when young in the faith is really, really good. But in life and in faith we are not to remain on a diet of milk. Paul explains that the one who lives on milk alone is like a child “unskilled in the word of righteousness” (v13). There’s the problem. It is wonderful to know that Jesus died for sin, this is a true and glorious statement. But with that truth well established in our souls, we should seek to know more.
Who was Jesus? Was He there in the beginning? What role did He have in creation? Was Jesus a good man who became God? Did Jesus sin? Was Jesus God and did He put aside His divinity for 30 odd years on earth? What do we mean when we say Jesus was passively obedient? What is the hypostatic union? Where is Jesus now? Does He still have a body?
By God’s grace you’ll be able to answer all of those questions and many more. The purpose of this isn’t to boast and draw attention to our great knowledge. Instead we are to desire the things of God and we are to be hungry for His Word. The Christian at any stage of their walk with Christ should seek maturity in the faith and the Christian should always be humble enough to know that we all still have room to grow.
The benefit is great indeed. As we grow into spiritual maturity we will be able to distinguish between good and evil (v14). We call this discernment and perhaps discernment is one of the least evident attributes of the modern church. As long as something looks and sounds vaguely Christian then we assume that it is. But brothers and sisters we would do well to realise that much of what we see and hear in the modern church is false.
One of the biggest churches in the USA caused controversy recently when a speaker proclaimed that "When you come to church, when you worship him, you're not doing it for God, really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy.” What do you think of that statement? Is Sunday all about you? How would you respond to your friend that takes such a statement to heart and starts to live it out?
Respond to this devotion by asking yourself “have I become dull of hearing?” And if you discern that you have indeed switched off from a regular, healthy, meaty diet of God’s Word then please repent. May the Lord unblock our ears and soften our hearts to receive the solid food of His Word. May He sanctify us by His truth and may we be wise and discerning in this crooked generation. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
Q73 Which is the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.