I was recently speaking with a good friend and fellow minister who is laboring in a spiritually barren part of the country about how things were going in ministry.
In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he had been meeting with the pastor of another church in town to talk about theology, pastoral ministry and preaching.
My friend mentioned to this man his commitment to continually preach Christ – in all his saving power and grace – so that God’s people would be established and grow in their union with him.
The pastor responded by saying, “But don’t you think the people will get bored hearing about Jesus all the time?” Appealing to Hebrews 6:1-3, he suggested we need to move on from the doctrine of Christ to the more practical things of Christian living.
Hebrews 6:1-3 is one of the more difficult – and more easily misinterpreted – portions of Scripture. I have heard many pastors suggest these verses teach us to move on from the Gospel to the deeper things of practical Christian living.
A prima facia reading of the passage may seem to lend to this conclusion, but a closer consideration of the context actually supports an entirely different one. The purpose of the passage is to press us on from the “elementary” things of Christ to perfection. We are to press on in Christian living by pressing on in our knowledge of the deep things of Christ.
Throughout the book, the writer of Hebrews has his sights set on one thing, or we may say, one person – Jesus, the Son of God. The central argument of the book is simple: Jesus is better than everyone and everything. He is better than every created being and is better than every part of the Old Testament ceremonial system.
The author shows in the first five chapters that Jesus is better than the angels, better than Abraham (2:16), better than Moses (3:5-6), better than Joshua (4:8) and better than Aaron (5:3-5).
In chapters 5-10 he explains that Jesus is a better high priest, a better sacrifice and the better mediator of a better covenant. The supremacy of Jesus Christ runs through this book in an unbroken and unparalleled manner.
The author of Hebrews longed to go into the inner workings of how Melchizedek was a type of Christ but sensed the Christians to whom he was writing were not ready.
The rebuke is essentially a warning against shallowness. The contrast is between a surface knowledge of the things of Christ and the depths of the Gospel.
All biblical truth is necessary for spiritual growth. We need the “solid food” (5:12) of the deep things of Christ. The writer will return to the many things he wishes to say about Melchizedek (6:20 ff) but must first prepare his readers by telling them that they have become “dull of hearing” about these deep things of Christ.
We must understand that we are never to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them onto self. To insure our growth and continuance in Christian living, we are repeatedly exhorted to “see him” (2:9), “fix our eyes” on him (12:2), “consider him” (12:3), and “go to him” (13:13).
We will spend eternity mining the depths of what Paul calls the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” May we never be content with knowing merely the elementary doctrine of Christ.