You ever feel like you’re ready to move on from Jesus? You hear a sermon about the cross, or the gospel, and you feel like you’ve heard that before? Like it’s time to move on to something else?
I think this is a fair question, particularly with the branches of gospel-centered ministry rising high about the ground of our church culture. After all, the Bible is full of characters, and stories, and principles, and commandments; it offers more than a life-time of study and understanding can fathom.
There’s a passage in Hebrews that almost sounds like an encouragement to move on. It says: “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1). Doesn’t this tell us there’s a time to move on—that the doctrine of Christ is a step along the path towards maturity?
When I first read this passage, I got stuck on the “elementary doctrine of Christ” part. Was the writer saying the “doctrine of Christ” is elementary? What is the doctrine of Christ anyway?
Then followed logical next questions. Aren’t we supposed to move on to meat? Aren’t we supposed to go on to maturity? Isn’t our understanding of salvation by Christ’s work on the cross the foundation of our faith–but we’re then supposed to build a house of obedience and bear fruit on top of it?
I think part of the answer appears in how the writer goes on to define the “elementary” parts of the doctrine of Christ; namely: repentance from dead works, faith, washings, laying on of hands, resurrection, and eternal judgment. And we find that these are not the gospel.
Another part of the answer may be found in the previous chapter. The writer has just argued that Jesus is greater than Moses and that He is now our Great High Priest. And he details that Jesus, in being made perfect, became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (5:9) through what he suffered (v. 8). And then in v. 11, the writer says, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain…”
I think this is where we find our answer. This is the gospel—that Jesus, our Great High Priest, the perfect Son of God, suffered on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and became the source of salvation for all who believe. And there’s much to say about it, because it’s hard to explain. But it’s also a mine worth exploring because of the vastness of treasure within.
So I would say two things: first, that Jesus is a person, not a doctrine, and we never move on in our faith from the person of Jesus; and second, that we have much to say about this glorious gospel of Jesus and His work on the cross, and as the Lord permits (6:3), we will go on to maturity as we grow in grace and knowledge of Him.
Question: Have you ever felt like moving on to something else in your faith?