"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, 'of instruction about washings and laying on of hands,
and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
And this we will do."
"Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on unto perfection;
not laying again the foundation from dead works,
and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms and of laying on of hands,
and of the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
And this will we do,
if God permits."
Adam Clarke says, "'Therefore' Because ye have been so indolent, slow of heart, and have still so many advantages. 'Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ' Ceasing to continue in the state of babes, who must be fed with milk--with the lowest doctrines of the Gospel, when ye should be capable of understanding the highest...The words of the apostle may be understood thus: Leave the law, and come to the Gospel. Cease from Moses, and come to the Messiah."
Now we are coming to the good part,
the part that babes cannot partake of
because it is too rich, the meat of what is promised.
They cannot attain it if they are just sitting there sucking on a bottle
and waiting to be burped and have their nappies changed.
They need to learn to walk, then run to go on to perfection.
"'Let us go on unto perfection' Let us never rest till we are adult Christians--till we are saved from all sin, and are filled with the Spirit and power of Christ. The original is very emphatic: Let us be carried on to this perfection. God is ever ready by the power of His Spirit, to carry us forward to every degree of light, life, and love, necessary to prepare us for an eternal weight of glory...Many make a violent outcry against the doctrine of perfection, i.e. against the heart being cleansed from all sin in this life, and filled with love to God and man, because they judge it to be impossible! Is it too much to say of these that they know neither the Scripture nor the power of God? Surely the Scripture promises the thing; and the power of God can carry us on to the possession of it." (Adam Clarke)
Run the race set before you.
What did Jesus say?
"But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..."
I asked myself, where is the power?
It is His Spirit,
God in us.
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect,
have this attitude..."
"Let us listen as the word calls us to come out of all sloth and feebleness, and to press on the perfection Christ has come to reveal....But the beginning, as only a commencement of something better, must be left...There can be no healthy life without growth and progress...He calls every true child of His to leave the beginnings, and press on to perfection, to press on to be all that He has promised to make us...press on unto perfection, unto the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Andrew Murray)
Okay, so this is how I run!
"until we all attain to the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to a mature man, to the measure of the stature
which belongs to the fullness of Christ."
Are you starting to get the picture? Sadly, much of Christianity is satisfied with the wah, wah stage, sucking their thumbs holding onto a security blanket that is nothing more than a dirty rag. The real security is in receiving all that Christ came to do through the power of His Spirit to become, the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Something that does not grow suffers atrophy and very likely will die. On the other hand what happens when we enter into the holy of holies, we are cleansed with the burning coal of the Holy Ghost. Get up and grow! This deeper work is accepted by faith, the same as salvation. But we are urged here to press on, to go deeper, to respond to the upward call. Say, "And this we will do!"
"Laying again the foundation of repentance
of faith toward God..."
"The phrase dead works occurs but once more in the sacred writings, and that is in chapter 9:14
of this epistle; and in both places it seems to signify such works as deserve death--works of those who were dead in trespasses, and dead in sins; and dead by sentence of the law, because they had by these works broken the law. Repentance may be properly called the foundation of the work of God in the soul of man, because by it we forsake sin, and turn to God to find mercy. 'Faith toward God,' By repentance we feel the need of God's mercy, by faith we find the mercy." (Adam Clarke)
A word to Christians now: sometimes, instead of going down to the altar to repent again and again--oh wait, do we even have altars any more?--we need to realize that there is more offered than the forgiveness of our sin. That's just the foundation, but there is offered the empowering to live a life free from the struggle of sin by once and for all. It goes beyond repentance. It is so much more!
So get out there princess and run the race!
I don't have personal experience, but in the Catholic faith I understand that a person can go to confessionals to confess to a priest, through a curtain, of their sins committed. Guess what! Christ has torn that curtain and has climbed right there in with you. He's saying, "Come on! Get out of your booth. Let us go on to perfection."
Here's a quote from one of my favorite authors, George MacDonald, a close friend of C.S. Lewis and Tolkein. He wrote in the 1800's...
"Learn the patience of God who keeps the whole, dull, obstinate world alive
while generation after generation is born and vanishes
and of the mighty multitude only one here and one there
rises up from the fetters of humanity into the freedom of the Son of God."
And to quote him as he familiarly uses the Scottish brogue...
"I houp I hae a bit notion o' it, sir."
Do you get it, have a bit of a notion of it,
that urges you to rise up into the freedom of the Son?