Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday Scripture Speaks - Solid Food

Of whom we have many things to say, which are hard to be uttered, because ye are dull of hearing. For when as concerning the time ye ought to be teachers, yet have ye need again that we teach you what are the first principles of the word of God, and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk, is inexpert in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of age, which through long custom have their wits exercised, to discern both good and evil. He briefly toucheth the childish slothfulness of the Hebrews,  and terrifieth them with severe threatenings;  He stirreth them up to endeavor in time to go forward;  He hopeth well of them.  He allegeth Abraham's example; and compareth faith that taketh hold on the word,  unto anchor. Therefore, leaving the doctrine of the beginning of Christ, let us be led forward unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and laying on of hands, and of the resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do if God permit. For it is impossible that they which were once lightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Ghost,
 And have tasted of the good word of God, and of the powers of the world to come,
 If they fall away, should be renewed again by repentance, seeing they crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him.
 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing of God.
 But that which beareth thorns and briars, is reproved, and is near unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. But beloved, we have persuaded ourselves better things of you, and such as accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous, that he should forget your work, and labor of love, which ye shewed toward his Name, in that ye have ministered unto the Saints, and yet minister. And we desire that every one of you shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto the end, That ye be not slothful, but followers of them, which through faith and patience, inherit the promises. Hebrews 5:11-6:12 (Geneva Bible)

I do know that this is a lengthy, almost difficult piece of Scripture, given the archaic language of the piece. I chose to use the Geneva Bible because that is the translation that the Puritans used. The Puritans were followers of John Calvin. And John Calvin was a definite "once saved, always saved" sort of person.

Our Bible study this week discussed the above passage, along with others, that speak of meat vs. milk. The question was posed, "Are our discussions about 'eternal security' and 'losing one's salvation' milk or solid food? Can they be both?"

Hmm. This is a difficult concept for many to grasp. Without getting into whether a person can truly lose her salvation or not, I'll answer the question posed, given the conclusion to which our group arrived. The discussions could be milk based ones if that is all the believer can think about. With every little slip she makes, she fears she'll lose her salvation. On the flip side, there are other believers who make this a milk issue when they preach eternal security to the point that they never move on to other things. They're so "secure" that they do as they please with no fear of offending a Holy God. They don't care to dig deeper into the Word.

These discussions might become solid food if they are used to challenge the believer into digging deeper - into the Word AND into his relationship with the Lord. This believer will pray and search the Bible for answers. And he'll discuss them with others in order to learn - not to force his opinion. 

The point is to move on in your Christian walk, digging deeply enough that you're sinking your teeth into the meat. You should be growing and growing, until you've matured into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It'll take each of us unto eternity to get there, but the journey is worth taking.

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