Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is the meat, or “where’s the beef?”

Heb 6:1-3 AMP  THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,  (2)  With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]  (3)  If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].

1Co 3:2 AMP I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it],

Many times you hear teaching that encourages Christians to move on to meat. It seems that many think that the salvation is baby stuff and that the saint should move on to maturity. But, what is the meat? This is a very important question to answer if we are ever to be mature in Christ Jesus. I have fellowshipped with people in the past that see the cross as baby stuff. Some time ago I was in a conversation with a prophet that was connected with the present truth prophetic movement. I had mentioned 1Cor 1:18 in connection with the idea that if the people of God, Christ followers, wanted to have God’s power, they should preach the cross. I mentioned that it was God’s dunamis, His dynamite. He then went on to gently remind me that what we needed to exercise was God’s exousia (authority.) I gently replied that the authority comes from the cross.

Everything in a saint’s life is tied to the cross. There is no meat available that is not founded in the cross event. I want to make this completely clear. The milk is not the cross event. I have posited two passages that are frequently used with the idea of maturity and immaturity; meat and milk. These two passages are not as linked as one might think. The Hebrews passage is referring to mature doctrine or theology and the first Corinthians passage is referring to mature behavior. The way that they are linked is as follows: If a saint is able to understand mature doctrine or theology they are more apt to be able to exhibit mature behavior.  True maturity will result from a proper understanding of the pristine gospel. True maturity will be the result of truly being at peace with God as Paul describes it in Romans 5. Peace with God (Romans 5:1) is the source for true maturity.

True peace with God can only be achieved when one realizes and understands what the author of Hebrews was driving at and heading towards in Hebrews chapter 6. One sees that at the end of Hebrews chapter five (Heb 5:10-14) the author was unable to explain about Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and what that meant to them because they were dull of hearing. They only understood milk, the rudiments of Christianity. They needed meat. It was likely because they were in danger of leaving Christ and returning to Judaism. This would be to avoid persecution from the Jews. You can see widespread persecution from the unbelieving Jews throughout the entire area that the gospel had affected. This persecution plagued Paul everywhere he went. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that these Hebrew saints were tempted to renounce Christ and go back to Judaism without Jesus. This theory makes perfect sense in view of Hebrews 6:4-9. If they renounced Jesus and went back to Judaism without Christ it would be impossible to repent again.

In chapter seven the author goes on to explain to them the significance of the priesthood that Jesus held. He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. It was a priesthood that resulted from eternal life. Further, they with the indwelling Christ and eternal life shared in that priesthood. In Hebrews 8:1 the author explains that the whole purpose in the epistle was to explain the New Covenant, the change of the priesthood etc. That quite simply is the meat. I asked where’s the beef? The answer is  found in the understanding of the New Covenant and ultimately the blood of the ultimate sacrifice. It was best expressed in Hebrews 9:14 “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

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