Systematic Theology: Moving Beyond The Milk

Moving Beyond The Milk

Hebrews 6:1-3 “Therefore LEAVING [in the sense of not being stuck in one place but moving onto something else, building upon the former] the PRINCIPLES [the basics, the beginning, the first things] of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto PERFECTION [maturity; the things befitting growth in light of our understanding of the milk, the basic principles]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.”

Not only do many pastors, preachers, and bible teachers ignore the above, they glory in their ignorance. They think that by sticking to the milk, the basics, the preaching of the cross only (as blessed as the subject is), they are doing their congregation a service. They are not. If they are in the role of an evangelist, or an itinerant missionary, then proclaiming the Gospel truth (i.e. the preaching of the cross) alone is fine. If they playing the role of a pastor/elder/preacher, and they never move beyond the principles, leading their congregation to maturity (by God’s grace), they are poor preachers and teachers indeed.

Think about it; if you’ve been a preacher or pastor for years, or even decades, and you have not substantively moved beyond the preaching of the cross unto the preaching of other core biblical truths IN LIGHT OF the cross, in light of the finished work of Christ, how can you NOT be doing your congregation a disservice in light of the passage above. You are not helping but harming your people.

A preacher is not more holy, more Gospel-loving, more anti-legalistic by ignoring God’s admonitions by just “sticking to the cross.” Instead, they are stunting the growth of their assembly, leaving people who should be cutting into fine steak, seeking their (milk) bottle instead. The concept of adorning the Gospel, growing in grace, progressing in manifest/experimental sanctification becomes of minor relevance at best or something to rail against at worst.

To prove just how essential it is to move beyond the basics, just look at the New testament itself. Look at how many passages go beyond the preaching of the cross. Most epistles start out emphasing the cross-work of the Lord (which makes perfect sense, seeing that such is the most needful for the salvation of souls) but in the middle to latter chapters, we see a transition to instructions on how to live practically, experimentally, IN LIGHT OF Gospel truth, IN LIGHT OF already being perfectly righteous and sanctified before God, through the finished work of Christ. The pattern is often (1) Proclaim necessary Gospel truth, and then (2) Proclaim the blessed honour of “adorning the Gospel” of Christ… and yet many scoff at the relevance, or even the reality, of the latter… puffing up their hearts and minds against the word of God, on the notion that they are doing God’s service by only preaching the Gospel facts. They boast in 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” thinking that such is the pattern governing how pastors should preach when, in fact, it was actually an indictment against the weak state of those in Corinth who were constantly in need of milk, never being able to handle the meat.

Finally the truth of God’s word should permeate every single aspect of our life. We will fall short, far short, but the course of our lives should be a desire to press onward, fighting the good fight, striving against sin in self (especially) and the world. This is what Paul taught by the Holy Spirit, and Peter, and James, and all of God’s word really.

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