Hebrews 5:12–14 (NKJV)
The author of Hebrews introduced the reader to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, in the last passage. He also characterizes His priesthood as “according to the order of Melchizedek.” This passage today is an aside of sorts, as it addresses the statement near the end of yesterday’s passage in more detail, that is, the fact that the readers are not mature in their knowledge of the truth of God’s word relating to Christ’s priesthood. Therefore, he offers rebuke and correction relating to their maturity in the faith.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.Hebrews 5:12-14
He opens the passage with a stern observation: by now you ought to be teachers, but you still need to go to school yourselves! He even goes so far as to say they need the most elementary principles taught to them again, as if they had learned nearly nothing. What a strong accusation! He equated them to spiritual babies, needing to drink milk at a mother’s breast, rather than sitting at the table with the children or adults. Infants drink milk because they have no teeth and because their digestive system is not fully developed. Anyone who only drinks milk is not developed or even maturing. That individual has no skill in the Word of God or righteousness.
Solid food belongs to the mature, the children and adults who have learned to sit at the table, use utensils, and are physically developed enough to digest it. In the spiritual realm, men and women need to broaden their appetites, eat fully, and digest what they have received from the Lord. This requires time and effort. It mandates intentionality and rigorous routine. It does not happen by accident, and requires training and discipline. Once the believer moves into regular devotion and study of the Word, coupled with meaningful and worshipful prayer, he or she can operate in discernment and wisdom. However, this does not just appear out of thin air. Instead, it is a purposeful and intentional walk with God that carries one from infancy to maturity through the Word and prayer.
The ad campaign from several years ago asked the question, “Got Milk?” It was touting the value of milk to human bodies. Another campaign said that “milk does a body good,” and that is true. It never, though, said that milk is all you need. It was an important part of one’s diet, but could not sustain an individual on its own. Drink the milk of the Word every day. Jesus saves, God is good, God so loved the world, heaven is a great place; these are all great thoughts. However, they are what a newby in the faith would know. How much have you learned since you first believed? No one wants to see a forty-year-old wearing diapers and drinking from a bottle. Neither does God.
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