We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
We need the simple gospel, the good news in Jesus, in Hebrews being that he is the once for all sacrifice for our sins, the reality to which the shadows of old covenant practice pointed. What the solid food is that the writer in Hebrews might have explored, surely there’s smatterings of it in that letter, but not sure we can be clear on that. Probably it’s in terms of something like how we’re to see Jesus as the fulfillment of all of scripture, and particularly in that context, the old covenant, and what the ramifications for us today are. There seems to be both the suggestion of continuity and discontinuity, so that there is a clear tie between the covenants, after all, the same God, yet a radical newness that is present in the fulfillment in Christ. And certainly an important part of that solid food, beyond the milk, would be just how the gospel is to impact our lives. We need to not only thoroughly enter into this salvation, but the salvation needs to thoroughly enter and change us. In the case of the letter to the Hebrews, it was written to Jewish believers who were tempted due to adversity to retreat back into the practice of what the letter was calling old, fading away, and soon to be obsolete, what we call the old covenant.
We either grow, or shrivel, one might say. We are called to be taken or go on toward maturity. It’s a growth based on the gospel, and it seems to suggest that the gospel itself is both simple, and profound in that it is central in helping us toward the fullness of maturity in Christ. It is about growing from spiritual infancy toward adulthood in Jesus. But again, the trajectory of the passage suggests that we either grow toward maturity in Christ, or we’re in danger of falling away. Nothing in between except perhaps uncertainty as to where we’re at in faith.
Scripture doesn’t seem to always give us the easy answer we’re looking for, but instead tells us to simply go on, to follow, to keep going, and not turn back.
There is so much in the book of Hebrews, and we do well to read it through and ponder it. With the rest of scripture. With the goal of a growing, enlarged faith in and through Jesus.