Fundamental Key to the
Kingdom of God
Over the past thirty-seven years
since I received Jesus Christ into my
heart to be my Savior from sin and the Lord of my life I have seen and
heard a great deal of preaching and teaching concerning a variety of
subjects. Most of the church teachings I have heard come from the
Old Testament with a Christian frosting on them. Almost all of
the rest come from the New Testament epistles of the apostle Paul, with
an Old Testament frosting on them. Hardly any come from the words
of Jesus, and those which do are couched in terms of church
traditions which actually nullify the Word of God!
I have come to the conclusion that
there is a missing ingredient in the
recipe for successful life which is the goal of all the teachings I
Several years ago I opened a Greek
New Testament to Hebrews 5:7-14, and
got stuck for months reading and re-reading and contemplating and
praying for revelation concerning the focus of that passage.
Heb 5:7 In
the days of His
flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and
tears, to Him Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard
because of His reverence.
Heb 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal
salvation to all who obey Him,
Heb 5:10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of
Heb 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to
explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you
need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of
God. You need milk, not solid food,
Heb 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word
of righteousness, since he is a child.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have
their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish
good from evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ
and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from
dead works and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of
hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Heb 6:3 And this we will do if God permits.
Did you notice the odd disconnection
between the passage in chapter 5
and the passage in chapter 6? The first passage says that we need
to know the 'basic principles of the oracles of God' before we can go
on to maturity.
So, what are these 'basic
principles'? Are they 1. repentance
from dead works, 2. faith toward God, 3. instruction about washings, 4.
the laying on of hands, 5. the resurrection of the dead, and 6. eternal
judgment? I suspect that these six doctrines together are the
'elementary doctrine of Christ' which I believe to be different from
the 'basic principles of the oracles of God'. Why? Because
I have seen and heard people taught these six doctrines without it
making a bit of difference in their lives.
On the other hand, as I look back on
my own life and the radical change
which occurred on May 15, 1976, at 3:30 p.m.Eastern Standard Time, I
can confidently say that the best thing that God ever did for me was to
send His Son Jesus to die for me so that I could begin to live for Him
rather than for myself. And I can with equal confidence say that
the second best thing that God ever did for me was to kick all of my
crutches out from under me and bring me crashing down to reality by
having one of His children tell me that my whole life was "one big sin"
with no eternal value because I had always lived for myself rather than
I found out later when I first read
the Christian Bible that the
summary of the message of John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the
way for Jesus Christ, was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at
hand!" I also found out that the summary of the message of Jesus
Himself was the same - "Repent and believe the Good News!"
I also found that the word 'Repent'
is a translation of the Greek word
''metanoieo", which means literally to 'change one's mind'. And
that begs the question - What are we to change our mind about?
(Or, for you readers who are sticklers of proper English, 'about what
are we to change our minds?')
I have come to the conclusion that we
all need to change our minds
about our own rightness with God, or the lack thereof. I say that
because for the first 26 years of my life I thought that I was
basically good. Sure, I had some flaws, but I was not a killer or
thief or chronic liar or an adulterer. But when I began to find
out that God does not grade on a curve, He grades on a Pass/Fail
system, and the only passing grade is 100%. One sin puts us in
the Failure category as far as God is concerned!
The Good News is that God as provided
the remedy for sin and for
sins. Sin and sins? Sin is the aspect of humanity which
causes us to fall short of always pleasing God. And sins are the
acts which displease God.
Years ago I heard a song which
summarized my situation to a 'T'
The words of the song are as follows:
You paid a debt You didn't owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed Someone to wash my sins away.
But now I sing a brand-new son -
"Amazing Grace" the whole day long
because You paid the debt that I
could never pay!
I now know why You paid the price,
why You would make the sacrifice,
why You would walk up that hill
It was because You loved us more than
Your own life!
That's why You paid the debt that I
could never pay!
I also learned that I, while every
'born-again' knows that Jesus died
to pay for our sins, hardly any Christians know that He died and rose
again so that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him Who
loved us and gave Himself for us! (2 Corinthians 5:15).
So, in conclusion, I believe that the
elementary principles of the
oracles of God are these two truths: 1. We all need to be
convicted of our sins and sinfulness, and 2. we all need to hear the
Good News of God's grace - that we all need to die in order to be born
again with a heart which beats for God rather than for ourselves.
More later, maybe.