Longing For Perfection
Robert Wurtz II
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1, 2 NKJV)
The writer to the Hebrews is bringing to bear all of the previous points he has made in chapter five in order to call believers along with himself to perfection. As was the situation then, so also today, many Christians tend to live a substandard Christian life that does not allow them to understand deep spiritual truths. They were not applying what they had learned of the elementary things and as a result were unable to comprehend in a figure “strong food.” Some actually backslid to the point that they had to be taught again.
Lurking underneath of this phenomenon is a missing attitude that should exist in every true believer; a longing for perfection. He is saying, in effect, ” Let us go on to the stage of adults, not babes, able to masticate (chew) solid spiritual food.” (Robertson) This is the sense of the Greek word for perfection. However, within this spiritual adulthood is a desire for perfection of expression of the Christian life; that is, the person of Jesus. True believers long to express fully all the characteristics of Christ’s godly personality. We should never be comfortable falling short.
Obstacles to Perfection
If you listen to many modern sermons and songs, you will quickly realize that the emphasis has moved away from what the writer to the Hebrews is calling for. Both sermons and songs often suggest that we are “sinking into an ocean of God’s grace.” This would be true if we were pouring the right meaning into the word “grace.” Understand that grace is more than God’s favorable attitude towards us, it is His divine enabling. James says, “He gives more grace…” What for? To enable us to function as right representations of Christ under any circumstances. This is more than God having a woolly feeling about us. Nevertheless, the sense of many of the opiate sermons and songs is that God loves us and were drowning in grace, so we need not concern ourselves about our conduct. We are numbed to the reality that God is calling us to perfection.
Evidence of Wrong Emphasis
It seems that as time goes on many God-fearing ministers are calling for God to send a revival into our land. The trouble is that the call is going into the ears of multitudes who have no inward sense of God calling us to perfection. So the call gets spun into all kinds of weird concepts. Whereas revival in the 19th century was clearly understood to be a move of God to bring people out of sin, and into a state where they could grow up into Christ, since the 1950s there have been so-called healing revivals, Charismatic gift revivals, laughing revivals, prosperity revivals, worship revivals, biker-boot revivals, and a host of other nonsensical things. Why? Because at some point along the path, professors of Christ lost their sense of Christian perfection, and now the emphasis is on everything from physical healing to spiritual gifts. It’s almost as if God is appearing in the east, and His people are facing the west. They are looking in the wrong place for the wrong things and He is not going to bless it.
Regaining the Desire for “Perfect”
The writer to Hebrews calls all of us, along with himself, when he states, let us go on to perfection. This is a call to grow-up beyond the elementary things such as repentance, faith, baptism in water and receiving the Spirit. He is not saying that we should leave off preaching these things, but that as individuals, we need to grow beyond them and into spiritual adulthood. Every child has to be born and grow up into maturity, but it would not be normative to have a person stuck in infancy or childhood. This is the writer’s point. Just as you grew up as a person… grow up as a Christian. Growing up means that we are then able to understand and walk in the deeper truths of the New Covenant.
I must make a notation here and say that if the foundation of repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, etc. is not laid, there is no way forward. We must come fully into the New Covenant. God is not the type of person that would allow someone with the mind of a five-year-old to get behind the wheel of a car or do some other important adult things. Spiritual immaturity is one of the greatest problems for the churches today. People are simply not growing up into perfection, and as a result it is like living within a society where grown men and women have the mentality, aptitude and priorities of children. The writer gives the solution, let us go on to perfection. This implies a choice on our part. Will we keep telling ourselves that we are “drowning in an ocean of grace” excusing our immaturity, or will we honor God’s heart and go on to perfection.
Longing For Perfection