Thank you, in advance, for taking a few moments to read this first weekly post; may our Lord cause or allow this series to be edifying – even if only a fraction of the excellence that has consistently been displayed by IDS folks including Geoff, Mike, and, of course, Steve. I’m an attorney; I’ve not pursued formal theological education. That said, my informal theological education – including, during the past year, extensive study of New Covenant Theology — will, prayerfully, be evident!
My intent is to limit weekly posts to five paragraphs or less; I want folks to read them (!) and to avail themselves of IDS resources such as the excellent articles you’ll find here and here (indeed, I intend to link to such at every opportunity!). Comments are not merely welcome, they’re desired! Please, though, don’t decrease the likelihood of your comments being read by writing dissertations! If you must needs write more than a few paragraphs, please consider submitting such for consideration as a separate post.
“Solid food” is [the English (Standard Version) translation of] our Lord’s term – He, via the Writer of Hebrews (hereinafter: “the Writer”), exhorts (at 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.” Solid food is distinguished from “milk”, as, via the preceding two verses, our Lord laments: “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, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child” (emphasis added).
Deo volente, we’ll consider these verses next week; for now, please observe that “the basic principles of the oracles of God” is what He deems to be “milk”(!). Via the subsequent two verses (6:1 and 2), our Lord (via the Writer) exhorts: “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance … faith … resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (emphasis added). Whoa! “Repentance from dead works”, “faith toward God”, “the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” are “milk”?!
Okay: “God said it; that settles it”. So, if such doctrines which seem to be nothing less than weighty to us are “elementary” and for the immature, what does our Lord consider to be “solid food”? In other words, once we’ve mastered (as we must) the seemingly–weighty-but-nonetheless-elementary doctrines, what is it that we must “train” and “practice” to master? Please “stay tuned”; better yet, please participate in the study of the portion of Hebrews – indeed, the portion of all of Scripture – via which our Lord (via the Writer) delineates such: Chapters 5 through 10.
Melchizedek may seem obscure to us; to our Lord, he’s vital to our understanding. Melchizedek and Hebrews 7 – 10 are (figuratively speaking, of course) the thread which, when pulled, undoes the complex tapestries which system-driven theologies are. New Covenant Theology – the result of understanding the parts (as contrasted with system-driven theologies which understand the parts on the bases of theological presuppositions) – not only isn’t disintegrated by Hebrews 7 – 10 (the “solid food”), it is part-and-parcel of the “solid food”!
One additional preliminary consideration: The “warning passage” which is the essence of Hebrews 6 immediately follows the exhortation to “go on to maturity”. Since our Great High Priest is “able to save to the uttermost” (7:25), who is it that have “tasted the heavenly gift” (6:4) yet “fall away” (6:6)? Is it those who consider themselves to be satisfied with “milk”?!