Mature Christian or Babe in Christ?

I received a revelation the other day through the teaching of another believer that allowed me to see why most of what I say and write falls on deaf ears. It enabled me to understand why I get so few comments on my posts. This revelation comes from Hebrews 5:11 and following. Here the apostle Paul has just been talking about Jesus Christ as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He says in verse 11:

” Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. NASU  These believers who should have been able to understand what Paul was saying about this could not because they were still immature in their walk with God.
They were dull, nothros, of hearing, akoe. Nothros means sluggish or literally lazy; figuratively, stupid. It is translated as slothful, also. Akoe refers to hearing, as in receiving oral instructions.

Paul continues: Heb 5:12
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food (deeper truths).

If you have been in the Word for any length of time like 3 years or more, it is time to get off the bottle. Babes in the Word, like real babies require their mother’s milk for a couple of years, but after that it is time to move on to some more solid food, to stimulate proper growth. Paul says, you fellows ought to to be teachers by now, but instead you need to have someone teach you basic principles all over again. This is reproof. Laziness leads to being satisfied with milk, less difficult truths.

The problem as I see it is that there are not many in the church teaching this. If there are, not many are receiving what is being taught.  This brings me to the elementary principles verse 12 speaks about.  Elementary principles are the words arche stoicheion, which mean fundamental, initial or the first things you should have learned as a babe, like the alphabet.  NT:4747 any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise; an element, first principle (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) The basic teachings about Christ, found in the 4 Gospels!

Heb 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant (an immature Christian,) is unskilled in the word of righteousness. NRSV

Unskilled is the word apeiros. It is only used 1 time in the Bible giving it singular importance. It means inexperienced, ignorant. It is not ignorance of just any old thing, but ignorance of the word of righteousness! How long are you willing to remain this way? I hear so many believers who say they are content with sticking to the basics. Were you happy in diapers, with poop in your pants? isn’t it time to grow up?

Righteousness in the 4 Gospels was only possible through good works. The free gift of righteousness, by the grace of God and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, was not available in the gospels.

Heb 5:14
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. KJV
Full age, Mature, teleios, means complete in labor, growth, mental and moral character; lacking nothing necessary to completeness.

Use, hexis, = habit, practice; senses, faculties of perception.
exercised, trained, gumnazoo, to exercise vigorously in body or mind. This is where we get the word for gymnast. Think if the mental and physical training a gymnast puts themselves through to be great. We need to have a similar drive to excel in the deep things of God and His word.

Heb 5:14
But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to discern both good and evil. AT

If you are not complete, you are incomplete because of contentment and laziness. Remember, it’s Christ in you; his sight behind yours, his sense of smell behind yours, his touch behind yours, etc. Exercise your spiritual 5 senses. Why? To be able to tell the difference between a liar and someone telling you the truth; between an impostor and a pastor;  between a true prophet of God and a false prophet!

Solid food or strong meat is not found in the gospels. Here is a little of what The Bible Exposition Commentary* has to say about this:

“Unskillful in using the Word (v. 14). As we grow in the Word, we learn to use it in daily life. As we apply the Word, we exercise our “spiritual senses” and develop spiritual discernment. It is a characteristic of little children that they lack discernment, A baby will put anything into its mouth. An immature believer will listen to any preacher on the radio or television and not be able to identify whether or not he is true to the Scriptures. Just as our physical bodies have senses without which we could not function, so our inner “spiritual man” has “spiritual senses.” For example: “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8). “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear” (Matt 13:16). As we feed on the Word of God and apply it in daily life, our inner “spiritual senses” get their exercise and become strong and keen. Paul called this process exercising ourselves unto godliness (1 Thess 4:7-8).”

The world is full of physical exercising fanatics, who are missing the boat. Most Christians are missing the boat as well from not exercising themselves unto godliness, being like GOD.  See the last line of the preceding paragraph? It contains the key to everything I am saying.

More scriptures on exercising ourselves unto godliness:

1 Tim 4:7-9
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

Heb 12:11

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Moving forward, exercising ourselves unto godliness, is described as grievous chastening. Chastening here means education, training and implies disciplinary correction! Grievous implies a painful process. And it will be if you choose to do it.

Back to Hebrews, Paul continues in the next verse:

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation:  a) repentance from dead works, b) faith toward God, c) instruction about baptisms, d) resurrection of the dead, e) eternal judgment. NRSV

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, NOT laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. NASU

This is where the rubber meets the road for many immature Christians. They say they believe God and His Word, yet when it comes to really doing it, it is quite another thing. Here we are told if we want to be skilled, mature Christian that we have to leave the elementary teaching and principles of the gospels behind, if we are going to move forward to perfection, being all we were called to be. “Be all you can be,” for Christ.

I know these will be some difficult truths form some to swallow, but it is still the Word. If you want to be the best leader you can be for others or the best Christian you can be, you have to move on to exercising yourself unto godliness; anything else is just religion.

* (Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

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About Mystery Consultant

I was born in 1949 and raised in Paris, Illinois. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1967 and received an assignment to serve aboard the U.S.S. Mauna Loa, AE-8 off the coast of Vietnam. During my three years and nine months of active duty, I toured the Mediterranean Sea twice and the Caribbean Sea once. What an experience to look back on! I was separated from the Navy three months early to attend College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Near the end of my first term as Student Body President, I received Jesus Christ and became born again in 1974. I have been studying the Bible, The Word of God and teaching others ever since. I have been married for 43 years to my wife Joanne, from Whitestone, New York. We are the proud parents of two grown sons, three granddaughters and three grandsons. We have lived in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Arizona and California, where we now make our home in San Pedro.

4 responses to “Mature Christian or Babe in Christ?”

  1. carolynmolica2013 says :

    Good one! I really like where you said a baby puts anything into its mouth – that’s a super point! We need to discern. I have been thinking about what we hear. Isn’t there a verse about being careful what you hear? Anyway, it’s one I’ll be looking at this weekend!

    I posted some pretty intense “mature” stuff about sons of Belial in the past two weeks and some people were a little offended that I didn’t say more about praying for them. Oh well. What I found out is that many young believers are being attacked and fired and cheated, etc. etc. because they didn’t have the weapons to fight with before they were in the middle of a war and practically naked! So, the young believers have responded – yeah! The info needs to go out no matter who listens – it’s our responsibility to get it out there. You would like Ezekial 13 if you haven’t read it lately – about it being our job to fill in the breaches. Carry on Fred!


  2. patty elie says :

    I may not be where I want to be but thank God I am not where I was~ Pressing on and moving forward with Christ in me IS my goal!


  3. folg1 says :

    Very good teaching!

    I have a lot of work in translating the English to German, and I can not always express it in English as in German. The Google translator does not always express what I like to share.

    So I am for weeks in a German believer forum and I’m there starting with the basics and my goal is to go deeper into the Word with the people. Unfortunately I can not open the website and I do not know why at the moment. I need help and prayer.


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