Our Solid Foundation

Blog #54 April 11, 2023

Hebrews 6:1-3 
6:1 Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
6:3 And we will go on unto perfection if God permit.

This passage from Hebrews speaks to the life of the believer, the applications of the ways of God to their life, and the absolute need for growth beyond these basics. By God's design, all life is eternal. Humanity having the ability to choose, decided to rebel against God and brought the corruption of lust and sin to their lives, and death not to just itself but to all of creation. In that instant growth became absolutely necessary if life was to continue from one generation to the next. The goal of life in general is the ability to perpetuate itself literally forever. In a temporal world filled with sin and corruption immortality is a group effort defined by the fruit or offspring we produce. Immortality is not personal; it is shared with our offspring from one generation to the next. In the spiritual the individual life must live to the fullness of its creation if it is to exercise its God give to ability to be eternal. The Gospel offers us the tools we need to attain the fullness we seek. Growing beyond those basics is the only way to achieve eternal perfection. When I finally grasped the importance of Hebrews 6:1-3 I eagerly reached out to grow as quickly as I could only to find that my grasp of the tools offered us by the Gospel was woefully inadequate. I reach out today in hopes that I can save you that same disappointment. 

Hebrews 6:1-3 
6:1 Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
6:3 And we will go on unto perfection if God permit.

The word "doctrines" is truly a simple word made complicated and given an unintended holy definition by its restrictive usage.

Doctrine: According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary
1: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief  
2: a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations
3 law : a principle of law established through past decisions
4: a military principle or set of strategies
5: something that is taught

As you can see Romans 6:1-3 expresses the lessons Christ taught. They are really no more but certainly no less. The growth of the Christian movement in the world has failed to stress the importance of the universal common understandings of these teachings. We need to lay the foundation for that understanding, and I feel this is a good venue for just that. 

Hebrews 6:1-3 
6:1 Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
6:3 And we will go on unto perfection if God permit.

We will approach it in six parts: 
Repentance from dead works 
Faith toward God
Laying on of hands
Resurrection of the dead
Eternal judgment.

Galatians 5:19-21
5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Repentance from dead works:
As we can see a fullness of the ways of the world are listed in this passage from Galatians. As I read through them I swear I could attach each one of them to a story on the news I watched last night or an interchange I had with another today. The corruption they embody is so common that many no longer recognize them for the evil they are. What do we feel about their presence in the world around us? Do we feel anger, disgust, or even sorrow? Do we live in fear of what the world has become, have we lost the ability feel anything about their ability to dominate our life? It occurs to me that the unremarkable way they exist in our life is the crux of their insidious nature, and the power by which the world dominates us.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This was the call to arms that the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Galatia. It is also a proper depiction of the act of repentance. A repentant life stands apart and away from the lust and sins of the world. Consider this, alcohol is very much a social norm if not a requirement. How should we handle it? Should we rail against it and offer condemnation to any who dare to drink? Or, should we just say, No? Paul made his opinion very clear. It is not society that entangles us. It is our choice and I will bet you will be amazed at the lack of reaction you will see when you just quietly say, no. Will it put an end to your social life? If it does you have to ask yourself if it was really worth it. If it doesn't, don't be surprised if your moderation becomes a quiet testimony to others. In fact take joy if it does. 

Mosiah 3:3 And also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Understand this as the true nature of repentance. Repentance is not committing sin and living ashamed of the sin in our lives. Neither is it a big victory parade. It is instead allowing the Spirit to change our hearts. We must turn away from sin and allow the Spirit to be the strength within us. Repentance is complete when temptations loose their ability to tempt us.

Psalms 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Faith toward God:
Faith: According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary
1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof.
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. A system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
5. The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.

Faith as defined by scripture:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

When I first looked at the scriptural definition, I thought God and the world defined faith in the same way. To top that off I had very definite feelings about blind faith being the foundation of our belief in God. Then I read it again with the Spirit present and was shown something completely different. Faith is based in both assurance and evidence. It is neither blind nor baseless. The word of God (scripture, personal revelation, testimonies of others, ect.) teaches me what to hope for. My assurance of those things hoped for come in the form of my fellowship with God through His Holy Spirit. Some may say that that is not enough and God agrees. In that God gives me a fellowship of people that are of a common understanding of how to live a life that recognizes God as their Father, Christ as their savior, and the Holy Spirit as their teacher. The lives they live, how they live them, watching them grow, and how they apply this growth to all they do is most certainly evidential proof that God is directing the Spirit within to teach us how to grow and where to obtain that growth. Knowing the people and watching the growth they experience is tangible assurance that I can do what they have done. My faith toward God can grow to be very real, because those around me possess a very real and tangible faith. Again, faith is not blind, because in an open and diligent fellowship with God, it doesn't need to be.  

Baptisms: 1. By water

Temporally, baptism is an act of consciously opening your life to the ways of God and the change it will bring about in your life. It is also a very public ceremony that proclaims before the world of your intent to make the ways of God your ways, too. It is your first testimony of God at work in your life and in the world of man.

John 3:5-6
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
3:6 That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.

Spiritually, baptism is the death of a life that lived corrupted by the ways of the world. We are then reborn as a new person cleansed from sin and able to accept into our lives the Spirit that is the mind of God. 

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

As in all things, mankind has found a way to make this sacred commitment a subject of disagreement. Some believe that the sprinkling of water over a follower constitutes the fullness of baptism. Others believe that unless a body is fully immersed in water the baptism is incomplete and unworthy. My own belief led me to baptism by full immersion, but I can imagine places in this world that lack any suitable body of water capable of full body immersion. I struggle with that. I am convinced that the most important part of the act of baptism is the belief by those being baptism that today, this moment, and by this act that which was my life ceases to exist and today I begin life anew as a child of God. This is the understanding I want to share with all who seek God.

Baptisms: 2. By the Spirit or Laying on of hands

Both temporally and spiritually this aspect of God's work in the world of man has met with conflict and disrepute in the churches of the world. It has been misunderstood and misrepresented by many factions to the point of being considered an act of magic by some and the work of the devil by others. It is neither. In fact it is in reality no more than God reaching out to humanity and sharing with them the full power of His presence in their lives. Many would say that this portion of baptism is neither scriptural no legitimate in the eyes of God, but in fact it is. 

Acts 19:1-6
19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples,
19:2 He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

This passage of scripture is a part of The King James Bible and its modernized versions as well as the Inspired Version, which is my point of reference. It clearly points out that a the baptism of repentance offered by John the Baptist had the authority to help us recognize the sins in our life and reach out to God in a spirit of repentance. Christ offered the authority of a baptism that went beyond simple repentance allowing those who accept this baptism a source to a path that could lead them to complete redemption. That source was and is today The Holy Spirit. 

John 14:16-17
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Baptism and the Laying on of hands:

The laying on of hands, then, makes the cleansing offered in baptism complete. In cleansing that which is corrupt is made pure, isolated, and unprotected. The laying on of hands is an expression of sharing. That minister ordained to the proper authority has the ability to share with another a portion of the Holy Spirit within them. Those who were cleansed are no longer isolated. Having the mind of God within them protects them. For clarity, imagine wearing a surgical mask as opposed to receiving an effective vaccine. One protects by covering us. The other protects by changing our very nature. 

For too many years the world has inflated and misrepresented the laying on of hands. To many it has taken on an almost magical status. Grasp this idea that part of every member's assigned labor is the sharing of God's nature within them by the laying on of hands. 

Mosiah 9:40 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life:

Consider the first act of comforting another. Is it not touching them? Do we not embrace each other when sharing joy? This very personal act of touching allows us to share with others more than we could ever say with words. I find it sad and deplorable that humanity has limited our clergy and us from using without restraint the very personal form of ministry. Is it magical? When used in the way God intended by those that recognize the proper authority and are diligent in their adherence to it, no. It is righteous and godly. I can personally testify of its effective righteousness and I have seen its godly applications many, many times, on all levels. Used righteously it uplifts both the benefactor and the beneficiary. If it is overused ineffectively it should be policed. If it is not used it should be taught and utilized.

Resurrection of the dead and Eternal judgment:

Revelations 20:12-13
20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.

I am convinced that believers everywhere, Christian or non-Christian have a common understanding of the end of times and the last day. The scenario depicted in the passage above voices for all beliefs the last day and the judgment that will decide our ultimate place in eternity. For me the doctrines brought by Christ allows me everything I can know, understand, or have any authority to affect in any way. The confusion brought about by speculating on humanity's final chapter helps me to agree with the old adage "Less is more". The understanding we share is sufficient. We have better things to do.

For us to be the people we seek to be, we need to grow in our common understandings about everything pertaining to God and the ways of God. I hope what we shared today will help us in this effort. Remember, if the foundation is solid the building will stand level and plumb; and it will last. 

We live.
We grow.
Pray that we can do it His way, together.






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