First Principles Inquiry
“Therefore 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, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit” (Hebrews 6:1-3).
The following question was posed to the author: “…What was the importance of Christians today knowing the First Principle that those Jewish people were taught to leave?” The Hebrew writer penned his narrative to early church Jewish Christian converts. The book was designed to provide instruction to the new Christians regarding the deity, excellency, and better New Testament covenant of Christ. They were accustomed to their ancestral traditions, but the inspired author of the Hebrew epistle wanted them to be critically aware of the true power of Christ. They were knowledgeable of the sacrifice and blood of animals, but it needed to be made clear that the sacrifice and blood of Christ was omnipotent and supreme. They were familiar with the tradition of a high priest entering the holy place once a year, confessing the sins of all Israel, but God needed them to understand that through His Son (the complete High Priest), Christians could and can personally pray to God, for Christ defeated sin once and for all. Based upon Hebrews 5, the new Christians should have been able to teach others, but needed to be taught again the first principles of the Christian faith. They did not need a review of their Old Testament teachings; they needed a review of the New Testament first principles. Parts of Hebrews represent an evangelistic reprimand in love. The first principles were not connected to Old Testament customs and traditions, but New Testament basics. They were instructed to leave the principles of Christ, meaning to move on to deeper levels of biblical understanding and content. The New Testament concepts of repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, must continually be taught to all new converts, because they represent the bedrock of the Christian religion. Misunderstanding any one of the first principles will result in a faulty view of the Christian faith, doctrinally. The Jewish Christians were not being taught to abandon the principles, but to move toward perfection, Christian maturity. Notice, in verse it states “And this will we do, if God permit .” In essence they would be taught the principles again if possible. This should not be assumed to mean they would have been taught their Old Testament history that had been nailed to the cross again. All Christians, whether Jew or Gentile must be taught the first principles and be able to move beyond them for deeper levels of growth. Within our congregation the first principles are taught every month through the Christianity 201 course. Remember, You are the clay In The Potter’s Hands. God has paved a way to save you today! More questions welcomed.