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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THIS WE WILL DO

Hebrews 6:1-3 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.

Therefore, that is, since we know that God expects it of all newborn Christians, we should go on unto perfection. We should continue to study the word of God by partaking of the strong meat - the deeper, meatier, things God as revealed through His inspired writings of the New Testament. We need to grow into strong, adult Christians capable of discerning between good and evil, and between the gospel truth and false teaching. By diligently doing so, we will become full-grown Christians capable of teaching God's will to others. The first principles of the doctrine of Christ must never be forgotten, but once a Christian life has begun, it is necessary to set them aside - to study, and gain complete knowledge of God's will.

To learn the doctrine of Christ, it is necessary that we study His personal teaching, found in the gospel accounts of the New Testament, and also, to study the writings of other inspired bible authors that told more about Him and His doctrine. From a study of these messages that came from the mind of God, Christians are to learn just how He wants us to conduct our lives here on earth. This is the spiritual perfection that all children of God must strive to attain. With the exception of Jesus Christ Himself, no other human being has ever attained perfection, but that fact should never deter us from striving to attain it. Sufficient righteousness in the sight of God will never be achieved unless perfect righteousness is the goal one strives for. The highest perfection a Christian can ever hope to attain is to have the void created in their heart, by the forgiveness of sins, to be unselfishly filled with true love for God and all mankind (Matt. 22:37-39). Unless we grow in knowledge and faith there is a danger that we will become complacent, and more apt to fall away from the righteous life required of all Christians. This is the warning by the author as found in the three verses following the lesson text.

Once the foundation is laid, that is, the initial acts of obedience that puts one into Christ, the need is to build upon it - to grow in Christian stature. A foundation on which nothing is built serves no purpose - it is useless. And, once an appropriate foundation is laid, there is no reason to lay it again. Included in the Christian foundation is repentance from dead works. To become a Christian, one must replace self-will with God's will. To trust in your own works is vain; only by doing the will of God can you ever achieve the hope of eternal salvation. Like repentance, faith toward God must be included in foundation of Christianity. Believing faith in God requires faith in Christ, that He is the Son of God (John 14:1), and that baptism into His Body for the remission of sins is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:37-41). Indeed, baptism is included in the foundational doctrine of every Christian. Jesus, Himself, tells us, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).

The laying on of hands was part of foundational doctrine that ushered in the Christian Dispensation. Our Savior used this during His earthly ministry to prove Himself as the Messiah by imparting miraculous blessings and healing powers to those in need. However, the miraculous nature imparted by the laying on of hands was limited to the apostles of Christ as noted in Acts 8:17. Other recorded instances of laying on of hands were ceremonial in nature, and used, customarily to indicating the approval of the appointment of deacons (Acts 6:6), the approval of Paul and Barnabas as missionaries proclaiming the gospel of Christ (Acts 13:2-3), and the ordination of Timothy as a gospel preacher (1 Tim. 4:14). Although the laying on of handswas initially necessary to effectively teach God's word. with the death of the apostles of Jesus, the power, as well as the need, to bestow miraculous blessings of the Holy Spirit ceased.

The the example set by ther resurrection of Jesus from death His death on the cross of Calvary, established another fundamental principle within the foundation of Christian doctrine - the resurrection of the dead. This Jesus taught, along with eternal judgment, when He said the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

Putting these first principles behind us, we must grow into adult Christians. And this will we do, if God permit, that is, through God's gift of wisdom and guidance.