“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
This passage clearly exposes (for those who have ear to hear) the fallacy and trap of routine sermonizing and teaching. But we need to be sure we recognize the word pictures the writer has chosen.
- Milk: Milk is a liquid processed by an animal or mother and fed to an infant who is unable to feed himself and whose digestive system is unable to digest solid food through its own function.
- Infant: No child is ever to remain in the infant stage of development but is intended to grow into adulthood and achieve something of value and benefit.
- Righteousness: Whatever is right, true and good in God’s eyes.
- Word: This is not referring to the written word but rather to the spoken word of God. The book of Hebrews was written between 64 and 68 a.d. and while “the oracles of God” (which phrase is used in the verse preceding the one we are now examining) does have reference in the New Testament to what we now call the Old Testament, the Greek word there rendered “oracles” (“logion” [ 3051 ]) refers to the spoken words of God and the Greek word rendered here as “word” (“logos” [ 3056 ]) has the primary meaning of something said. At the time the letter to the Hebrews was written, there was no such thing as a “New Testament” as we know it today. Nearly everything God was telling His people was by personal word, not primarily through intellectual, philosophical or “religious” teaching.
- Solid food: Whether cooked or raw, solid food is something which the person picks up, places in his mouth, chews, swallows and digests for himself.
- Adult: An adult is one who is able to perform at least the basic necessities of life for himself and with at least an adequate, functional level of emotional stability and personal responsibility.
- Senses: This is the spirit and soul of the person.
- Discern: This is a spiritual, not an emotional or intellectual activity.
- Good and evil: This is not what is good and evil in one’s own opinion but rather what God declares to be good and evil. Anyone can practice what is good in one’s own eyes (the New Testament calls it lawlessness) but only those trained to discern God’s heart can practice righteousness (what is right in God’s eyes).
That we even have to review in such detail the basic truths of these word pictures is an indication of the depth of deception which is upon the people who claim to belong to Christ.
Let us consider then what the writer of Hebrews is telling us. The person who gains his spiritual knowledge and insight through the agency of another person is incapable of knowing what is right, true and good in God’s eyes. Because he has not interacted with God for himself he is not able to know what God requires of him nor by what principles and notions God would have him order his life. Instead, he is free to use his own ability to decide what is good and evil (the tree which caused all of man’s problems in the first place) and practice whatever “religion” he likes (as Cain attempted to do) all in the name of Christ.
Those who have obediently followed God wherever He has led them (usually this has meant abandoning the “church” and enduring some form of wilderness experience and training) are the who are better able to recognize what is good and evil in God’s eyes. Thus the routine sermonizing and teaching of the “church” can now be seen as a symptom and ingredient of the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith, and not, as we once believed, a part of the genuine way of Christ and God. And this is but one example. Those who are enamored with “church” and who routinely gain their “truth” through teachings have no ability to know what an abomination they really are in the sight of God.
Let he who has ears hear.
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