The First Principles of Christianity

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. Heb. 6:1-2 KJV 

Paul reprimanded the Hebrews that have been professed Christians (see Heb. 5:12-14) that they have been teachers long enough, but because of their laziness and dullness in grasping the truth, they must be taught the first simple doctrines of Christ for a second time. He reproofs them in the fact that they are still unweaned babes 1Cor. 3:2; 1Pet. 2:2 and have not grown at all. Milk-feeding was a metaphor used by many writers, both sacred and profane, to express the first principles of religion and science. They applied sucking to learning; infant to every beginner; and meat to those who had learned the first principles of truth.

In view of their lack of progress, he advised them to leave the infantile stage of the Christian experience and to become adults:

‘…leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…’

Two things manifest Christian maturity:

  1. To leave the first principles, thus to cease to remain in the state of babes
  2. To go on to perfection, to never rest until you are an adult capable of taking strong meat, of being a teacher, and of exercising all senses in righteousness 5:13-14; 6:1

The ‘go on’ is the Greek word phero that means to be borne along as a ship driven by a wind. Acts 27:15-17 The Spirit is the power that moves believers forward.  2Pet. 1:21; Rom. 8:14

Unto perfection’ is the command that we must be perfect as taken from the Greek word teleios meaning that which has reached maturity; is complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun) completeness: – of full age, man being perfect. So many times we are charged in the Word that we should reach this perfection, Mat. 5:48; 1Cor. 2:6; 2Cor. 13:1; Eph. 4:12-13; Php. 3:15; Col 1:27-28 which always refers to the perfect life of Jesus Christ 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Heb. 5:9 that we are commanded to follow:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Jas. 1:4 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you1Pet. 5:10 KJV

Many seek to find out how many imperfections, failures, and carnal traits are allowable in religion, but few seek to bring Christians to the height of the gospel standard and to the unlimitations of the promises of God. The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom mentioned much less demonstrated, while the stature of littleness, emtiness, and powerlessness of Christianity is often emphasized and demonstrated.

Paul warned them against laying again the foundation…. where the Greek word for laying is kataballo which means to cast down or overthrow. Thus the warning to not cast down or destroy the foundation already laid, of the six fundamental doctrines of Hebrew 6:1-2 from which the Hebrew Christians were supposed to understand by then and be able to teach others.

These six fundamental doctrines are the first principles of Christianity:

  1. Repentance is described by the Greek word metanoia, which means a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause, not merely the consequences of it. Mat. 3:8, 11; 9:13; Luk. 24:47 It means to renew our minds 12:2; Eph. 4:23 and to meditate upon God’s Word Col. 3:2; Php. 4:8 and not to entertain the enemy in our thoughts. 2Cor. 10:3-6
  2. Faith in God through Christ whereby we trust in Him fully for all that was promised in His Word, this is not just to believe in His existence but a wholly dependence on Him for all our needs in this life and thereafter. 15:1-8, Heb. 11:1
  3. Baptisms
  • Baptism ‘into Christ’ is essential to salvation: the most important baptism that saves the soul and brings one into the body of Christ at repentance and the new birth; where dying to the self is essential, and to be washed of the old man (nature of sin) so that one can become a new creation in Christ Rom. 6:3-12; 1Co 12:13; 2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27; 5:24; Col. 2:11-13
  • Baptism ‘into water’ is essential to obedience and to a “good conscience” after one is saved and ‘in Christ’ Mat. 28:19; Mar. 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Co 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21; 1 Jn. 5:6-10
  • Baptism ‘into the Holy Spirit’ is essential to receiving power for service. It is the immersion or burial of the believer in the Spirit at which time he receives the Spirit in his life in all ‘fulness’ and ‘without measure’ and is ‘endued with power from on high’ to do the works of Christ. Ma 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mar. 1:8; 10:38-39; Luk. 3:16; 24:49; Joh. 1:33; 7:37-39; 14:12-17; Acts 1:4-8; 11:16; 19:2-3
  1. The laying on of hands: When blessing others, 48:14 making offerings, Num. 8:10 ordaining people, Num. 27:18, 23 imparting the Holy Spirit, Dt. 34:9 blessing children, Mt. 19:15 healing the sick, Mk. 6:2,5; 16:18; Lk. 4:40; 13:13; Acts 5:12; 28:8 performing miracles, Acts 19:11 imparting Holy Spirit gifts 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:2 and imparting the Spirit baptism. Acts 8:17-24; 9:17; 19:6
  2. The resurrection of the dead is described in 1 Corinthians 15 where Christ is refer to as the firstfruit of the resurrection, 1Co 15:4, 12; Rom. 14:9; 2Cor. 5:15; 1Th. 4:14 the beginning of the resurrection as He was the first to be resurrected from the dead and to enter into immortality of the body. Then all reborn Christians will follow at the time of the rapture “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; Joh. 14:1-3; Luk. 21:34-36; 2Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Th. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Th. 2:1, 7 Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time.
  3. The eternal judgment refers to the White Throne judgment as described in Rev. 20:11-15 Mt. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; Isa. 66:22-24  when all people of all ages who have died in sin, will be sent to eternal hell where their worm will not die and the fire will not be quenched. Mar. 9:43-49

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