Truth For Life E56 | Warnings Against Spiritual Immaturity, Hebrews 5:11- 14

warnings against Spiritual immaturity
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Today, we’re going to talk about Spiritual Immaturity. In our last 3 sessions, we looked at the supremacy of Jesus’ priesthood over the Levitical priesthood. We focused on three specific functions of the former priests under Aaron’s order – ordination, compassion and sacrifices offered- and concluded that in all 3 categories, Jesus far exceeded the Levites because His priestly origin was after the order of Melchizedek. The writer wants to now go into details about this mysterious Melchizedek but before he does that, he issues a series of warning to his hearers who have become indifferent to the things of God. Today we’ll be looking at Hebrews 5:11-14 and discuss these warnings in more details.

Warnings Against Spiritual Immaturity

The Passage

Warning Against Apostasy

11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


  • Verse 1

About what is the question we must ask ourselves. The writer is referring to Melchizedek. He’s saying that I have much more to tell you about Jesus and His priestly origin that is derived from the order of Melchizedek. But he is reluctant to do so because some of these details about Melchizedek require a certain level of knowledge/understanding and all their cerebral attention. And unfortunately he makes the stunning remark that they’ve become dull of hearing. The expression dull of hearing carries with it the following baggage- slow to think or understand; stupid. 2 lacking in interest. 3 lacking in perception or the ability to respond; insensitive. Basically it is the state of developing an apathy towards the deep things of God. We saw in chapter 3 how the people of Israel weren’t interested in cultivating an intimacy with the Lord. And Exodus 20 :18-21 pretty much summarizes their heart attitudes. They had a very shallow view of God because they didn’t draw near to God. And the writer makes the same observation about the people he is addressing. They have become dull of hearing, they have become insensitive to the things of God. It no longer stirred their hearts. We said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. In an assembly two people can hear the preaching of the word of God and have different responses. One may be driven to repentance, adoration and worship while the other may be so bored and completely indifferent to it ( that is dullness of hearing at its peak). It’s easy to drift from the word of God. Jesus Himself warns us about this condition in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13

  • Verses 12-13

The writer  is now going to give the reasons why he made the previous statement about his readers’ dullness of hearing. Based on verse 12, we can make the following inferences. The readers were probably people that had been saved for several years, they weren’t just new converts. But unfortunately they never grew in their salvation, they remained at the stage of an infant in Christ. When the writer says that they ought to be teachers, what is the implication? They were supposed to be seasoned believers, able to instruct and help other new converts, but that wasn’t the case. The word teacher here means one who is fitted to teach ( one experienced in the things of God).  But those the writer was addressing weren’t even acquainted with the basic principles of the oracles of God. What are those basic principles, he makes mention of them in Hebrews 6 (v1-2). He is comparing them to infants or children, because they are still living on milk ( basic principles of the oracles of God). They hadn’t matured and were inexperienced ( ignorant due to a lack of practice) in the word of righteousness. Paul makes the same observation about the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. 

There is nothing wrong with being a babe in Christ, as a matter of fact everyone starts at the stage of a babe. But here is the exhortation we received from Peter ( in 1 Peter 2:1-2),

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

 2 Peter 1 :3-15 teaches us how to avoid this condition. We must mature as years go by, just like a baby matures physically, mentally, and in all aspects. When it comes the things of God, there is no excuse for remaining at the stage of a baby after several years of being a convert. It is a sure sign of spiritual immaturity and apathy, things that are displeasing to God.

  • Verse 14

Listen to what the writer says in verse 14. He contrasts spiritual milk to spiritual solid food. The milk is for the ones who exude spiritual immaturity , the unlearned and those that are still at the stage of an infant. But solid food ( in the spiritual sense) is for those who are growing in their salvation. And the writer shows why they are allowed to feed on solid food. Because they have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Powers of discernment means – faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding, judging-Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We are told in James 1: 19-21

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear( hear what-the word of God, slow to speak, slow to anger( meaning instead of voicing our opinion against it, receive it humbly); 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God( because hardening our hearts against the word of God causes us to live unrighteous lives). 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

This is how we have our powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. We ought to be doers of the word not just hearers of it. Our sanctification must lead us to sin less and desire God more. Because we are being renewed in order to look in every way like our eldest brother Jesus. God is conforming us to the image of His Son, so there is no place in the Christian life for Spiritual immaturity.

Do you like the things of God? Do you get bored at church during the sermon? How often do you read your bible and let the words you read transform you and inform your daily decisions? Do you gloat over sins and are insensitive to sin around you?

Your answers to these questions will pretty much give you a summary of where you stand before God i.e are you an infant in need of milk or a mature believer in need of more solid food?

PS: I started for the sole purpose of exploring difficult questions about the Christian faith that most of us shy away from. All the content generated on this website is thoroughly analyzed prior to being shared. And the site is run solely by myself, your generous support is very much appreciated


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