Heb 5:11-14 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.
This is one of the most important Scriptures for professing Christians and churches in our day. And yet most are ignorant of what the Lord is telling us here. This ignorance (or downright disgust) of these truths are causing all kinds of suffering to Christ’s people in so-called churches.
At best, most people who claim to be Christians are, as the Apostle says here, children. They of course fancy themselves to be quite the mature saints but the fact is that they cannot handle solid food. They don’t have teeth or the capacity to digest. Infants in diapers.
But that is at best. At worst, and I suspect far more common, is the reality that many if not most of them are not born again at all. God’s Word is therefore foolishness to them. And if that sounds unplausible to you, then just read on into Hebrews 6 because what the Apostle is doing here at the end of chapter 5 is introducing us to the topic of apostacy.
These people were not growing in Christ. Why? Well, as we said, it could be because they are still infants unweaned. But the warning intensifies as the Apostle warns then against the danger of becoming apostates. That is, people who have tasted of Christ and His goodness, who have sprouted up quickly like the seed on rocky ground, but who have then fallen away. Apostates reject Christ. Apostates are people who have had great spiritual privilege, even getting a sample of the Spirit (some even could evidence spiritual gifts, remarkable as that sounds) and yet they never truly belonged to Christ. This becomes evident when they decide against Him.
Now, there in 5:14 you have the main point of this post: But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Want to know a sure sign of a genuine Christian who is growing in Christ? They are able to distinguish good from evil. If you read 1 John you will see that even the newest real Christian will evidence this ability in regard to certain basics such as discerning a false gospel.
Now, I know people who claim to have been Christians for decades. They don’t live evil lives themselves. They really appear in many ways to be saved people. And yet…they consistently remain naive to evil. Their senses are dull. They have no real power of discernment. They make excuses for evil, minimizing it rather than seeing it for what it is. They go along merrily assuming that most people are good folks and that even a person who is walking in open sin is really just someone who we need to better understand. That abuser for instance. Cut him some slack, you know. He has childhood issues he hasn’t worked through yet.
But what does the Word of God say about someone who looks at evil through rose-tinted lenses? It says this:
(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.
And then it goes on to give this warning:
Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Heb 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. (13) But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
I embrace reformed theology. I believe that God’s true people, His elect, can never, ever be lost. I believe that every real Christian, though not perfect in this life, will always repent when they sin. But I also know that the Bible tells us that everyone who professes Christ must carefully watch themselves to see that they are truly in the faith. And one of the most certain signs that we know the Lord is that we grow in the ability to discern good from evil.
Why are pastors and churches not discerning evil? Well, you have the answer. Either they don’t know the Lord at all, or they are still nursing on milk and wearing spiritual diapers. In either case, they are not qualified to teach or lead us. They are like an infant who knows just enough to say “babba” and yet writes books about theology and Scripture and marriage.