Throughout the Word of God, especially in the New Testament we see the importance that is placed on the foundation of a thing, on the foundational principles of God, on the elementary principles of Christ, and every author of the Word stresses the importance of knowing these things, of being able not only to understand them, but also to explain them further. Some of the topics that Paul defines as elementary principles of Christ are not so elementary for many in our modern age, even those calling themselves preachers and teachers of God’s Holy Word. It always astounds me that men, which we deem somehow inferior in intelligence when compared to our modern age, had a firmer grasp on the truly important and relevant matters of a true spiritual life, understanding what were to them the elementary principles of Christ, while we in our modern age struggle with doctrines such as resurrection of the dead, or eternal judgment.
As far as hypothesis as to why men we might consider ignorant today not only seemed but were in fact far wiser when it came to spiritual things than our present generation, well I have a few. At the top of the list, leading the pack by a large margin is the idea that we’ve become so caught up in this present life, we’ve become so focused on this present world, we’ve allowed without much inner struggle the material to become a surrogate God of sorts, that we’ve lost sight of what truly matters, and of the fact that there is a hereafter, there is an eternity that beckons to us all with every breath we take.
Let’s be honest, there are countless souls today paying God lip service, raising a limp hand in the air at a crusade just for fire insurance and nothing more, thinking to themselves that if there is a hell, and if there is a heaven, well, then it won’t hurt to just raise their hand and walk up the aisle.
Our indifference toward the things of God, as a generation, betrays our true heart, it betrays the fact that we take a sovereign, omnipotent God all too lightly, and that we would prefer it if God would just sit in a corner somewhere, and wait on us to call on Him when we need His help, but other than that, we would surely appreciate it if He wouldn’t interfere or otherwise intrude on our lives.
The elementary principles of Christ, elementary, basic, things that every believer ought to know include such doctrines as the doctrine of repentance, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, the doctrine of eternal judgments, baptisms, and faith unto God. Elementary! I cannot stress this word enough. These are elementary principles, foundational principles that every believer ought to be familiar with, that every believer ought to know, and that every believer ought to live. I fear that we have over simplified the Christian walk, not salvation itself, but the Christian walk, that daily growth in God, that daily growth in wisdom, and in power, in knowledge and in understanding that comes with a solid relationship and an intimacy with God. We have grown complacent, we have grown comfortable with not growing, with not maturing, and we are content to remain in a static state not realizing that the longer we remain static, the more lethargic we become, and the easier we will be to overtake.
We tend to forget that we have an enemy, and this enemy will go to any length just so he could devour us, just so he could cause us to stumble, just so he could cause us to fall. The enemy we face is cunning, and he has been perfecting his craft over millennia. There is one other thing we must acknowledge concerning this enemy of ours, the fact that his time short. He knows his time is short, and he knows that we know his time is short, and now is his final push, his last ditch effort to take as many captives as he can.
This is why our foundation is important, this is why we must know the elementary principles of Christ, because a sure foundation will ensure a sure footing, and a sure footing will ensure that we are established in Christ. The true Christian life beings only once we’ve encountered Christ personally, intimately, and directly. Once we’ve encountered Him it is impossible to remain the same and unchanged.
Paul was writing to the Hebrews and was in essence saying to them:
‘look, we’ve gone over this, we’ve already established the elementary principles of Christ, we’ve already laid the doctrinal foundation of what you ought to believe, and rather than continue building from there, rather than go on to perfection, I am forced to reacquaint you with things such as the doctrine of baptisms, the doctrine of repentance, the doctrine of laying on of hands, because you did not grow, you did not go beyond the foundation, but rather you allowed the foundation to come to ruination in that you did not persist and persevere in the Word and the doctrines that were established in your midst.’
My hope and my prayer is that this series will help you grow in Christ. That’s it. I have no grandiose hopes for this series, other than to establish you in the truth of God’s word, and to help you grow in Christ. If I achieve this goal, if I achieve this objective, then I will have considered all my efforts, all the time away from my family, and all the hours it takes to put this series together, worthwhile. There is a verse in Hosea that has always troubled me on a very basic level.
It is Hosea 4:6, and the verse begins with a declaration made by none other than God, that states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
“But how could we be lacking in knowledge? We have access to countless sources of information at our fingertips, the world is more plugged in and more aware than ever before, there is a larger cross section of the population that is able to access unimaginable quantities of books and teaching materials, how could we be lacking in knowledge?”
The knowledge that God speaks of, is knowledge of His word, His will, His nature, and His presence in our lives. It is not necessarily book knowledge, but rather knowledge of Him, and yes, I can attest to the fact that countless souls are destroyed for lack of knowledge of God. The knowledge that God speaks of in Hosea, includes the elementary principles of Christ that Paul speaks of in Romans, it is a necessary knowledge, a knowledge that keeps us and protects us, growing us from strength to strength and from grace to grace.
So how important is this knowledge of Christ? How important is this knowledge of the elementary principles of Christ? How important is this knowledge of the will of God? The answer to these questions is that they are paramount. Eternity itself hinges on the knowledge we possess, for some, whom God defines as His people, are destroyed for lack of knowledge. These dear friends were not infidels that were being destroyed for lack of knowledge, they were not of the tribes of the gentiles, these were people whom God called His people, yet they too were destroyed for lack of knowledge. Knowledge of the will of God, knowledge of the elementary principles of Christ, these things are paramount in the life of the believer, far more important and necessary than learning how to turn your frown upside down, or putting on a happy face even when you’re crying on the inside. Too much focus is being placed on the physical, on the now, on the temporal, on this passing, fleeting thing we call life on planet earth, and all too readily, the eternal, and lasting things of God are summarily ignored or dismissed.
There are other scriptures that reveal the truth of how important this knowledge is to us and for us. For the sake of brevity, I will only go through two of them, but I assure you there are many more within the Bible that make the undeniable correlation and connection between knowledge and eternity.
John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
Lord willing, within the next few weeks, we will amass knowledge. We will reacquaint ourselves with the foundation of our faith, and the elementary principles of Christ, that we might be complete Christians, in complete authority and that we might stand with boldness and courage undeterred by the slings and arrows of the enemy. The enemy loves ignorance; he revels in it, because an ignorant Christian does not know the measure of his strength in Christ, he does not know the measure of His authority in Christ, and so succumbs to the onslaught of the enemy’s tactics. We will amass not the knowledge of man which perishes or is rendered irrelevant, but the knowledge of God which is as lasting as God Himself is, thereby becoming aware of that which we have access to in Jesus.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.