Hebrews 6:1 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,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
Chapter 6 continues as a parenthetical text along with the closing verses of chapter 5. They are not less important. God chose to delay further teaching on the main theme of the book to address a very real need that those reading needed to be aware of.
Dullness of hearing is a very real issue that needs to be addressed. There is no benefit in doubting God’s Word. There is no benefit to being careless with God’s Truth. It needs to be embraced and applied to the heart immediately. Clarity of understanding is important. That is where in person attendance in a good church is also very important. When a person has a question, they need to be able to ask it and they need to get the right answer. It is not wise to just shrug off the question. That does not help the teacher, nor the recipient.
In chapter 6:1 God encourages the readers to leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ. That is talking of the basics of Who Christ is. Keep in mind that this is doctrine. There are cults who deny His deity. God is not going to entertain that foolishness here. They want to reject His Word and they are free to do so. They will suffer the consequences. The recipients of this letter have enough knowledge of Who Jesus Christ is that they know He is the second person of the Godhead. They know He is the Saviour.
Going on to perfection has to do with fullness of understanding. Baby talk needs to end. Sipping on a bottle of milk needs to end. God tells those who are saved it is time to move on to more solid food that will keep the saint strong.
The foundation of the Gospel is already clearly laid out throughout the Old Testament. The sacrificial laws were all fulfilled in Christ. We do not need to debate which sacrifice we should still be bringing, etc. Jesus Christ fulfilled it all. The Old Testament never taught a works salvation. God calls that idea “dead works”. We cannot do anything good apart from knowing the Lord.
In Genesis 15:6 God reminded Abraham of His faithfulness and Abraham believed God and He counted it to him for righteousness. The evidence for God is so overwhelming that a person must stubbornly and deliberately persist in that denial against the evidence. God is not going to address that person here. They can sit on the sidelines if they so choose. It is not acceptable, but if they want that, they can have it.
Verse 2 talks of the doctrines of baptisms. The Jews were familiar with ceremonial cleansing for the priests in preparation for service. When John was baptizing in Jordan, the people did not come to him and ask him “what” he was doing. They listened to his preaching and then those who believed submitted to his baptism, having already turned to God in their hearts.
In I Corinthians 10, Paul taught of those Jews who followed Moses out of Egypt and into the wilderness. Paul ways they were all baptized unto Moses. They all needed to submit to his leadership and follow him because they believed in his leadership.
Biblical baptism is always by immersion based upon a previous confession of faith. It is a picture of the submission of the heart to the authority and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has no saving merit. It is a public act of obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ given to every born again Christian. Those who claim to be saved but refuse to be Biblically baptized demonstrated their lack of submission to Jesus’ command.
In the Old Testament laying on of hands was symbolic of the repentance of the sinner as the hands were placed on the animal and sins were confessed, prior to it being killed in sacrifice for sin. In the New Testament there was also the laying on of the hands of the apostles in recognition of a person’s call of God on their life. The apostles did not have the power to impart any special gift to the recipient. They laid their hands on the recipient in acknowledgement that God had gifted the person for a specific calling. Any power they had was given to them by God.
The resurrection of the dead was also a clear Bible teaching. The Sadducees rejected this doctrine, but Jesus had rebuked them for their ignorance of the Scriptures and they had no legitimate reason to deny that doctrine.
Eternal judgment was also clearly taught throughout the Bible. The multitudes perished in the flood and were under God’s judgment and would appear at the great white throne judgment at the end of the world. Their doom is sealed. They and all others who reject God’s way will face eternal judgment. It is a very serious matter to ignore and reject God’s Truth.
In verse 3 the writer states that with God’s blessing, he would move on to further teaching that needed to take place. Those who are saved need to grow and cannot be held back by those who are either lost or saved but resisting God’s truth.