“Therefore, leaving the sayings of the elementary principles of Christ we should be carried along (subjunctive passive) unto perfection….” (Hebrews 6:1).
The writer to the Hebrews puts his finger on a problem in Levitical Christianity; he demonstrates that the Hebrew believers were marking time and getting nowhere; they had opportunity to grow but they did not; they had time to mature but they had not.
He points out that it is possible to have motion without progress – indeed, that is what the meaningless religious merry-go-round is. Put another way, it is possible to attend Church for a lifetime and be none the better for it.
Most Christians have no clear end to which they are striving; they waste their lives and their energy in an endless round of religious activity which has no spiritual authority and manifests no spiritual power. They wait passively for the bus marked “heaven” to appear, and spend their lives without striving to enter in to the deeper things of God. There is no hunger for personal holiness, no spiritual enlightenment, no manifest presence of God in the midst, no agonizing over sin and no true repentance.
To them, Paul’s teaching that “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) strikes no responsive chord. Instead, they settle for religious comfort and material well being.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is passed away, behold the new has become” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But has the old passed away? Sadly, too much of the old remains, crippling the believer and causing him to separate his life into compartments; so much for self, so much for God. Thus, he becomes spiritually schizophrenic, neither one thing nor another. Can such a one be said to be “in Christ”?
The religious view is that you can enjoy both the old and the new. Persecution is unknown in such a worldview. To them, Paul’s teaching of believers suffering persecution is outside the boundaries of their experience or expectations. But the time is coming when the faith of all will be tested in the fiery furnace of affliction as it was for Shadrach, Meschak and Abednego; only those truly in Christ will stand!