The Fundamental Key to the Kingdom of God

Over the past thirty-seven years since I received Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Savior from sin and the Lord of my life I have seen and heard a great deal of preaching and teaching concerning a variety of subjects.  Most of the church teachings I have heard come from the Old Testament with a Christian frosting on them.  Almost all of the rest come from the New Testament epistles of the apostle Paul, with an Old Testament frosting on them.  Hardly any come from the words of Jesus, and those which do are  couched in terms of church traditions which actually nullify the Word of God!

I have come to the conclusion that there is a missing ingredient in the recipe for successful life which is the goal of all the teachings I have heard.

Several years ago I opened a Greek New Testament to Hebrews 5:7-14, and got stuck for months reading and re-reading and contemplating and praying for revelation concerning the focus of that passage.

Heb 5:7  In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.
Heb 5:8  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.
Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Heb 5:10  being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Heb 5:11  About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12  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,
Heb 5:13  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
Heb 5:14  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Heb 6:1  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2  and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Heb 6:3  And this we will do if God permits.

Did you notice the odd disconnection between the passage in chapter 5 and the passage in chapter 6?  The first passage says that we need to know the 'basic principles of the oracles of God' before we can go on to maturity.

So, what are these 'basic principles'?  Are they 1. repentance from dead works, 2. faith toward God, 3. instruction about washings, 4. the laying on of hands, 5. the resurrection of the dead, and 6. eternal judgment?  I suspect that these six doctrines together are the 'elementary doctrine of Christ' which I believe to be different from the 'basic principles of the oracles of God'.  Why?  Because I have seen and heard people taught these six doctrines without it making a bit of difference in their lives.

On the other hand, as I look back on my own life and the radical change which occurred on May 15, 1976, at 3:30 p.m.Eastern Standard Time, I can confidently say that the best thing that God ever did for me was to send His Son Jesus to die for me so that I could begin to live for Him rather than for myself.  And I can with equal confidence say that the second best thing that God ever did for me was to kick all of my crutches out from under me and bring me crashing down to reality by having one of His children tell me that my whole life was "one big sin" with no eternal value because I had always lived for myself rather than for God. 

I found out later when I first read the Christian Bible that the summary of the message of John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"  I also found out that the summary of the message of Jesus Himself was the same - "Repent and believe the Good News!"

I also found that the word 'Repent' is a translation of the Greek word ''metanoieo", which means literally to 'change one's mind'.  And that begs the question - What are we to change our mind about?  (Or, for you readers who are sticklers of proper English, 'about what are we to change our minds?')

I have come to the conclusion that we all need to change our minds about our own rightness with God, or the lack thereof.  I say that because for the first 26 years of my life I thought that I was basically good.  Sure, I had some flaws, but I was not a killer or thief or chronic liar or an adulterer.  But when I began to find out that God does not grade on a curve, He grades on a Pass/Fail system, and the only passing grade is 100%.  One sin puts us in the Failure category as far as God is concerned!

The Good News is that God as provided the remedy for sin and for sins.  Sin and sins?  Sin is the aspect of humanity which causes us to fall short of always pleasing God.  And sins are the acts which displease God.

Years ago I heard a song which summarized my situation to a 'T'  The words of the song are as follows:

You paid a debt You didn't owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed Someone to wash my sins away.
But now I sing a brand-new son - "Amazing Grace" the whole day long
because You paid the debt that I could never pay!

I now know why You paid the price,
why You would make the sacrifice,
why You would walk up that hill called 'Calvary'.
It was because You loved us more than Your own life!
That's why You paid the debt that I could never pay!

I also learned that I, while every 'born-again' knows that Jesus died to pay for our sins, hardly any Christians know that He died and rose again so that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us!  (2 Corinthians 5:15).

So, in conclusion, I believe that the elementary principles of the oracles of God are these two truths:  1. We all need to be convicted of our sins and sinfulness, and 2. we all need to hear the Good News of God's grace - that we all need to die in order to be born again with a heart which beats for God rather than for ourselves.

More later, maybe.