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, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 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 5:12-14 ESV)
And so it was in the garden of Eden that Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat from the tree that she was not supposed to eat from. Do you remember how that tree was described or named? It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For whatever reason (and we could explore those) God did not think that mankind needed to have that particular knowledge while in the Garden. While in the stage of innocence Adam enjoyed a great deal of communication with God and I am sure the communion with Him was wonderful. So it was truly a sad day when Adam and Eve did what God did not want them to do.
Sadder still is that today, we also do not do what God wants us to do in relationship to “good and evil.” In the Garden we were directed away from it, but today we are directed towards it. We seem to resist that call however. We just do not want to grow up.
The Hebrew writer pointed out to the Christians to whom he wrote that being in Christ should lead to growth. When he says “ought” as in “ought to be teachers” he is bringing out a moral “should” not just an idea or suggestion (e.g. Well, it would be nice if you made it to that level).
He also points out that they are also regressing in their knowledge. Whereas, they ought to be teachers they need to be students and relearn things that ought to already know. After reaching a certain point in school, a student should be able to ‘teach’ a younger sibling to read. How sad to have that older child revert back so far that he would need to learn the alphabet.
Finally, he points out in this passage that one of the characteristics of mature Christians is that we will, with practice, be able to distinguish between good and evil. We begin to understand the wiles of Satan and find ourselves less fooled by his schemes. We also, with maturity, are able to teach others so that they too can avoid his temptations and traps.
The benefit in maturing in Christ is not just for our own good but for the good of others who do not know the difference between good and evil.
Question: What are the spiritual areas in which you need to mature? Which areas, if any, have you regressed?
Photo attribution: Fort Rucker