Hebrews 6:1 begins with a “therefore.” That always requires that we understand what the “therefore” is there for. What is the connection between what he is about to say and what he has already said? He’s argued that Jesus is the absolute best thing from God. He’s better than the prophets, the angels, the law, Moses and the priesthood of Aaron’s line. When he speaks of the priesthood of Jesus, he identifies Jesus as a priest in the order of Melchizedek, not Aaron. Then stops and says this is really difficult to understand and is intended for the mature believer. He is concerned because his readers are only accustomed to the Jesus milk and needed to grow up in order to be able to digest the Jesus meat. Jesus milk is nourishing for infants but adults need more than that. Melchizedek is going to be meaty and the writer is going to go back to that discussion in Chapter 7 but not until he deals with the difference between Jesus milk and Jesus meat. Hebrews 6:1 says, “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.”

Don’t think that “the elementary doctrine of Christ” is something to be discarded! It’s actually the foundation of everything. It’s something that’s built upon and which holds the superstructure together. Jesus speaks of the difference between those who build on a solid foundation and those who build on sand.  Houses built on sand collapse, but not those built on a solid foundation. Paul makes sure we know what our foundation is and the writer of Hebrews knows this also. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one is able to lay another foundation than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This foundation was spoken of by Isaiah years before. He speaks for God and says in Isaiah 28:16 “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.”

“Dead works” refers to a foundation of sand. It’s never going to be secure! A relationship with God based on my performance and my works of righteousness is always going to fall short. I’ll never quite be good enough. But faith in Jesus who is perfect, is a solid foundation upon which we can build confidently and securely. This is Jesus milk. Every understanding of the Old Testament must be founded on this truth. The writer of Hebrews directs our attention to the Old Testament prophets, priests, laws, and everything else as further nourishment for Christians. Drawing out the nutrients of Christ as seen in every verse is our solid food and our solid foundation. He will cut up the meat of Melchizedek for us in Chapter 7 and even go on later in his letter to dish up more meat of salvation by grace through faith alone by pointing out the foundational truth of Christ in all the key figures in the Old Testament. In Chapter 11 the writer will begin his long review of the key characters in the Bible explaining that it was faith, not works, that declared them righteous. In Hebrews 11:4 he talks about Able and says, “By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous” (The Message).