Before reading this post it is prudent that one first read,”The Milk of the Word”, parts 1 and 2, as these two posts set the stage for what we will cover here in this post and the one that follows.
The First Six Foundation Stones
In Heb 6:1 the Apostle mentions six foundation stones comprising the foundation of our faith, these he likewise considers as the “Milk of the word” the first principle doctrines of Christ, and they are as follows.
1) Repentance from dead works
2) Faith towards God
3) The doctrine of baptisms
4) The laying on of hands
5) The resurrection of the dead
6) Eternal judgment
“The Apostle says the first stone is repentance from dead works, and we will understand the thought here, perhaps, better when we see the Apostle is writing to the Hebrews, those who were always trying to work out their own salvation under the law, those who from morning to night were working all the time under the law. The Apostle says for a Hebrew to come into Christ and be a newborn babe the very first thing required was repentance from all these dead works of the law. Now he does not say that the works of the law were bad works, and they were not bad works. On the contrary, all the works of the law were good works. What was the matter then? They could not do sufficient of these good works. If they had been able to do all the works of the law then they would have been worthy of life, then they would not have required a Savior. But the Apostle says, by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight. Therefore, he says, to come into Christ and share the great hope of this Gospel Age the first thing that is required is to repent from all their dead works. The same thing is true, also, regarding the Gentiles: For a Gentile to come into Christ he must also in the same way cease from all the strivings according to the flesh. It belongs to the human nature, you know, to try to commend itself by some good works of the flesh, and almost every individual has the same desire and makes the same effort to commend him or herself by some good thing according to the flesh. But the Apostle would have us to understand here the very first thing, in God’s sight, that we must do to enable us to share in the favor and grace of God, is to cease from all strivings after the flesh, repent from all these dead works. They are lifeless; they cannot bring life or favor or the grace of God in the present time. That’s the very first stone in the foundation of Christ, that’s the very first ingredient of the milk of the Word — to learn the great fact that only by grace of God (the unmerited favor of God), and by faith can we obtain any blessing in God’s plan now.
But then we might give up all our strivings after the flesh, we might repent from our dead works, and unless we went further we might be discouraged and give it up altogether. We require something else to go on. What’s the next step then? The next stone in the foundation is to have “faith towards God.” It is not only necessary to repent from our dead works and cease to strive according to the flesh; we must learn now where the great source of life is. We must learn to have faith towards-God and to appreciate the fact that God is the great source of all blessing and favor and grace and mercy. Now, what does it mean to have faith towards God? Oh, it implies a great deal; it implies a measure of understanding of God’s character. It implies an understanding of God’s justice. We have learned the great fact that God in His justice has condemned the whole human family to death; we have learned the fact that we are all undone according to the flesh; and we have learned further the great fact that God has set forth Jesus to be the great means of reconciliation, and so this faith towards God implies faith in God’s character, faith in the great means of reconciliation (the ransom sacrifice), faith in the great sacrifice of Jesus, faith in His Word, faith in the message coming to us at the present time. That is the second stone in the foundation, the second item of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ.
“We see the importance of this doctrine by noting the manner in which Paul couples it with ‘repentance from dead works’ Verse 1. No one can be justified by the works of the Law, but we can be justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).
This is the point in which most professing Christians cease the work of properly establishing their foundation. They realize they cannot commend themselves to God through any works which they might do, and that they must by faith trust wholly in God, and in the finished work of Christ for their salvation, but unfortunately imagine that this is all there is to it, they fell to see the necessity of going on to the next foundation stone.”
For those a bit more advanced spiritually, who have been “weaned from the breasts”, the milk of the word, and who have moved on to “solid food” you will note that these six foundation stones correspond precisely with the steps shown in the Tabernacle picture.
The individual first begins their journey residing in the “camp” outside the Tabernacle, (representative of the worldly condition) realizing their condition in sin and their need for atonement, to be reconciled to God they are admonished that they first be turned from the course of this world toward God (who anti-typically resides within the Tabernacle), such are called to “repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19), however not fully realizing the true means of reconciliation they vainly attempt to commend themselves to God through “dead works” (or as is expressed in the Living Bible— “trying to be saved by being good”).
Bur rather they must be prepared to take “the first step”, the step of faith, “faith towards God”, and in his appointed method for reconciliation, they must cease from all strivings to commend themselves to God through “works”, an impossibility for, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal. 2:16)
The Tabernacle enclosure was surrounded by a white linen fence, which completely surrounded the courtyard area, this area was all considered holy ground, and the only means of entry into it was by way of the “entrance curtain” located at the front or east end of the enclosure. This entrance curtain represented our Lord Jesus Christ, thus the type (the “entrance curtain”) testifying to the antitype (our Lord), that there is but one way of access to God—one “gate” Jesus. “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
As stated many Christians imagine that all that is require of them at the present time is just to believe in the Lord and they are all right, but not so, my dear friends…
“Such erroneous ideas come from a misunderstanding of the scriptures by those who in simplicity say that all one needs for salvation is to believe on the Lord Jesus. This idea is contrary to the scriptures. Such a belief is often based on such scriptures as Acts 16:23-28. Paul and Silas, beaten and thrown into prison for casting a demon out of woman were found in stocks praying and singing hymns of praise to the heavenly Father. During the night a great earthquake loosed their bonds and they and the other prisoners could have gone free. Because of this the jailor, saw that Paul and Silas were truly men of God, and this prompted him to ask, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The jailor was truly convicted of sin by his own conscience, and saw his need for salvation. Paul and Silas answer to his request for salvation was, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
But most overlook 32nd Verse, “And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” Here was the substance, the basis, the evidence for their faith. Believing on the Lord Jesus here implied more than just saying that they would blindly believe a person that Paul and Silas professed to worship. Their faith would first need a reason to believe on Jesus whom Paul and Silas claimed was the only name under heaven by which they might be saved.” (The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Sept/Oct 1995 Page 10)
…The Apostle Paul says that at this stage we have not yet come to partake even of the whole “milk of the Word,” not come to receive even all the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. What more is required? The third stone in the foundation is to learn of the “doctrines of baptisms.” The Apostle does not say here “the doctrine of baptism”; he says “the doctrines of baptisms” (in the plural). Our attention is thus called to the fact that there are two baptisms in God’s plan and the first one refers to the Law Dispensation, and the second one to the Gospel Age. There was John’s baptism and there was Christ’s baptism. John’s baptism was only for the Jews under the Law. It was a baptism for the remission of sins, a baptism for a return to a holy life, a life in harmony with the Law. It was only for the Jewish nation to prepare them to receive the Messiah when He came, and all who repented of their sins and came and confessed their sins before John and were immersed were prepared then in heart to receive Jesus Christ and to appreciate the great blessings that He brought. But that was not baptism into Christ. The baptism of this Age, the Gospel Age, is the baptism into Christ. What does that mean?
The baptism into Christ is not for sinners at all my dear friends; it is only for those whose sins are washed away, for those who have taken the first steps in these first principles, who have repented from their dead works and have faith towards God for justification. (In the Tabernacle picture this would be represented by those who have entered the “courtyard condition”, as Levites, believers not yet fully consecrated and therefore not yet begotten to a new nature) Their next step, the Apostle says, must be to be baptized into Christ’s death. This is the third stone in the foundation, consecration, immersion into Christ’s death, the giving up of the human will with all its hopes and desires (In the anti-type this takes place when the believer ties himself up, i.e. binds himself in covenant relationship with the Father at *the door of the Tabernacle proper, Psa 50:5, Rom 12:1). Very few come to this point; very few see the necessity of being entirely consecrated, even unto death. The immersion into water is merely the symbol of the actual immersion into Christ. Immersion into Christ implies a full consecration into God’s will and a resolve to be dead to all the things of the world and alive to the heavenly things.”
This is the entrance into the narrow way, the way of sacrifice, the way to the spiritual phase of the kingdom and to membership into the body of Christ, This is the “gate” of which our Lord spoke that few there be that find (the majority having been deceived and misled by the blind guides), the Straight gate which leads to life (life inherent, immortality), by means of the narrow way of death by sacrifice (Matt 7:14) “So narrow (is this “gate”) that it admits only the Lord’s plan, the Lord’s way and only to those willing to conform to it.” (R5045:3)
(1912 Bible Students Convention Report, “The Milk of the Word and Strong Meat of the Word”, Page 871-872)
* A distinction here is made between the “entrance curtain” located at the entrance to the courtyard area and the “Gate” or “first Vail” located at the entrance to the Tabernacle proper, the building itself. Both represent our Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of entry into their prospective areas or conditions of being; the first requires no cost, nothing of the individual but faith in God and in his provision through Jesus Christ our Lord, however the second comes with a cost, it requires sacrifice, a full consecration and surrender of one’s will to that of the Father’s, the taking of one’s cross and following in the Master’s footsteps, as alluded to by our Lord in Luke 14:28.
Continued with next post.