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Build Your Foundation: Six Must-Have Beliefs for Constructing an Unshakable Christian Life

Build Your Foundation: Six Must-Have Beliefs for Constructing an Unshakable Christian Life

by Rick Renner

Learn More | Meet Rick Renner

Our Vital Foundation

I mentioned in the last chapter that in the very heart of Ephesus, the great Celsus Library once grandly stood in the city’s oldest district. It was one of the largest libraries in the world in the First Century when the apostle Paul was ministering there. The biggest library of all was in Alexandria; the second largest was in Pergamum; and the third largest library in the world at that time was the Celsus Library in Ephesus. People came from all over Asia to learn in this renowned place of higher education.

At that time, the entire city of Ephesus was celebrated as a center of education and learning. In fact, as mentioned earlier, it was called the “light of Asia” for that very reason. It was generally believed that whatever was taught and promoted in Ephesus would eventually travel on all the roads from Ephesus into the very farthest parts of the province. Therefore, the city served asthe starting place for education and enlightenment to spread all over Asia.

The natural advantages of Ephesus’ strategic positioning were replicated in the spiritual realm as the apostle Paul carried out his assignment to establish the Church in Asia. As we saw, Paul taught morning and afternoon just a few steps away from the Celsus Library in what was called the School of Tyrannus (see Acts 19:9,10). For more than two years, the apostle taught the principles of the Word of God to all those who came to hear. Paul knew how vital it was for people to be established on the foundation of God’s Word — and that this foundational knowledge would then spread from the main roads leading from Ephesus to the farthest reaches of the ancient province.

I have stood many times on that spot where Paul stood and taught in the heart of Ephesus. Invariably my thoughts have turned in the direction of what compelled Paul to teach the Word day after day after day during those years. He knew that each believer’s spiritual foundation needed to be built strong and stable. He understood the mandate on every believer’s life to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). And the apostle knew that as he taught the Word and established a strong foundation in believers who came to learn from him in Ephesus, the truth in that Word would travel the roads of Asia and spread throughout the region to transform lives everywhere by the power of Jesus Christ.

Let’s Qualify To ‘Go On’

Paul’s conviction concerning the absolute necessity of establishing a strong foundation of the Word in believers’ lives should be our rock-solid conviction as well. We’ve already seen how important it is that we know the basic foundational doctrines that underpin what we believe. In fact, as we discussed in Chapter One, the writer of Hebrews was concerned that his readers didn’t really know what the Bible taught regarding some of the very basic issues of the Christian faith.

Christians who fail to learn the fundamental truths of the Christian faith often face struggles down the road as a result of faulty ways of thinking that in turn result in wrong decisions. Many of the twists and turns in the road they encountered would have been avoidable had they just been “exercised by the truth” of those elementary doctrines and applied themselves at an earlier stage of their walk with God. Those basic spiritual truths would have become part of their internal makeup and their way of life, enabling them to make wise decisions and better overcome the challenges and difficulties that can arise just by living in this fallen world. But because they never took the time to learn the basics, these believers are still sitting in a spiritual “beginners’ class” — and, more than likely, they don’t even know it.

Let’s pick up with Hebrews 6:1,2 where this thought continues, and we’ll take the discussion further.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

These are the starting points, the ABCs of the Christian life, and the Holy Spirit tells us what our position should be regarding them: “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” The word “leaving” in this verse is from the Greek word aphiemi, which means to leave it or to let it go. It does not refer to the abandonment of truth, but rather the realization that maturity requires pressing upward to the next level after one has established himself on a solid foundation of fundamental principles. The use of this word indicates God’s desire for believers to grow and move on to the deeper truths of the faith.

This foundational beginning is not a stopping point — it is truly only the beginning!

This is the reason the writer of Hebrews continued by saying we must “…go on unto perfection….” The words “go on” are derived from the word phero, which means to carry or to bear. However, the tense used in this verse paints the picture of a force that carries one onward or a force that bears one further. It could literally be translated let us be carried, and it conveys the idea that as we grow spiritually, the Holy Spirit picks us up and personally carries us forward in our knowledge and understanding of God.

Where is the Holy Spirit carrying us? Hebrews 6:1 tells us that He is carrying us toward “perfection.” The word “perfection” is the Greek word teleiotas, which refers to a child graduating from one class to the next until he finally reaches maturity. This means that until we meet Jesus face to face in Heaven, there is no end to our spiritual growth.

Until we meet Jesus face to face in Heaven, there is no end to our spiritual growth.

But remember, you can’t go on to the next grade until you pass the first grade! You have to understand the basic fundamentals before you can go on to the more profound and deep truths of God. Only when the basics are established in your life will you be able to advance.

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