Paul said “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). It is clear that he taught all of the truth. When Jesus commanded the apostles, he said “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20) he commanded them to teach much more than first principles. When Paul told the Corinthians “For I delivered unto you first of all . . .” (1 Cor. 15:3), he made it clear that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was first but there was much more after that. The first principles are basic, but they are only the first principles. Babes in Christ are commanded to grow. They are commanded to long for God’s milk so they can grow (1 Pet. 2:2). Milk is food that establishes the first principles (Heb. 5:12,13). The first principles are defined as the foundation for the rest of the building.
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. And this will we do, if God permit. (Heb. 6:1-3)
A good foundation is necessary, but it is folly to continue to lay the foundation and never intend to finish the entire building. The command is to “go on unto perfection.” Perfection is the complete building – the heart of Christ (Luke 6:40). The writer of the book of Hebrews himself was determined to go on unto perfection, for he said “. . .let us go on unto perfection” (Heb. 6:1). Are we also determined to go on unto perfection? Keep in mind that the book of Hebrews is not solid food. It is milk (Heb. 5:11-13). The determination to go on unto perfection is not solid food.
Those who preach only first principles have a good foundation but do not intend to have a building. They believe the first principles of the foundation are enough. They either don’t know or ignore the last part of the great commission “…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). Jesus taught a great deal more than the first principles. In teaching the sermon on the mount Jesus concluded the first part with the aim and goal: “Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
Perfection, the determination to be like the master, is part of the first principles (Luke 6:40). The rich young ruler wanted to know what he lacked to inherit eternal life. He said that he had obeyed the Royal Law and the ten commandments, which was the first step. Jesus then pointed him to the ultimate goal saying, “If thou wilt be perfect…” (Matt. 19:21). Perfection, being like Christ, is the major aim and goal throughout the New Testament. Consider one major reason that God gives for dis-annulling the Old Testament Law.