The seven basic principles of Christ’s doctrine

The book of Hebrews points out to us that there are seven foundational teachings that every Christian should know.  As a matter of fact, the writer of Hebrews towards the end of chapter 5 says that these principles are considered milk.  He goes on to say that seasoned, mature Christians should grow to the point where they get beyond learning and teaching these principles to partake of the strong meat of the word of God.  Hebrews 6 highlights these seven principles:

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.  Hebrews 6:1-2

Principle #1: Repentance from dead works: This has to do with the doctrine that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Dead works are whatever actions or inactions a person does, whether good or bad, that do not glorify God even if they claim to.  It includes the idea that all of our acts of righteousness are as filthy rags in God’s eyes when we do them without having Jesus Christ in our lives.  The Father has commanded all men every where to repent of their wicked ways.

Principle #2: Faith toward God: Believing that God has given us a way to be cleansed from our sins by his unearned favor to us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe what the Father has testified to us about his son in the word including his virgin birth, his sinless nature, his 100% divinity clothed in 100% humanity, his death, burial, and resurrection on the third day which were the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  With the acceptance of these facts we know without this faith it is impossible to please God.  Additionally, we know that all of God’s promises to us are “yes” and “amen” when we are in Christ.

Principles #3 and #4:  The doctrine of baptisms: The first baptism is the baptism of the Holy Ghost we receive at the moment we sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Through the Holy Spirit, we are sealed unto the day of our redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).  The second baptism is the outward expression we participate in to show everyone what has taken place spiritually in our lives when we have received the Lord Jesus Christ.  We allow ourselves to be immersed in water to symbolize that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, that we believe our mortal bodies will one day be resurrected to immortality like Christ, and that we have the answer of a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21). 

Principle #5: Laying on of hands: Saints are called by God to use this practice to pronounce blessings on fellow saints, to bestow a God-given office or ministry to someone, to symbolically empower a person with a spiritual gift or gifts for carrying out a charge, to heal, and to receive an outward manifestation of the Holy Ghost.  I covered this principle in detail in a previous post.

Principle #6: Resurrection of the dead: The belief that our Father in heaven has the power to raise the dead and that one day the dead in Christ will be raised to be reunited with their souls and spirits to live with the Godhead forever.

Principle #7: Eternal judgment: This is the second resurrection and judgment of those who reject the fact that Jesus is Lord.  Unbelievers will be sentenced to everlasting destruction in the lake of fire where the smoke of their torment will rise forever (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 14:11).

It is interesting how God uses the number seven to establish his principles.  Seven was used during the first week in Genesis to signify that God rested from his works, having completed them.  These seven principles are the first principles that believers should understand and are the teachings that Jesus Christ promoted during his ministry.  Our acceptance of them symbolize that we are complete in Christ and will enter his spiritual rest.  Unfortunately, there are those who attend church that dispute some of these teachings to their own detriment and are unwittingly being used by Satan to try to weaken congregations.  Some churches are stuck on teaching these principles over and over, but the Father wants us to grow past these baby teachings to move on to the deeper things of God.  I pray that as many saints as possible will follow his wishes.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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18 Comments

  1. maria

     /  December 24, 2008

    Jesus is about living the Beatitudes, not all this DOGMA stuff you’ve posted
    Tend to the poor and the sick!
    Help those who hurt us.

    Reply
  2. Yes, Jesus is about living the Beatitudes, but one cannot live the Beatitudes until one repents from the dead works of living in bondage to sin and has faith toward God, as covered under the first two principles I highlighted.

    You may call what I’ve posted dogma, but it’s stuff that is taught in the Bible by those who were full of the Holy Spirit and what’s in the Bible is God’s doctrine. Living out the Christian faith includes caring for the poor, the sick, and those who hurt us, but it also encompasses much more than that.

    Reply
  3. Rick

     /  June 14, 2009

    I can’t help but think that this particular passage is referring to the practice of Judaism, i.e. the works of the law.

    The foundation being “re-laid” by the believer was that of…

    1 – repentance from dead works

    The hebrews were given the law as a method of works to secure God’s blessing through the Mosaic Covenant. The blessings had nothing to do with personal salvation but everthing to do with national recogition as God’s chosen people through whom all other nations of the earth would be blessed. God expressed their covenant obligations in the form of commandments and judgments. The practice of this “law” foreshadowed and typified God’s plan that would ultimately be finished in Christ Jesus. Once Jesus concluded or satisified or fulfilled the requirements of the law then the works of the law would cease and the hebrew could enter into His rest leaving the works of the Law behind never to return to them again. And that is what the writer is conveying; that these hebrew believers were returning to practice or works of the Mosaic law that brought them to the basic knowledge of Christ. Repentance from dead works simply means that the repentance that they formely practiced through the works of the law by making offerings was no longer acceptible to God as an act of faithful obedience now that the full revelation of Christ was upon them. They must see Christ as the object of their faith instead of faithful obedience to God’s requirement (sacrifices and offerings)that led them to the knowledge of Christ. There was no more repentance by way of works… works were dead and Christ, the true sacrifice, is alive forever and we are alive in Him.

    There will no longer be ceremonial washings such as those of priestly duties or of social cleansing.

    Neither will there be the laying on of the hands on the animal that would be the sacrifice for one’s sin. If you look in leviticus you will see that when an animal was sacrificed for sin the one who is offering the animal must lay his hand on the head of the sacrifice while the animal is slain… as if the offer’s sin is being transfered to the offering at the point of its death.

    There is much more to write about the passage but time and space is well spent to this point.

    Please consider this.

    God bless!

    Reply
  4. Rick,

    Repentance from dead works would include putting off the old Mosaic laws because Christ fulfilled them all on behalf of everyone, but that’s only a small part of it. The foundation that was being laid over again is mentioned in Hebrews 5–”For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” [Hebrews 5:12]

    The writer was reproving these believers because they should have been more advanced in what they already had learned when they first got saved. Enough time had passed where they should have been teaching others these 7 basic principles, but they were instead re-learning those principles. The foundations had to be laid again and the writer was prompting them to advance.

    We find in the scripture that even unbelievers are prone to worship God ignorantly as the Jews did. Paul said to the men of Athens, “…as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; …Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” [Acts 17:23-24, 29-30]. And if you read the rest of Paul’s sermon to the Athenians, you will see he covers 4 of these 7 basic principles.

    So all 7 principles are applicable to both Jew AND Gentile, not just the Hebrews.

    With regard to the rest Hebrews will receive, that rest has not occurred yet. If you look at scripture, the rest it speaks of does not occur at the moment one forsakes the Law and accepts Christ as Lord to receive salvation. It is for the future of the believers–”For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” [Hebrews 4:10-11]

    While on this Earth we are still laboring and working as believers and have not ceased from working our own works for the Father, like God ceased from his works on the sabbath. We are told in Philippians to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Therefore, this rest is not the cessation of following Mosaic Law, but is the rest after we leave this Earth, for “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” [Revelation 14:13]

    Reply
  5. Bro: Samuel Patterson

     /  July 3, 2009

    Rick you Said on June 14, 2009 at 12:54 am, beginning of quote, “I can’t help but think that this particular passage is referring to the practice of Judaism, i.e. the works of the law.” end of quote

    however Rick, Sir, in now way is the writer referring to (the practice of Judaism, i.e. the works of the law) as your are supposing. How can we know this to be the case? Because Hebrews six opens with these words, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ” note; these principles are not call the doctrine of Judaism or the doctrine of the law, But they are call “the principles of the doctrine of Christ,” Therefore Harry A. Gaylord is right in his understanding of these passage. Brother Rick i would offer your the wisdom of Solomon,… Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee … Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”(Proverbs 9:8-9) Respectfully, your brother in Christ.

    Reply
  6. Bro: Samuel Patterson

     /  July 3, 2009

    maria you Said on December 24, 2008 at 8:48 am,

    beginning of quote, “Jesus is about living the Beatitudes, not all this DOGMA stuff you’ve posted
    Tend to the poor and the sick!
    Help those who hurt us.” end of quote

    My Sister,maria we ought to be given to good works, nevertheless, good works does not save us, note, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:… Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9)

    These seven basic teachings are the bases for true salvation and belief apart from these seven basic teachings of salvation is no salvation at all. Real faith in Christ must, and I say must be rooted in what is clearly taught in the Bible or it is a vain faith that does not save.

    maria i would leave with you the wisdom of Hosea, ” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea.4:6)

    Respectfully, your brother in Christ

    Brother Harry A. Gaylord keep up the good work, your understanding is a blessing ans all who love God’s holy word.

    Your brother in Christ

    Reply
  7. Thanks, Samuel, for your words of wisdom.

    Reply
  8. johann

     /  July 15, 2009

    these are not dogmatic in any way, this is the doctrine of Christ.

    Reply
  9. Jude patrick

     /  November 6, 2011

    Thank you

    Reply
  10. Brother Gaylord, Thank you for your teaching, it is encouraging to hear other Believers having received similar revelation! We have been teaching “The First Principles” for many years and we regularly run courses for new believers. The only difference between “yours” and “ours” are these: 1. We see the 7th Principle as “Going onto perfection” where the believer is called to “continue in the faith”. and 2. The Doctrine of Baptisms, where we see 4 separate Baptisms (all covering the one Principle): Baptism into the Body of Christ, Baptism in Water, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and lastly Baptism into the Sufferings of Christ, all of which are summed into one sentence in Galatians 2 vs 20.
    Yours in Christ
    Rino

    Reply
  11. Stephanie

     /  November 1, 2012

    The rest God speaks of is not just after we die! Too many believers don’t understand that the rest is with Him…our TRUST is our rest. He said He would never leave us or forsake us! That is where I rest, my friends! The other rest is from my earthly duties–onl the day I go Home! Don’t forget what happened in the wilderness, lo those forty years!

    Reply
  12. not sure why you combined 3 and 4….the seventh is “going on to maturity”

    Reply
    • James, if you read the last 3 verses of Hebrews 5, which is the segue into Hebrews 6, the writer states he wants the church to move past the foundation principles of Christ’s doctrine into maturity, or perfection. He says that maturity (strong meat) is separate from these seven (the milk) because maturity goes beyond these seven.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

         /  September 14, 2013

        what would christian maturity look like? Maybe something like know thyself or inclusionism>

      • Inclusionism is the belief that all fallen beings will be reconciled to God regardless of their beliefs–i.e. universalism or universal reconciliation. True Christianity teaches that only Jesus Christ is the way to God. “Know thyself” has been used for centuries in pagan cultures to mean a variety of things from “don’t be cocky” to “recognize that you are a god within yourself.”

        Christian maturity takes into account several things. In Hebrews 5 when the writer brings up spiritual maturity, he explains it as “those who by reason of use [of God's word skillfully] have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” They recognize what actions constitute sin, call them sin, and try to avoid those things. They may not always succeed at avoiding all sin, but they do try and they repent quickly when they do mess up. They don’t compromise what is considered sin based on the accepted practices of a culture, but on what God’s word says.

        Another mark of that maturity is found further on in Hebrews 6. They are the opposite of the people talked about in verses 4-10 who experience all kinds of blessings from God and then turn their backs on the things of God. A mature person experiences those blessings and follows through to the end of their lives in their fellowship with the Lord by bearing spiritual fruit even in hard times. They are diligent and not slothful (lazy) in their walk with Christ (Hebrews 6:11-12).

        1 Corinthians 3 points out other aspects of maturity. Mature believers avoid the carnality (worldliness) of boasting about following a certain teacher and placing them on pedestals. The Corinthian church was called carnal and immature because they had people going around bragging about being in Peter’s camp or Apollos’ camp or Paul’s camp as if they were better than other Christians. Paul had to point out that the apostles and other preachers were nothing in comparison to God and that all preachers who preach the true gospel belong to all believers. Recognizing that principle and carrying it out is a sign of maturity.

  13. Anonymous

     /  November 11, 2013

    really good bro.i liked this.thanks for the knowledge.

    Reply

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