Derek Prince - The Doctrinal Foundation Of The Christian Faith
Now I want to go on today by discussing the doctrinal foundation. We’ve looked at the personal foundation which is Jesus Christ. But the New Testament also reveals that there is a doctrinal foundation. This is a revelation which has escaped the notice of millions of Christians but it is very clearly stated in Hebrews chapter 6, verses 1 through 3. We’ll turn there now, Hebrews 6:1-3, which says: Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles, [or the basic truths] of Christ, let us go on to perfection [completion or maturity] not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
Now there are two thoughts there which you have to combine. First of all, it’s essential to lay the foundation. If you’ve never laid the foundation you can never do the building. But once you have really laid the foundation then don’t keep re-laying the foundation but go on to a complete building. Those are the two combined thoughts. But you’ll see in Hebrews 6:1 it says the foundation. This is the doctrinal foundation of the Christian faith and it lists six doctrines which I will go through again.
1. Repentance from dead works.
2. Faith toward God.
3. The doctrine of baptisms, plural.
4. The laying on of hands.
5. Resurrection of the dead.
6. Eternal judgment.
And if you follow that through, you’ll see it takes us from the very starting point of the Christian faith to its ultimate fulfillment in eternity. And it’s very important to see that the Christian faith does not terminate in time it does not terminate in this life or this world. It takes us beyond this world, beyond time into eternity. I fear that many, many Christians today hardly have any vision of eternity. They act and think as if everything that matters is going to happen in time. And actually Paul says, if we only in this life have faith in Christ we are of all men the most miserable, the most to be pitied. If you do not have a vision that takes you beyond time and into eternity your condition is pitiable, and you will suffer very many disappointments. Because time is not the fulfillment. The fulfillment comes in eternity. And so, these six doctrines take us from the starting point, which is repentance right through the resurrection and judgment.
Now I want to begin to speak about the first foundation doctrine, that is, repentance from dead works. But I want to point out to you something first of all, a very remarkable thing, in verse 3 of Hebrews 6. The writer says: This we will do if God permits. We will go on to completion and fulfillment if God permits.
Now you might ask: Well, Why would God not permit? Surely He wants us all to go on. I’ll answer you from a little, simple example from building. In any major city of the civilized world today, in order to build a building you have to have a plan, you have to get a permit from the authorities and they have to approve your plan. Then they will come and inspect your building stage by stage, as you go through with it. The first thing they’ll really inspect is the foundation, because they know that if the foundation is not secure the building will not be secure. And if your foundation isn't solid, they will not issue a permit to continue the building. And God deals with you and me exactly the same way. He says, I need to inspect your foundation. And if it isn’t laid according to my requirements I’m not going to give you a permit to go on. You can just go on forever in this elementary stage of the Christian faith, never maturing, never coming to completion, never coming to fulfillment, because you haven’t laid the right foundation. So you see how absolutely essential it is that we master these six doctrines which are the foundation of the Christian faith.