What does it mean to “go on unto perfection”? (Heb 6:1).
The Hebrew epistle speaks of things being made “perfect,” and of “perfection” many times, and in no case does it refer to attaining a state of sinlessness. It is first used with regard to the Lord Jesus, (Heb 2:10; 5:9), “… to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” It is obvious that sinless perfection would not apply in this case, for He was eternally without sin in every respect.
This word, in its original meaning, describes something being brought to its intended goal, complete, thus expressing what is expected of it, or what should be attained. Our Lord, by becoming a man, passing through the conditions of His humanity and accomplishing the work of redemption, completed the experiences of this life in the resurrection and exaltation which fully equipped Him for the work of representing believers as our High Priest before God.
Hebrews 7:19 declares that the “law made nothing perfect,” because all that was connected with it was incapable of bringing in God’s completed purposes regarding His people, because it depended on human ordinances and animal sacrifices. Rather, it has yielded to “a better hope” which involves all that is linked with Christ, His completed work, and His superior priesthood.
The epistle ends with a desire that our Lord Jesus, who is the “great shepherd of the sheep,” would make them “perfect in every good work to do His will” (13:21), that they might be brought to Christian maturity through the continuing work of our Lord Jesus.
Looking at 6:1, he tells the readers that, rather than holding to, or retaining, the basic teachings under OT conditions that anticipated Christ, (those things that are listed in vv1-2), they needed to go on to “perfection,” or the spiritual maturity that Christ desired for them to attain. In the previous chapter, he reproves them for their immaturity which prevented him from teaching them those truths that he desired. They were being hindered by their adherence to those teachings that were only shadows of “good things to come” (Heb 10:1). His fear was that they were so firmly attached to such ritualistic activities that they would fail to develop and fully express all that Christ offered them, and would eventually “fall away” or revert to the old religious system that had been superseded.
There is a lesson for us as well. We should have such a strong desire to progress in our proper understanding of spiritual truth in its context that we will not be satisfied to rest on a partial knowledge of the Scriptures.We should have that fervency of desire to grow in the knowledge of truth, as well as “in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18).