Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 1 (Hebrews 6:1)

Therefore - Because ye have been so indolent, slow of heart, and have still so many advantages.

Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ - Ceasing to continue in the state of babes, who must be fed with milk - with the lowest doctrines of the Gospel, when ye should be capable of understanding the highest.

Let us go on unto perfection - Let us never rest till we are adult Christians - till we are saved from all sin, and are filled with the spirit and power of Christ.

The words τον της αρχης· του Χριστου λογον might be translated, The discourse of the beginning of Christ, as in the margin; that is, the account of his incarnation, and the different types and ceremonies in the law by which his advent, nature, office, and miracles were pointed out. The whole law of Moses pointed out Christ, as may be seen at large in my comment on the Pentateuch; and therefore the words of the apostle may be understood thus: Leave the law, and come to the Gospel. Cease from Moses, and come to the Messiah.

Let us go on unto perfection. - The original is very emphatic: Επι την τελειοτητα φερωμεθα· Let us be carried on to this perfection. God is ever ready by the power of his Spirit, to carry us forward to every degree of light, life, and love, necessary to prepare us for an eternal weight of glory. There can be little difficulty in attaining the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls from all sin, if God carry us forward to it; and this he will do if we submit to be saved in his own way, and on his own terms. Many make a violent outcry against the doctrine of perfection, i.e. against the heart being cleansed from all sin in this life, and filled with love to God and man, because they judge it to be impossible! Is it too much to say of these that they know neither the Scripture nor the power of God? Surely the Scripture promises the thing; and the power of God can carry us on to the possession of it.

Laying again the foundation of repentance - The phrase νεκρα εργα , dead works, occurs but once more in the sacred writings, and that is in Hebrews 9:14 ; of this epistle; and in both places it seems to signify such works as deserve death - works of those who were dead in trespasses, and dead in sins; and dead by sentence of the law, because they had by these works broken the law. Repentance may be properly called the foundation of the work of God in the soul of man, because by it we forsake sin, and turn to God to find mercy.

Faith toward God - Is also a foundation, or fundamental principle, without which it is impossible to please God, and without which we cannot be saved. By repentance we feel the need of God's mercy, by faith we find that mercy.

But it is very likely that the apostle refers here to the Levitical law, which, in its painful observances, and awful denunciations of Divine wrath against every breach of that law, was well calculated to produce repentance, and make it a grievous and bitter thing to sin against God. And as to faith in God, that was essentially necessary, in order to see the end of the commandment; for without faith in him who was to come, all that repentance was unavailable, and all ritual observances without profit.

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible