An adult and a baby are in essence the same thing..human beings. Yet, their abilities, discernment, understanding of and response to the world around them is separated by a vast gap called growth. Likewise a spiritual babe and a spiritual adult. Please do not use the experiences of childhood as the yardstick of the christian walk press on .
As I kept thinking about this a number of scriptures came to mind. I believe they make quite a useful bible study…so basically my thesis is that God has made everything necessary for us to become like Christ not only in nature but in behavior and ability etc. The big deal about the baby and the adult is that there is a tendency to give up on God or the goal of Christ-likeness because we mostly focus on our current situations instead of the word of God. We look at our shortcomings and failures in life, and when we “realize” that our lives do not resemble Christ’s we end up saying something like this “lets be realistic “ when we actually mean “lets disregard Gods own words” of course being realistic usually translates into slipping back down whatever paths we have come from.
I believe realizing that we have been changed in essence is essential (yes pun..or?) Not only that, we need to recognize and utilize (yes)the tools ,available to ensure proper growth.
God’s nature ,now our nature
- John 1:12-13 (NET) But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.
- John 3:6 (KJV)That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
- 1 Peter 2:1-2(KJV) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
Peter lets us in on the fact that the old stuff has to go, he then gives advice to us.. baby must grow! and will indeed only if he drinks the milk.(extra refs :Matt 18:3; Rom 6:4; 1Cor 14:20; Eph 4:23; Col 3:8; Heb 12:1; 2 )
An analogy before i go on to the avalanche of scriptures. A new born baby can do very little for itself (actually nothing. Its whole survival in this world depends on his mother. Apart from the fact that it looks like a human being on the outside it could very well be a puppy or baby chimp it can’t talk walk or do anything that we usually expect a man/woman to do but of course nobody complains because it is expected(it only becomes an issue if the baby remains like that)…
Now Paul while speaking about growth puts it this way… the child, though the heir of the estate is no different from the slave. A baby Christian has all the potential of Christ but could be quite similar to a non-Christian in some of his/her experiences.
Even a ten year old child who can talk ran or whatever like an adult can still not do everything yet , there are still certain physical and mental limitations. A 10 year old simply cannot lift some weights just because of his age. But given the right environment and proper nutrition his physical and mental capabilities will grow. The same applies to Christian growth
In the verse Below Paul talks about growth but then he mixes in love…
love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.(Cor 13:8-13 (NET))
[This is an essential aside]
I believe the whole point of talking about love here is to align our thinking to the truth that We must pursue love,love for God which lead us to love men and women around us. Our whole growth process is rooted in the concept of growth as children in a household(the kingdom of God )no parent wants children who grow in all ways except in love for them and the rest of the family likewise God.
But once again the thoughts come “do I really love God ..do i even want to love God and live for him..because as soon as i start claiming to love him then John 12:21 can kick in.. i have to obey his commands..some of which I disagree with..”Well the good news is that God has poured love into us via his Spirit ..so yes we have love form God us ..once again is time to work on it.
True love for God is possible he has made arrangements
1John 4:7 (KJV) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Rom 5:1-5 (NET)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our LordJesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Matt 5:48 (KJV) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The plan was that bay allowing the Son to die many sons would be born
Heb 2:10 (NET)For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
More on the Provisions
Phil 1:3-6 (NET) I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
1John 5:4-5 (KJV)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Encouragement for the Way
Paul was not there yet, I am not there yet ,you probably are not there yet but we still press on because we are assured that we begin to resemble Christ more and more for each second we look to him for help to move forward or to get up from where we have fallen.
Phil 3:12-16 (ESV) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (God will progressively tutor us as well)
Heb 12:1-6 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
1Pet 1:13-25 (NET)Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence. You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.
I decided to write this note after reading youngthatiam see>>
There were so many verses & issues popping up as i wrote so maybe i have left some references out or started on some issues but did not conclude please feel free to make comments etc so we can discuss more. I hope that happens.