Accordingly, Scripture has the power, since it is living and active , to transform an individual from childhood to adulthood to the degree he allows it to renew his mind. Therefore renewal and transformation are tantamount to knowing and obeying the Word of God. To elaborate further, 2 Corinthians instructs the believer to:. Do you in any way block the Word from transforming your thinking? Is the Word — or the world — preeminent in your thinking? Which of these identifies you?
Let us now exegete particular portions of the aforementioned passages of contrasts in the order I have listed them in order to underscore the following summary identifiers of spiritual infancy. However, when one says he is a believer but will not respond to the clear teachings and authority of the Word of God, it is fair to classify him or her as an infant. Conversely, Paul had to speak to them as men of flesh , as to infants in Christ. He could only give them milk to drink and not solid food for [ they ] were not able to receive it. Many American believers today are similar to children who want candy and dessert, versus a regular, nutritious meal that will supply their real needs for strong, healthy growth: Carbs versus protein.
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Metaphorically, every serious believer needs to be in the weight room, downing protein shakes and watching his carb intake. Having stated that, all passages of Scripture contain milk and meat and are capa ble of ministering to the needs of all who are intent on listening to the Word no matter their level of spiritual maturity. It is incumbent on both the teacher and the pupil to ascertain what God wants each person to learn from the passage under study. Why would believers sponsor an event historically characterized by religious syncretism that hurts rather than helps the propagation of singular saving faith in Christ alone?
Generally speaking, the above present-day, relevant admonition illustrates my point: do you intently desire to listen and obey the Word or are you occupied with your own thinking and way of doing things? Babes in Christ tend to avoid strong doses of the Word because they know the Word will convict them of their wrongdoing, and their consciences will prod them to change. Believers who shrink from studying the Word telegraph their spiritual immaturity.
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Infants may even attempt to discredit the Word in their desires to rationalize and justify self-serving actions. This is grossly abnormal for any Christian. What are the desires of the flesh? They are evident in 1 John the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. Elsewhere Paul states similarly, do not quench the [Holy] Spirit 1Thessalonians It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that secures the victory over respective to 1 John sexual lust, covetousness, and self-centeredness, sins all too present on the Hill.
The power of the ministry of the Holy Spirit parallels the degree to which believers allow the Word of God to richly dwell within them cf. Ephesians and Colossians Throwing protein-rich food from the high-chair is unacceptable. It is rank rebellion. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? Where jealousy exists attitudinally, strife will result visibly.
The former is a sinful, immature emotional feeling and the latter is a manifestation of selfishness and provocation. Accordingly, immature believers cause division in the body of Christ. The babe in Christ has difficulty putting away the old self cf. Ephesians , his self-centered ambitions and quest for significance.
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So why all the quest for personal glory? Accordingly, when faced with a decision regarding personal interests over those of the body of Christ, we are to choose the latter. Infants in Christ, states our passage, walk like mere men. Or said another way, they act like non-believers. This contrasting portion of the second verse in the introductory sidebar is easy to see and understand. Spiritually mature individuals, because of their regular diet of the Word, have the ability to discern truth from error.
They are trained to see life through the lens of the Book penned by the Author of life. A parallel passage to this is 1 John I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
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I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Similar to Paul, the apostle John uses the analogy of physical maturation to depict spiritual growth although the Greek words to characterize these levels of growth are different.
He does not have to be warned of the consequences of sin over and over again, ad nauseam.
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Rather, he has been making choices for a long time. He knows and recognizes evil and good. He is on the road to eternal life — he walks with God. But this does not mean that even a mature Christian will not occasionally need strong correction — both from God and the pulpit. See Hebrews We need to maintain the proper balance.
The mature Christian should grow in grace and in knowledge.
He should probe ever deeper and thrill to the revelation of the great mysteries of God's magnificent plan. He can become wise beyond normal human capacity by exercising the Spirit of God Ps. He should strive to plumb the depths of the mysteries of God. The mature Christian should build an ever-deeper rapport with his God — a closer and closer relationship with his heavenly Father.
He should continue to search the Scriptures and seek knowledge of prophecy. He should page back and forth through the Maker's Instruction Book correlating, comparing and probing. He can look into the spiritual mirror of the Word of God and see more and more of himself and receive correction. But if we will not receive correction as mature Christians by the relatively gentle admonitions of God's Word, then God judges corrects or chastens us in a more direct manner so "that we should not be condemned with the world" verse What human being in anyone lifetime could really embrace all the depth and breadth of the written Word of God?
Even the greatest prophets of antiquity desired to look into things of God that we can now understand. Should we then continue to drink milk and consume Pablum? How would a grown adult look wearing a diaper and with a baby bottle in his mouth? Yet this is the manner in which some supposedly mature Christians are content to exist! In their spiritual infancy they misunderstand the true meaning of the term "strong meat.
Let's examine it and see what it really says. Was Peter here justifying a constant rehash of the basics?
Was he saying that one should re-explain again and again the fundamental principles concerning baptism, laying on of hands, repentance from dead works and other foundational doctrines? Was he referring to the same thing Paul had referred to in the fifth and sixth chapters of the book of Hebrews? If Peter had been saying "relay the foundation again and again," he would have been contradicting Paul.
But God's Word is not self-contradictory.
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Peter was talking about something else and in a different context. Peter was near the time when he would die. He was summing up what he wanted the Church to adhere to and remember. He said: "Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance" II Peter What are "these things" Peter is talking about?