Spiritual Growth According To Paul.

Peter 3:18
18 “…but grow in the GRACE and KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

It’s natural, I suppose, to reason out spiritual truths according to our human understanding, particularly on the topic of spiritual growth.  After all, we are human beings.  But are we teaching what the Bible actually says?

Spiritual Infantcy.

New Christians are taught about God’s Grace and His love for us, but they are often told that this truth is only “Basic Christianity.”  It is in learning about God’s Law and “ho-o-o-oliness” is deep, they say.  But according to Paul, the exact opposite is true. God uses the nation of Israel to demonstrate what spiritual immaturity really is.

When she was in her infancy, spiritually speaking, Israel was given the Law on Mtl Sinai.  The Jewish people were subject to it for 1500 years.  Paul referred to her at that stage as “Nepiós,” which is Greek for “INFANT.”  Think of it like being in kindergarten, learning your A-B-C’s.  One thing is certain:  According to Paul, being under law most definitely is NOT spiritual maturity.

Law: Milk; Grace Solid Food.

The law was GIVEN by Moses; Grace and truth CAME by Jesus Christ.  Now, because of Christ’s finished work, we are now called, “Huiós,” which in Greek means, “Mature sons.” We are weaned from the baby’s milk bottle

THE LAW. You are able to partake of solid food, i.e. Bread and wine:  Communion!

Think of it this way: If you, as an adult, went to the home of your friend and that person told you not to play with the knives because they are sharp or to stay away from the stove because it was hot, you’d probably be offended.  As an adult, you do not need to be warned about such things.  You already know.  Children, on the other hand, do need to be protected from danger. They need the “law,” so to speak.

Unskilled In Righteousness.

Hebrews 5:13 says, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is UNSKILLED IN THE WORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, FOR HE IS A BABE.”  

Paul is describing how to recognize who are spiritual babies in this verse.  He calls the Law, “Milk.”  Those who partake only of “Milk” are “Unskilled in the word of righteousness.”

Righteousness is not an action you perform; it is a gift you receive.  It seems counterintuitive to our finite minds, but it’s true nevertheless.  You see, man wants to make it all about man.  We want to be able to “Do” something to merit our salvation. The very word “Merit” indicates that righteousness is not a gift but a reward. Church, if we could be good enough or do good enough, Jesus died for nothing.

The truth is, there is NOTHING to “Do.”  Jesus has already “DONE IT ALL.” IT IS FINISHED! Salvation is Jesus…..plus NOTHING.

God Is Really That Good!

That is why it is so important to always go according to the scriptures and not try to use our finite, puny minds to reason out spiritual truths.  Grace is not logical to us.  It goes against our nature.  Man cannot make rhyme or reason out of it because it goes against the grain, like something too good to be true.

Can God really be that good?  YES, HE IS!  He is always doing what we least expect.  He is always going out of His way to use the weak things of this world to confound the so-called, “Wise.” He will anoint the person with no qualifications to do the job at hand so that all the glory goes to Him Who gave it.

Low, Lower, Lowest.

The Apostle Paul at one time mercilessly persecuted the church.  He even stood by, applauding the stoning of righteous Stephen.  He is our best example of spiritual growth.

After his conversion, Paul became THE GREATEST APOSTLE OF ALL TIME. Yet in his own estimation he considered himself the least of not only the apostles but of all the saints!  In one of his earliest epistles, according to the date of it’s writing, he says, “For I am the LEAST of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:9

After he had grown a bit more in the Lord, he makes this declaration in Ephesians 3:8. “To me, who am LESS THAN THE LEAST OF ALL THE SAINTS, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  The more he grew, the lower his estimation of himself.   Yet the estimation of God’s grace toward him greatly increased!  Here, he not only considered himself least among all the apostles, but the least of the whole church combined.–In an even later-written epistle, 1 Timothy, when he had grown even more, look what he wrote in chapter 1, verse 15

 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.”

Decreasing Estimation.

Wow! That’s about as low on the totem pole as you can go. The more he grew in the Lord, the less he thought of himself and the more in awe of Grace he became. Even the meaning of his name tells a story. Paul means “humble.” He’s kinda like the Moses of the New Testament, whom God called the most “Humble” of all His people,

You and I often see our sins, our lack, our failings.  God, on the other hand, sees ONLY His Son’s perfect work in us. He doesn’t look at you to evaluate you; He looks at your PERFECT LAMB, your Glorious High Priest, Jesus, Who is forever righteous!

So don’t get all down and discouraged at your own faults and failings.  See Jesus.  See His grace. God is not being just and righteous to us in forgiving of all our sins.  He is righteous and just to His Precious Son Who, was punished for ALL our sins.  He perfectly finished the work at the cross!

Right Kind Of Growth.

Don’t get me wrong, there is growth, yes.  You must increase in the knowledge of how great is the depth and breadth and width and height of God’s marvelous love and grace toward you who have received His priceless gift.  But you must understand that, spiritually speaking, YOU WERE COMPLETE IN CHRIST THE INSTANT YOU BEGAN YOUR CHRISTIAN WALK.

The greater your realization of your completeness and the totality of your righteousness in Him, the more you’ll fall in love with Jesus.  That’s the message of Luke 7:47–“He who is forgiven much will love Him much.”

For more on this topic, you may follow the link below:

HIS GRACE IS GREATER THAN ALL OUR SIN!   And that, Church, is spiritual growth according to Paul.

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