Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Growing to Maturity | Part II

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. Hebrews 6:1-3 (KJV)

It is amazing to watch a child mature.  It seems that overnight a helpless infant becomes an “I can do it myself” preschooler.  Growth is a natural experience of life and with it comes new opportunities and experiences. 

Today’s scripture is the familiar passage many have studied from the King James Version of the Bible.  In this are the words let us go on unto perfection.  The word "perfection" in the Greek does not in any way imply sinlessness.  It is best interpreted maturity.  So we are being challenged to go on to maturity in the Christian life.  However, the word "perfection" has some useful connotations when considering the meaning of this passage.

The Greek word for "perfection" is used in many different ways in the Bible.  Sometimes it is used to describe a man who is fully grown in contrast to a lad who is not yet developed physically.  Other times it is used to describe a person who has mastered a subject in contrast to a person who is just a beginner.  Either way if something is perfect, it is said to fulfill its intended purpose.  It accomplishes what it was created to do.  So we, as God's people, need to go on in our Christian experience to become what God wants us to become — to fulfill our intended purpose.

What is God's plan, or purpose, for your life and for mine?  As noted earlier in the week, the apostle Paul tells us in no uncertain terms that the standard of Christian maturity is Jesus Christ himself.  He says that God has given to the church "Apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; ... " so that we may come eventually "Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

So the goal of the Christian life is that we might become like Jesus Christ. The goal is to grow up to be like Him.  We must never be content just to escape hell.  Nor can we be content just to reach heaven.  In the interim, we must grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ.  We must become like our Savior. 

It is important to understand that this word speaks of being changed into the fullness of Christ, not to merely mimic the actions and nature of Christ.  A boy playing in his father’s shoes is cute, but certainly not capable of performing the work of his father.  A girl dressed up in her mother’s clothes is merely a model of the real thing.  “Fake it until you make it” does not work for the Christian wanting to become like Christ.  Many become comfortable acting the part without partaking of the nature of Christ.

That's the challenge of this passage of Scripture.  Paul is saying, "Let us go on to spiritual maturity.  Let us go on to become all that God wants us to be.  Let us go on in our Christian life until we become like Jesus Christ." 

Scripture to Claim:
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:  Philippians 1:5-6

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