"THAT YOU MAY GROW"
September 1, 1987 Issue
Virgilio O. Danao Sr.
Our text is I Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk that you may grow thereby." This is part of the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter to new converts to Christianity dispersed in Asia Minor most probably because of persecution during the first century. He reminded these Christians of the fact that they had been freed from the bondage of sin because of their obedience to the truth, the word of God; and this was manifested when they were born again by Christian baptism. As newborn babes in Christ, the Apostle Peter exhorted them "...to desire for the unadulterated substance of the word of God. As infants frequently desire and crave for milk because of a sense of hunger, Christians must likewise desire constantly the word of God." The reason he admonished them to do so: That THEY MAY GROW THEREBY.
A newborn babe in Christ is expected to grow. And this kind of growing is a continuous process of development, beginning from his spiritual birth when he was baptized up to the last moment of his life. In short, as long as he lives, he should grow. This may be made possible through his perfect compliance, if possible, to the laws of God.
GROWTH SHOWS THE EXISTENCE OF LIFE:
As we all know, the words LIVE and LIFE are inseparable. They always go together, and growth follows after them. A child lives because he has life. And because he is living, he then is expected to grow. The moment he dies, the process of growing automatically stops, because he has no more life. So we can see now how important life is as far as its relationship with GROWTH is concerned.
Spiritually speaking, therefore, we need spiritual life in order for us to be able to grow. To have this kind of life we must be first IN Christ. The Apostle John said, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12).
Sometimes Christians do not grow spiritually. Although they live physically, spiritually they are dead. And so growth is not expected. Christians who stop being Christians and begin living for the pleasure of this world are alive physically but spiritually dead; "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Tim 5:6).
It is therefore important for us Christians to maintain the LIFE we received in Christ when we were baptized in order for us to be able to grow spiritually, It is through growing spiritually that we are able to prove the existence of that kind of LIFE in our hearts.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH MANIFESTS OUR FAITH IN CHRIST.
While it is true that life is necessary for our spiritual growth, it is also true that we need to manifest our faith in Christ to prove that we are really growing spiritually. A child may be living but he is not growing. He is not growing probably because he is sickly, deformed, disabled. So life is not always a guarantee for growth. There must be outward manifestations to prove one is really growing. There must be gradual changes shown. When the height of a plant was two feet in 1981, and it is still two feet tall today, this plant is not actually growing. It is living but it is not growing! To say this is growing, it must have increased in height. Likewise our spiritual lives. There must be changes seen from our daily living to show that we are really growing. It is true that when we obeyed Christ in baptism we obtained spiritual life through the seed the word of God implanted into our hearts, but there must be signs shown to prove that the seed is really growing in us.
The Apostle Paul said, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (2 Cor 5:17). "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, unclean ness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col 3:5-10). Paul is picturing here the changes that took place in the life of a Christian---from living the worldly life to a new life in Christ: From sin to righteousness, from darkness to light. This is the process of growing spiritually. We are able to change our manner of living because of our faith in Christ---faith that lives and works! Therefore spiritual growth is a result of our sincere faith in Christ.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH LEADS US TO ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN:
Please note that I am referring to the realization of the promise of salvation given to us by Christ when we humbly obeyed and had faith in Him as our Saviour. It is our wonderful opportunity to live forever with God in heaven. I want you to note this because the Bible teaches there are two separate destinations where man may possibly spend eternity. He may be spending eternity in Hell or in Heaven. Hell is pictured as a place of torment. There will be no light there but flames of burning brimstone; there will be no humming and singing of sweet melodies but wailing and crying. There will be gnashing of teeth there (Mark 9:43-48; Matt 25:30, 46; Rev 21:8).
On the other hand, heaven is the place God prepared for those who obtained the promise of salvation and successfully maintained and safe guarded it. The Bible says that in Heaven, God "...shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there by any more pain; For the former things passed away" (Rev 21:4). This is indeed a place of total happiness.
If we continue to grow spiritually; to live daily the Christian Life; and to abide with Christ in His Church, we are assured we will reap our reward--eternal life in heaven.
In our text, the Apostle Peter is urging us to grow. Growth motivates us to change our manner of living from worldly to a holy life. This complete change is the manifestation of our sincere faith in Christ. And if we continue to let our faith work in us, we also continue to grow spiritually. A continuous growth will lead us to realize the fulfillment of the promise of salvation we obtained from Christ. This reward is life eternal with God in heaven.
Dear reader, may we be challenged to examine ourselves. The question is: Are we really growing spiritually? If yes, we thank God for this! Continue to grow for the glory of Him who redeemed us from the bondage of sin! But if our answer is NO, I say that it is now high time for us to buckle down to work! Let that life we obtained from Christ direct us! Let the faith we have in Him work in our hearts! Let us grow spiritually and continually in order for us to be able to attain eternal life in heaven with God!
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