THE NEED TO GROW!
What kind of life is the Christian called to?
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
We are called to PERFECTION!
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
We are called to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON!
12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),
13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality WHICH IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE STANDARD HEIGHT OF CHRIST’S OWN PERFECTION), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
Ephesians 4:13 Amplified Bible
We are to continue to grow as Christians!When can we stop growing?
WHEN WE HAVE REACHED CHRIST'S OWN PERFECTION!
TWO ERRORS REGARDING PERFECTION:
1. Lighten up
- In the interests of wanting to emphasize God's great love and forgiveness toward us, we often
neglect the importance of these verses or completely disregard them!
- We tell people that the New Covenant is about not taking the Christian life too seriously. Jesus paid
it all so concepts like sin, obedience and holiness belong to the Old Testament.
- The Pharisees required many rituals and rules which were beyond God's laws.
- In some cases, their rules and traditions actually negated God's laws!
- Some churches demand instant holiness and perfection as a proof of salvation.
It is important to realize that, although God does not require instant perfection and holiness, He does demand that His children grow in them!
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16
It is not a sin to be imperfect but it is a sin to be stay there!
We understand that we must apply great effort, diligence, perseverance and discipline in so many areas of life in order to grow and be successful. We apply these to education, exercise, careers and relationships.
It is a great mystery why we think these apply to every area of life except Christianity!
Very often, we teach that our walk with Christ should always be a "fun" and "happy" experience but the New Testament has much to say about the pain of discipline, persecution and suffering.
If you are growing, it will require discipline! Often that discipline will be painful!
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
God disciplines every true born-again Christian to cause them to grow!
The writer of Hebrews tells us plainly that if God is not disciplining us, we are not really children of God:
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
He also tells us that the end result of discipline is growth:
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
My son Chris quoted one of his pastors:
The wisdom you have today will not be enough to get you through the trials that come tomorrow!
What steps will you take today and in the days, weeks, months and years to come to grow in Christ?
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