Hebron Christian Faith Church

PASTOR'S PEN

Welcome to the Pastor’s Pen, a personal teaching that brings you up-to-date messages from the Pastor’s heart concerning God’s unfolding word ‘in season’ for our church. These are additional, bite-sized extras to our regular, more in-depth Sunday teaching series.


Developing in Christ

“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who be reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” Heb 5:14

Getting born again is not the ’be all and end all’ of being a Christian, it is just the beginning of a journey that will ultimately end in Christ-like perfection. Sadly there is subtle, but dangerous error in Christian circles today that insinuates that, once saved, there is nothing else for us to do since God has already done everything for us in Christ. It can lead people to believe that it doesn't matter how we live, talk or act because God loves us just the way we are & we’re the righteousness of God in Christ. This is only half a truth. Certainly there is nothing we can do to earn righteousness, and yes, we all come to God just as we are, but the truth is, we are not supposed to stay the way we are! We are supposed to change and embark upon a process of growth towards Christlikeness.

This growth process, however, is not automatic like natural, physical growth. Christians do not just change and grow up spiritually by reason of time alone. In fact, it is possible to be a Christian for 50 years, be a corporate CEO and have 2 degrees in theology, and yet still be a spiritual infant or child. Spiritual maturity is not automatic. This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews is saying in the text above. These believers ought to have grown onto solid food but instead they were still babes needing milk. Milk and solid food are simply analogies for the levels of revelation of God’s word that Christians can receive relative to their level of maturity. God’s word is spiritual food for the spirit man. The Apostle Paul makes a similar statement to the Corinthian Church, telling them “I could not speak to you as to spiritual (mature) but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ” (1Cor 3:1, see also John 16:12). So we see that the level of revelation God is able to reveal to us (revelation is not the same as knowledge) depends entirely upon the level of a believer’s growth. Babies will choke on solid food.

 We often tend to think of spirituality as being measured by such things as gifting, bible knowledge, oratory skills or even age. But God sees maturity in a completely different light. A believer does not mature simply by increasing in head knowledge of the Bible. We have to be DOERS of the word. In other words, the spiritual senses of the re-born ‘inner man’ (our spirit man) must be exercised by training (doing not just teaching). Otherwise, though may we look good and sound good on the outside, the storms and trials of life will expose the exterior facade, that we are like a house built on sand!

According to our text, one grave danger of not growing up is that are liable to constantly make poor decisions & produce bad fruit because we’re unable to tell the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. Our spiritual senses have not been trained and exercised to rightly discern, so we are vulnerable to error and even deception. Although most Christians assume it is relatively easy to know the difference between good & evil (ie don't steal or lie etc), apparently, according to the Bible, it is not as obvious as we might think.

There is a difference between right and nearly right, and there is a difference between good and God. Knowing the difference is spiritually “discerned” not mentally or physically discerned. 1Cor 2:14 tells us that the “things of God” are foolishness to the natural man “because they are spiritually discerned”. So just because something seems foolish does not mean it is wrong! Likewise, just because something seems good or right, does not mean it is right. And what may be right for one is not necessarily right for another. Prov 14:12 reminds us “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”. In the bible, death simply means separation or loss. Eve was deceived and “died”. She suffered loss not because of adultery, drunkenness or anything plainly evil but because she acted on something that looked good, harmless and seemed a ‘wise’ choice!

How can we avoid making poor choices? How can we know the difference? Grow up spiritually!

 

 Pastor John

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