“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10)
The growth of a baby from conception to adulthood (Life DOES begin at conception, by the way. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:” [boldface added]) is a slow process, but over time, the growth is obvious. What do visiting relatives tell kids all the time? “You sure have grown since I last saw you!”
Christian growth is a process, too. When someone receives Jesus as Saviour and is born again, that’s an event, just like a baby’s physical birth is an event. Growth, however, is a process. Someone may receive Jesus as Saviour as an adult and not know much about the Bible. He may be from a church where the Bible isn’t considered important and where people aren’t told how to be saved, so he may have wrong ideas about God. The idea of the Bible being God’s infallible Word may be new to him. He may also have sinful behaviors as part of his life. He may be thinking, “Ok, I’m saved. Now what?”
To illustrate the point, God delivered Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh. Yet when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive God’s word, the people became impatient. They were exposed to the ways of Egypt and wanted something to worship. Aaron made a golden calf. They credited the calf with delivering them from Egypt—“These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)—and started a religious service that was more of an orgy: music, dancing, and nakedness. Where did they learn to act like that? Obviously, in Egypt. It was one thing to get them out of Egypt, but another to get the ways of Egypt out of them.
The slavery in Egypt is a picture of life without Christ. As Israel was enslaved by the Pharaoh, people without Christ are enslaved as children of the devil until Jesus saves them, just as God saved Israel from Pharaoh. When someone first accepts Jesus as Saviour, though, he may have sinful behaviors—“Egyptian ways”—in his life that need to be cleaned out. Yes, he’s saved, but he needs to grow.
When a new believer goes to a church where the Bible is preached and taught, and when he reads the Bible on his own, he gets things from God’s Word to help him grow. He may challenge what the preacher says until he sees the truth in God’s Word. Gradually, “precept upon precept;” “line upon line,” and “here a little, and there a little,” God deals with the believer about making changes in his life. He learns to obey God’s leading in His Word, and he grows as a Christian: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18)
The New Testament, as well as Psalms and Proverbs, are filled with practical info to help Christians grow. The more you read and hear God’s Word in a good church and obey it, and the more you make it part of your daily life, the more you grow. It’s not a fast process, but it’s a joyful process through your life as God deals with your heart and you obey: “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word” (Psalm 1119:65).
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Brian Miller 4/13/2017
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822