We know how to take care of newborns: We tell them here’s the crib. The milk is in the fridge. The bottles are on the counter. Heat the milk until it is warm. After you eat lunch – Burp yourself. Grab a Pamper and change. Then hop in the bassinet and take a nap. Is that how we take care of a newborn? Gosh, I sure hope not!
What about the reborn? At physical birth, we know the infant needs total care for quite some time. Is spiritual birth really that different? Many people who are just babes in Christ are attended to like the description in the previous paragraph. Is it any wonder so much of the church is floundering and failing?
When a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), they are:
• Born again. (John 3:3; 1 Pet 1:3)
• Converted from eternal death to eternal life. (John 3:16; Eph 2:4-5)
• Justified before God. (Rom 5:1-21; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 3:24)
• Secure in Christ. (John 10:28-29; Phil 1:6; 2 Thes 3:3)
• Sealed by the Holy Spirit. (Eph 1:13; Eph 4:30)
The question we might ask is – at the moment this re-genesis occurs have we reached the finish line or the starting line?
Last time I spoke of my experience attending the same church for forty years. I came to understand after leaving that it is a soteriological church. Soteriology is a branch of theology dealing with the nature and means of salvation. My former church focused on getting people saved. They made converts. Praise God for converts. Praise God for people getting saved. Thank You God for the “gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Rom 1:16) WE ARE SAVED!!! My goodness, we do not want to diminish in any way people getting saved. But………………
Our salvation places us at the starting line, not the finish line. A lot of people, a lot of churches miss that crucial reality. Babes in Christ are not meant to stay babes. Peter says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2) Like the physical infant, the spiritual babe consumes milk. Likewise, at the proper time, they both must transition to solid food. The saved person will begin with the elementary things of God and then receive incremental instruction so they can know and grow up in the whole counsel of God.
Twenty-five years ago when I began to read the Bible, I discovered solid food. The fulfillment found in Biblical cuisine left me wanting more. I wanted to know, and I wanted to grow in my relationship with God. I had a foundation, but nothing built upon it. My church had only milk and the first principles of the oracles of God to put on my plate.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (5:13,14) If we recall the two reasons I left my church of forty years they were right here. First, we were unskilled in the word, neglecting the whole counsel of such. Second, as a result, we lacked the discernment of good and evil causing us to wander away from Biblical truth. Sadly, these are common maladies in much of the church today.
More next time.