A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

July 24, 2018

Spiritual Maturity and Understanding Deeper Truths

     I have to be honest ... I am reveling in this season of comprehending a greater meaning in Scripture, and how it is impacting my relationship with God.  I will admit, that in the past, I have been guilty of being rather one-dimensional in my understanding of Scripture, especially my favorite verses and those that have been the foundation of modern Christianity. Perhaps I have agreed to receive the explanation given to me by faithful Sunday School teachers or Pastors, without seeking to know more on my own. But I have no one to blame except for myself -- it is the responsibility of each Believer to grow in understanding; to become spiritually mature. That is made quite clear in a number of Scriptures:

2 Peter 3:18: But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and knowledge with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May He receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen! As the Passion Translation explains, "Spiritual growth is yielding to the grace of God and having passion to know Jesus Christ intimately. In time, we grow into His beautiful image". And the glory/recognition for this growth goes to Christ, Himself.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2: Brothers and sisters, when I was with you I found it impossible to speak to you as those who are spiritually mature people, for you are still dominated by the mind-set of the flesh. And because you are immature infants in Christ, I had to nurse you and feed you with “milk,” not with the solid food of more advanced teachings, because you weren’t ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready to be fed solid food. This “milk” is understood to be the basic teachings of our faith. (See Scripture below for definition of "basic teachings"). The more advanced teachings Paul describes are spiritual “solid food”—something we can “sink our teeth into” and look for deeper meaning in.
 Hebrews 6:1-3: Now is the time for us to progress beyond the basic message of Christ and advance into perfection. The foundation has already been laid for us to build upon: turning away from our dead works to embrace faith in God, teaching about different baptisms, impartation by the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. So with God’s enablement we will move on to deeper truths. 

     These three verses in Hebrews, by themselves, have such deep connotations for the spiritually mature. Here, Paul is saying that it's time to move on from foundational concepts of Scripture and build on what you [should] already know. For instance, we all know that "dead works" are attempts by people to please God through man-made traditions and religious "acts". There is only one "work" that brings righteousness and eternal life to all, and that was the work of Christ on the Cross. We are to embrace that work in faith.
     Paul says we should also understand the different "washings", or baptisms. Did you know there are seven such baptisms listed in the Bible? They are the baptism of fire, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of suffering (Jesus on the Cross), the baptism into the cloud, the baptism into Moses, the baptism of repentance, and the water baptism. To count ourselves ready to be spiritually mature, Paul says we should know these and understand them.
     How many of us understand that "impartation" should be a foundation of our maturity in the faith? Impartation by the laying on of hands is supported in both the Old and New Testaments as a means to heal, to bless others, to impart [bestow] the Holy Spirit and His gifts, to identify with a person (or sacrifice), and importantly, to release others to their calling and ministry.  Do we aspire to this today? Do we even see the importance and significance of this powerful act? Is it a foundation of your faith?
      It goes without saying that an understanding of the resurrection of the dead and the certainty of eternal judgment should be a foundation of our personal faith. I know that our resurrection to glorified bodies should be the hope of every Christian, but I daresay few understand what that will look like, or even care to contemplate it! And the possibility of eternal judgment is a subject that some Christians refuse to even contemplate, yet Paul says it should be an established conviction of the mature Believer.
     So, how are we stacking up according to Paul's standard of a spiritually mature follower of Christ, ready for advanced teachings? I don't know about you, but these three verses made me realize that I desire to know ALL that God will entrust to me. But it means that I have to hunger for it -- not being satisfied to be spoon-fed "milk", but earnestly desiring and seeking the "solid food" of advanced teachings. And while we may not have the advantage of being taught by Paul, we have an even greater teacher available to us -- the Holy Spirit, whose "anointing teaches me about all things; is true and is not a lie" (1 John 2:27). 

     So, I have to ask myself if I am moving beyond the basics of Christian faith, and how motivated am I to advance in my faith and spiritual maturity? Because there is no question that the Teacher (the Holy Spirit) is qualified to impart the advanced knowledge. How receptive am I in taking delivery of His message(s)? 
     And here's another aspect that I consider ... God isn't interested in me remaining at a status quo level. Either I'm growing in Him, or [by default] I'm shrinking if I'm standing still and not increasing my knowledge of Him as my life progresses. Let me be clear -- it is important to me to understand sound doctrine as revealed in Scripture, and it is equally important that I grow in my understanding and relationship with the Father as that knowledge of Him from the Holy Spirit [through Scripture] increases. I am made to know Him, in mind and heart!
     So, to wrap this up, what does Paul mean by "deeper truths"? It is taking the foundational revelations of God as revealed in Scripture and building on them to gain greater relationship with Him through experiencing that knowledge. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to take you beyond the foundational doctrine you've received and being willing to receive the intimacy and power of God, which results in more knowledge of Him. 
     And be prepared to have these deeper revelations questioned by Believers who are interested in maintaining their spiritual status quo, as if they already have all the answers they will ever need. Is God's Grace sufficient for us? Yes, but that doesn't mean we are to remain stationary. The rest of that verse states His Grace is sufficient because it allows for an exhibition of His power in our weaknesses. He wants to teach us something about Himself in the difficult situations of life! That is experiencing Him! 
     So, let's not forget the first verse I quoted, 2 Peter 3:18 ... "But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". Peter, like Paul, is continuing to encourage Believers to GROW ... not stay on autopilot, nor be lax about reading our Bibles or praying. Those deeper truths come only from an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, with Jesus, and with the Father. I've been tired of "milk" for quite awhile now. I want to feast on the greater and deeper knowledge of my God. And I can tell you that there's nothing that tastes as sweet to my spirit as the "solid food" that comes from a growth in knowledge and intimacy in His Presence. That's my wish for you, too.

Ephesians 1:17   I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation [discovery] to know Him through your deepening intimacy with Him. 

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