I Peter 2:1,2
"Therefore laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy,
and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the
word, that you may grow thereby:"
3:17,18, "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand,
beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led
away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace, and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory
both now and for ever. Amen"
The birth of
a child is a marvelous event. Many of us who have brought
children into the world have looked at them in their sweetest and
most contented moments and wished for a few fleeting seconds that
they would remain a child. We are usually jolted out of our musing
with the realization that it wouldn’t be such a great idea after
all. I have known a few parents with a child that never grew out of
babyhood and have been amazed at the love, patience, and fortitude
some of these people have shown. At the same time I am sure they
would have greatly preferred to see their child grow physically,
mentally, emotionally, socially and skillfully.
I. There Should Be Growth After Birth.
Birth is Essential.
We cannot have growing children until we first give birth to them.
When a living child has been born the growing process should begin
It is true in the spiritual realm. We must be born as a child
of God by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7). From the instant we are born
spiritually into God’s family we should begin to grow spiritually.
Loving Care Is Essential
There may not be anything more helpless than a newborn baby. I was
made very aware of this with our first baby, Dan. Dan couldn’t sit
up by himself. He couldn’t hold his head up, or crawl or walk. We
often found something in Dan’s diaper besides him. It didn’t seem to
bother Dan, but it bothered us. There were times when it definitely
seemed to bother others. Dan never changed his diaper or washed
it…or washed himself. We had to do it all.
Baby Dan had no concern about what a bother or a disturbance he
was to other people. When he was feeling the need for a little
tender loving care it didn’t matter to him how busy we were. He
raised an uproar until we dropped everything and gave full attention
to him. When he got hungry for a bottle of milk in the middle of the
night, he could care less about how much we needed our sleep.
It wasn’t long before I realized my son had some very bad
character traits. When another baby had a nice toy he could be very
covetous. He was also capable of using deceit and even force to take
that toy away. Dan wasn’t fair when he played. He insisted on being
the good cowboy who was knocking off the bad guys and I always had
to be the bad guy who got bumped off. When he didn’t get his way,
he could also get very angry. We noticed the same pattern with our
next two children.
slowly and steadily grew. His formula was soon supplemented with
baby food and then cereals and then vegetables and meat. He
steadily learned to coordinate his hands with his eyes…to crawl, to
walk, to read, to write, to do math and many other things. In time he
served in the military police as a dog handler in the Air Force and
several years in the law-enforcement before becoming a truck driver.
children of God also need loving care. When people first get saved,
Christians and the things Christians do can seem pretty strange.
These spiritual babes have a new spiritual nature and new life, but
they still have the old fleshly nature and that’s the one they are
used to living by.
early days in the ministry I heard about a fellow Texan who had been
saved out of a cursing, drinking and fighting kind of life. He felt
called to the ministry and was so zealous a church called him to be
their pastor. As he was preaching he said, "Let me tell you what I
think of the Devil. I think the Devil is a blankety-blank
#!*#*#!#!*#!´ Out came his old cussing language. When he realized
what he had done, he closed his Bible and in humiliation walked out
the back door. A deacon walked up to the pulpit and said, "Folks, I
can’t excuse what our pastor said. You heard it and it was awful.
But our pastor hasn’t been saved very long and he was using the
words he was familiar with to say what he thought about the Devil.
I’m asking that we send him the message that we forgive him and love
him, and that we feel pretty much the same way about the Devil."
Newborn babes in Christ need a lot of loving care.
Newborn Babes in Christ Are Encouraged To Desire The PURe Milk of
Even as physical milk enables physical babies to grow, spiritual
milk enables spiritual babes in Christ to grow. The first thing
Peter indicates the newborn baby should do is suppress their
appetite for things that feed the fleshly nature. "Laying aside
all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking."
If we pamper our fleshly appetite for worldly things we will grow in
our fallen fleshly nature. It is when we hunger for spiritual things
and satisfy that hunger that we grow spiritually. The more hearty
our spiritual appetite the more robust our growth.
God’s Spiritual Milk Provides Total Nourishment
Peter would write later "As His divine power has given to us all
things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of
Him Who called us by glory and virtue: by which have been given to
us exceeding great and precious promises…" 2nd Peter 1:3,4b
Even when we are a spiritual baby God has placed pure spiritual
milk in His word to give us all the nourishment we need. As we
mature we will find that God has also provided meat for our entire
Peter would go on to write that when we are diligent in adding the
qualities of spiritual character that this will guarantee that we
will not be useless or unfruitful and will insure an abundant
entrance into the kingdom of God. 2nd Peter 1:5-11.
closing his second epistle he states that spiritual growth in
knowledge would protect us from being led astray by wicked
deceivers. 2nd Peter 3:17, 18.
II. We Are To Continue To Grow Throughout Our Christian Life
BABES WHO DO NOT GROW
great sadness we acknowledge that there are those who seem to have
been truly saved, but they are like babes who never grow. There are
others whose growth seems to be severely stunted, with little
evidence of spiritual growth in any area of their life. The Apostle
Paul was obviously feeling great disappointment when he wrote the
Christians at Corinth, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you
as to spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I
fed you with milk, and not with solid food: for until now you were
not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able for you
are still carnal…" 1st Corinthians 3:1-3a
Even the most mature Christians will acknowledge their
spiritual growth has not always been as strong and steady as it
Abraham is called "Father" by Israel, Muslims, and Christians.
Even he experienced spiritual growth by fits, starts, and back-sets.
He was walking in the flesh when he went down to Egypt; when he
called Sarai his sister and did not acknowledge her as his wife; and
when he fathered a son by Hagar. God had promised to give him a son
through whom all nations would be blessed. He and Sarai wearied of
waiting on God to give them a child and devised a fleshly solution.
When God rejected Ishmael and affirmed that He would give Abraham a
son through Sarai, Abraham believed God to do it. As a result:
Abraham’s faith for righteousness. Genesis 15:6
back the clock of life for Abraham and Sarai to childbearing
years. (Genesis 17:10-14)
on to develop the faith to believe God to raise Isaac from the
dead. Hebrews 11:17-19.
There is a
wonderful promise for those who continue to grow spiritually
throughout their life in Psalms 92:12-15. Verse 14 reads, "They
shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and
Important Areas In Which We
Are To Grow.
Remain True To The Lord With Purpose of Heart.
This is what Barnabas exhorted the Christians to do in the infant
church at Antioch. (Acts 11:23) This is an unshakable commitment to
be a disciple of Jesus Christ…to learn of Him, and the truth He has
given…to become more like Him…to live according to His truth and be
a source of that truth to those who desperately need to hear it.
Faith, Hope, Love
Paul wrote that when everything else has passed away, there are
three things that will endure forever. That statement alone
underscores what great qualities faith, hope and love will be in our
lives. (1st Corinthians 13:13).
Faith is believing that God is true and cannot lie.
Faith is trusting Christ alone for salvation of the soul
Faith is human weakness trusting God to meet one’s needs.
Faith is claiming victory over temptations, trials and
Faith is reaching out to God in confidence for guidance in
is the inward confidence that what God has promised about the future
He will bring to pass. This hope is not only produced by God’s
promises, but the result of Christ living within. "…which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory" Colossians 1:27.
The believers hope is that when Jesus comes for His people and
with His people all will be glory for them for the rest of eternity.
Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one
another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
John 13.34. This kind of love is an unconditional commitment that
our thoughts, words and actions will be in the best interests of
others. The entire 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians extols
the beautiful qualities of this kind of love.
apostle Peter gave a progressive list in which the believer is to
Virtue - the strength of character that leads to moral purity.
Knowledge - a clear perception of the truth God has revealed
Temperance - self control
Patience - cheerful endurance through trial
Godliness - God likeness
Brotherly kindness -
Perhaps better illustrated than defined. When
Christians were willing to die for one another in the Roman
persecutions a common expression was, "Behold, how they love one
Charity - love
The same crowning virtue Paul gave in 1st Corinthians 13. When
Christians reach this point we have an example of what God wants all
of us to be.
closing, we should add that we should seek to enhance our talents,
abilities, and spiritual gifts so that we can be the best witness
for Christ that we can and be able to minister to others the most
effectively that we can.
We have a lot of growing to do. Let’s commit to it and stay
2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Dr. Tom Berry
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.