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Bible Maturity

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A mistake that sometimes happens when studying the Bible, is assuming that all Christians
are at the same level of Christian maturity. @Sue J Love has written a pretty good article about
becoming more mature. @Chopper has written one about growing in faith and love. @Chad
has posted one about Overcoming.

But often in the Bible... it addresses people at different levels in their walk. For example...

1 Jn 2:1; My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

John isn't writing this to people who haven't reached puberty yet. He is writing this to new Christians.

1 Jn 2:12; I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.

John then moves on to a different audience. A different level of maturity.

1 Jn 2:13; I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
1 Jn 2:14; I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Notice, for example... it never says the children have already "overcome". It says the young men have.
...and the fathers, that have stuck with God "from the beginning". They have been tested over a long
period of time.

1 Jn 2:18; Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

Children still have to be warned about the basics.

It's much the same with Peter.

1 Pet 2:1; Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
1 Pet 2:2; like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

Babies need milk... "so that they may grow..."

Paul says....

1 Cor 3:1; And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
1 Cor 3:2; I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
1 Cor 3:3; for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

Paul says they are "men" in the flesh. So we know these aren't really children. But he calls them "infants in Christ". -- Because they can only handle milk... not solid food or meat yet. He tells them some of the reasons he considers them to still be infants.

The writer of Hebrews says...

Heb 5:11; Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12; For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13; For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Heb 5:14; But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

These people have become "dull of hearing" (some Bible's say hard of hearing or deaf)
By now.. you should be teachers... but you're still in elementary school. You can only handle milk,
not meat (solid food). Infants don't know the word of righteousness... because they are only infants.
Solid food... real Biblical teaching.. is for the mature. They are mature because they have practiced
their senses... they have trained them to discern good and evil.

There are more... but what we see here... there are different levels of Christian maturity.
All Christians are supposed to mature in Christ. ( Eph 4:15; 2 Pet 3:18; etc.. )

Sometimes infants need to be scolded... "Stay out of the street!"

Tit 1:13; This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,

Some times people who claim to be Bible teachers will take a verse written for a specific audience,
and say it applies to all Christians. For the most part this is true.. and the entire Bible does apply to
all Christians. But certain verses, are written to specific levels of maturity.

We see many verses that relate to the "overcoming" John speaks about above.

( Rev 2:26; Rev 3:5; Rev 3:12; Rev 3:21; Rev 21:7; etc... )
But this doesn't mean everyone has already overcome.. just because they are a Christian.
Many take a verses like the one below and say it's for all Christians... and it is. But that doesn't mean
all Christians have reached that level yet.

1 Jn 5:4; For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 Jn 5:5; Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This isn't saying everyone has already "overcome". It's saying no one can overcome without Jesus.
 
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