Can there be little doubt that God wants Christians to be mature believers? "...until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of god, to a mature person to stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:12 Clearly this does not happen all at once. Just as physical maturity takes a while, so does spiritual maturity. But it is supposed to happen!
I John 2:12-14 lists three types of believers which can represent the major stages of Christian development:
Little children; young adults; and parents. Believers who are children understand that Christ died for them and has forgiven them of their sins. They know that Jesus is part of the Triune God but they tend to see Him as up in heaven or "out there". Sometimes He gets close to us and he does things for us when we pray but He is not really in me. Young Adults are beginning to see that they have the power of God in them through Christ and the Holy Spirit. They have some victory over sin and Satan and they know the power of prayer. They may even experience miracles. They are beginning to understand that Christ actually indwells them. Parents have found that Christ is their life and that He lives in them, as them. They have a deep relationship with God which leads to an eternal perspective. They are far less self-centered and more Christ-centerd.
They are called parents because of their maturity and because they reproduce other Christians. Their great love for God leads to babies and the process starts all over again.
And important verse in reaching maturity is Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ, never the less I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." We will be spending the next few weeks expanding on the truth and implications of this verse. Ultimately I hope you will grasp that it is impossible to live the Christian life but that Christ can and will live it through you. A mature believer lives by the life of God.
Here are some other examples of the three stages of growth:
Children Young Adults Parents
forgiveness spiritual power knowing God
Christ for me Christ in me Christ as me
Jesus Christ Lord
crucifixion resurrection ascension
sacrifice empowerment fruitfulness
Romans 3 Romans 6 Romans 8
Moses Joshua Melchizedek