Today's devotion in Our Daily Bread was, as usual, a true blessing. Anne Cetas was talking about how the children of God are very much like babies. She said that babies need "changing, holding, feeding; changing, holding, feeding; changing, holding, feeding." By repeating it, she seemed to indicate that she viewed the care of a baby as an endless cycle. That started me thinking about how we, as God's "babes" (Matt. 11:25; Lk. 10:21; 1 Pet. 2:2), need the same attention from our Father and His "older" children.
Because the spiritual birth, followed by spiritual growth, is pictured in the natural life cycle, born again Christians require the same three things. Unfortunately, some believers never grow out of the "baby stage." The Apostle Paul wrote, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1). Others make the mistake of thinking the new birth makes them "spiritual adults," needing nothing from other Christians. Hence, they feel they do not need to go to church (Heb. 10:25), be taught (they misunderstand 1 John 2:27), or submit to the authority of its leaders (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5). And since they feel they are "mature," they make the mistake of trying to eat "meat" when they should be getting their "nourishment" from the "milk of the Word" (1 Pet 2:2).
From the time we exercised God's gift of faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf (Rom. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8-9), God began making us, His new creation, into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 1 Jn. 3:2; etc.). If there has been no changing going on, perhaps salvation has not taken place (Heb. 12:5-8).
I know there are many Christians who believe that our remaining saved has to do with obedience, and that they cringe at the thought of "once saved, always saved." However, the life a believer has is eternal. There are many verses which speak of born again Christians being sealed (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), seated (Eph. 1:3; 2:6), saved (1 Cor. 3:15), etc. Because of God's love, Christ's mediation, and the Holy Spirit's sealing, we are clearly "being held" by God.
Jesus told His disciples, especially Peter, to feed His sheep (Jn. 21:15-17). The Great Commission involves teaching new believers; Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (share the Gospel), baptizing them (new believers) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them (new believers) to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age). Amen" (Matt. 28:19-20). Babes need someone to feed them, and to watch over them; Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
If you have yet to become a child of God by faith in Jesus, allow the Spirit to provide you with the new birth. If you are a babe in Christ, allow mature believers to nurture you with the sweet milk of God's Word. If you are mature in your faith, you feed those who are not (Eph. 4:11-15)!