Summary: The life of a faithful Christian is characterized by a constant growth process. When one becomes a Christian they begin a lifelong journey of service to God. This lesson examines this great truth and brings to light what our obligations are in this.
The Full Grown Christian
"Till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (ASV)
The life of a faithful Christian is characterized by a constant growth process. When one becomes a Christian they are "born again" (John 3:7, 1 Peter 1:23), and they become a "new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17). This born again new creature is at that point a babe in Christ, (1 Corinthians 3:1). Just like a literal new born baby grows and matures so does the born again spiritual babe in Christ, feeding on spiritual milk of the word that they may grow, (1 Peter 2:2). The goal of every Christian should be to grow up into Christ, the head of the church, (Ephesians 4:15). See also Colossians 1:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.
The full grown Christian is identified in scripture by a number of characteristics that when put together cause him or her to stand apart from the world. John wrote in 1 John 2:15-17, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
The goal of every Christian is to strive to live a life as close to Christ as possible, using His life and the lives of the Apostles as our examples (Philippians 3:16-17). Thereby we grow and mature and become who God would have us to be. Shining our light and setting the example for others to see. The remainder of this study is going to focus on a number of the characteristics that all Christians should diligently strive to add to their own lives. This is not an overnight process, but one that requires a lifetime of diligent work and upkeep as the Christian grows and matures spiritually.
First and foremost the full grown Christian is to be characterized by a life of love; To God (Mark 12:30, John 14:15, John 14:23-24); To other Christians, (John 15:11-17); to his fellow man, (Galatians 6:10); and to their enemies, (Matthew 5:44-48). This is not just the feel good, warm and fuzzy kind of love we feel on the inside. This is the self sacrificing "agape" love that is demonstrated by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18 "Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But Whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? (My) Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth."
The full-grown Christian is patient: quietly and steadily persevering. James 5:8, "Be Ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand." See also