Being born again (born spiritually, from above) is just the beginning of a great journey we call Christianity. It begins with God working in our hearts and minds to draw us (elkuse – attract) to Christ (John 6:44). We hear the Gospel of God’s Grace, believe it, ask God’s forgiveness, receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and are spiritually born. The Apostle Paul used the word born to describe what happened to him spiritually (1 Corinthians 15:8). The Apostle Peter told the believing Jews that it had happened to them (1 Peter 2:23). The Apostle John also used the word when describing those who believed in Christ (1 John 5:1).
When I received Christ as my Lord and Savior, hundreds of spiritual things happened to me, maybe more. It’s just like the newborn baby who is ushered into the world from his or her mother’s warm and safe womb. The baby is alive and a miracle of God’s design. Parents and grandparents make a big fuss over the little bundle of joy. What does the newborn do? Cry and demand to be fed and changed and clothed and warmed. Babies are very demanding, but that’s what’s natural for them to do. The baby doesn’t know he/she is part of a bigger family. He doesn’t understand what just happened to him. She doesn’t know whether her parents are rich or poor. She doesn’t have any idea of what’s going to happen to her. All she knows is what she feels, sees, hears, smells and tastes. Sensations are a baby’s life.
It’s the same with a person who is born from above. They respond to things that happen around them based on new sensations. I remember the hearty handshake and holy hug I received from Terry Lytle after I prayed in his office to receive Christ. I remember my mother’s tears and hugs when I told her I had received Christ as my Lord and Savior. I remember attending church and Bible studies. I can’t recall the words, but I remember feeling loved and accepted by fellow Christians. I remember a lot of things from my first days, weeks and months as a Christian, most of them sensations.
How does a newborn grow? They drink milk. It’s the same in the spiritual world.
“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, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
1 Peter 2:1-3
Peter is telling the Jewish believers scattered throughout the world that they need to get back to basics and desire the pure milk of the Word. The word desire (epipothesis) means an “earnest longing, desire for something or someone”. The word pure (adolos) means “without guile, without fraud and deceit, sincere”. The word milk (gala) is used both literally and metaphorically in the Bible. It carries the idea of “rudimentary spiritual teaching”. Peter said the believers should lay aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, and desire the pure basic spiritual teachings of Christ. Paul used the word in 1 Corinthians 3:2 when he told Christians in the church at Corinith that he had fed them with milk and not solid food because they were still carnal (sarkikos – fleshly, sensual).
Babies start out as babies, but that’s not where they finish. Our goal as Christians is just like the goal every parent has for their children: to grow and mature. Newborn babies grow into infants and eventually into young children who can feed themselves, bathe themselves, dress themselves, clothe themselves, and warm themselves. They start on a diet of mother’s milk, but are eventually weened from that milk to eat solid food. That’s what Paul expected from the Corinthians. They should have been a lot further along in their spiritual development. Just as parents express concern about a child who is not developing naturally, Christians should be concerned when they see a believer who is not developing spiritually.
Spiritual growth is a major part of our journey here on earth, just like the natural journey we have as physical beings. We need to eat, drink, exercise, rest, think, read, discuss, share, play, dream, and plan spiritually, just as we do physically. Look at some of what God wants us to know about being His spiritual children. You’ll find a wealth of insight into your faith in these verses.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16-17
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
“Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20
“Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” 2 Corinthians 12:14
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” Galatians 4:28
“… that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” Ephesians 4:14-15
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Ephesians 2:14-16
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us …. as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11
How amazing is our life! Tomorrow, we’ll look at who we are and what we have as children of the Almighty God.