June 19, 2018

Maturing in Christ

Philippians 3:15-16

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. . . . Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

—  Philippians 3:15-16

As we were reminded yesterday, we are saved by God’s grace alone in Christ alone. But experiencing God’s amazing salvation changes us so much that we devote ourselves to Christlike living.

In today’s passage Paul confirms that there is a measure of spiritual maturity required to understand all this and keep it in balance.

Someone once said that the New Testament is like a body of water: on the one hand, it is shallow enough that a baby could splash around in it safely. But, on the other hand, a skilled diver could descend to great depths in pondering the subtleties of God’s salvation. In other words, the gospel is simple, and yet it is amazingly complex.

Throughout his letters, Paul urges believers not to be satisfied with only what is simple. Using another metaphor, the Bible teaches elsewhere that we cannot be satisfied forever with the simple milk of the gospel but need to mature and move on to its meatier teachings (Hebrews 5:13-14).

God’s Spirit will help us with this, as Paul makes clear in this letter. But the idea is to keep exploring, keep growing, keep maturing. Let’s keep what we have already attained, says Paul, but let’s also keep moving forward into ever greater truths about God and Jesus Christ!

Let us love you, dear God, with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Show us your truths so that we can celebrate them and tell others of them every day. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church who served two congregations before joining the faculty at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2005 as the director of its Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of numerous books, reviews, and articles, and he is a cohost of the radio program Groundwork, a sister-program of Today devotional. He is married to Rosemary Apol, and they have two adult children and a Boston terrier named Chester.

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