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THE CHILDREN OF GOD MUST GROW.
A child who does not grow in knowledge is virtually dead. True life in man combines health, growth, activity and happiness. The Christian who does not grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is likewise virtually dead. “Faith if it have not works is dead” (James 2: 17). The barren fig tree will be cut down. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away" (John 15: 2). A branch that does not grow cannot bear fruit. Joined to Christ, as the branch is to the vine, and drawing life from Him, we will be constantly growing, and bearing fruit to the glory of God. A child of God, when born of the Spirit, has passed from death to everlasting life. His sins are atoned for. “ As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psm. 103: 3, 12). "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5; 1). But he is a child just beginning to live. He is saved, but he must work out the salvation he has received; remembering that it is God who worketh in him both to will and to do. Saved by the grace of God he has to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ continually. Peter closes his epistles with, “ Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3: 18). Men have lost the knowledge of God, “and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness," &c., &c. (Rom. 1: 2831). We must grow in the knowledge of God in Christ. In His prayer for His disciples, and for those who shall believe on Him through their word, in the 17th chapter of John, Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:1). He had before told them, “ All things are delivered to Me of My Father; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him” (Luke 10: 22). The children of God who have received this revelation, and have eternal life, are therefore told to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter tells them how they are to grow. “As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2: 2). Paul writing to the “Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints,” in Corinth, addresses them " as babes in Christ," and says, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet are ye able, for ye are carnal" (I Cor. 3: 2). In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is written, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (Heb. 5: 12).
Paul with all his revelations, and though sure that he was saved, and had everlasting life, and that for him to die was gain, to depart was to be with Christ, writes, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 8-14). Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth" (John 17: 17). The new-born child of God will continue to
Paul and Timotheus writing to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colasse say, “We do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:9).
The whole Bible is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. To grow in grace and the knowledge of Him, we must know the Scriptures. To know them, we must study them and feed upon them; and see Christ in them from the beginning to the end. We must receive Him, as He is revealed in them; for the Word is Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:1, 14, 16). the living bread which came down from heaven:
" I am Christ says,
if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever."
“It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6: 51, 63). As the children of Israel had to gather the manna every day so are we to gather and feed upon the words of Christ, and thus to feed upon Him day by day.
Another way to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, and to be a witness for Him, is to be regular in our attendance at the meetings of the church with which we are connected, and to fill our place there. The Word of God tells us, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised); and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10: 23; 3: 13). We need faith in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. “ Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18: 19; John 16: 23)
If we love Him, we will go where He promises to meet us. If we believe Him, we will be where two or three gather in His name to pray.
Every member of the church should