Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Chapter 11- A New Nature, A New Help, A New Assurance, A New Hope

Biblical principles are God's way of conveying to mankind how to live, and to Christians the path of progressive maturity in the faith. These principles are interwoven into the fabric of human beings and nature, so that as we relate to them we are able to understand God's way of life for us. Primarily the New Testament was written in a format of Principle/Doctrine then Practice/Duty concept.

In this chapter we shall see examples of Faith and Promises in the Bible, where admonitions to Christian living follow. The admonition to Christian living is usually denoted by the words, "Therefore" or "Wherefore", which then provides the practical application of the principle.

An example of this is seen in Hebrews 11:40 followed by Hebrews 12:1.(Note: Sometimes the chapter divisions get in the way, as seen in this illustration.) The thought in Chapter 11 is followed by the application in Chapter 12. In Chapter 11 we see examples of faith in the lives of the Old Testament saints, and v.40 tells us that God has better things for all His children, but that the Old Testament saints will not be perfected without the New Testament saints. Then Chapter 12 is the admonition to us, based upon the thought of the previous chapter, introduced by the word, "Wherefore". Then the practical application of the principle is outlined to us, as behaviors to follow. The principle of God's dealings with the Old Testament saints should be a model for us to follow in the development of our lives today.

There are four of these examples that provide for the Christian: A New Nature; A New Help; A New Assurance; A New Hope.

I. A New Nature - I Peter 1:23 with 2:1-8. In v.23 the promise of God to us is that the child of God has been regenerated with a new nature that cannot die or be taken away. This is assured to us by the Word of God. Then in 2:1-8 is the admonition to Christian living, based upon the promise of God, introduced by the word, "Wherefore".

The context of this passage is an imperative that we are to grow spiritually (v.2 - "Crave the unadulterated milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby"). As part of the process of growth through the divine nature is for one to be rid of (v.1): Malice (i.e. evil intention to injure others), Guile (i.e. deceit, cunning, fraud), Hypocrisy (i.e. pretending to be what one is not), Envy (i.e. a desire to possess what is others), and Slander of every kind. These are not conducive to spiritual growth, and the putting aside of them is indicative of growth.

II. A New Help - Col. 3:1-4 with 3:5-10 - The exercise of faith is seen in v.1,2, where it is stated that the Christian has a heavenly position with Christ, and that when Christ returns we shall appear with Him in glory (v.4), which means that we shall enjoy the fullness of God's moral attributes eternally. In v.2 God tells us that we are dead to sin, in that it doesn't have us in its grasp because we are "In Christ", and our life is in Him. This help we have is through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, given to us by the promise and authority of Christ Himself (John 14:16-26; 16:7-14).

Verses 5-10 begins the practical application of this new help by the word, "Therefore". Because of our new life in Christ, and the help that we have in the Spirit, we are to "Mortify", i.e. put to death in our lives those elements of our selfish desires: immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed which is idolatry (See: Rom. 8:13). These are inward sins which can be exercised without external communication.

Then, in v.8 we note the outward sins, which are usually reflected from one to the other: anger, rage, malice, slander(ill will), and filthy language.

Remember, God's principles are always perfect, as coming from a Holy God, and though we cannot live up to them perfectly, they are goals toward which we should strive in this life, by the submission of the Self to the Holy Spirit. As we willingly allow Him to control us, He transforms (i.e. re-characterizes) us to conform our lives to God's will for us. All this leads to the "Fruit of the Spirit" as seen in Galatians 5:22-24. This is the help that we have from Him.

III. A New Assurance - Ephesians 3:13-20 with 4:1-3. In v.17-19 the exercise of faith is seen in the Apostle's prayer for the Christian, that we may be grounded in the faith, to understand the mind of God, and to be filled with the love of God and His fullness. The promise of God is stated in v.20 in that God is able to do an exceedingly good work in us according to His power that indwells us. With all that He has promised, how can we fail?

"Therefore" (4:1-3) the Apostle commends to us that we "Live a life worthy of the calling we have received". We are to exercise ourselves unto being "Humble and gentle, patient, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace". The way by which that can be attained is through the assurance from God, of all that we have in Him, and through all that He is willing to do for us. We do have all the resources we need to live a Godly life, if we allow the Spirit to control us.

IV. A New Hope - I Corinthians 15:1-57 with 15:58. In v. 3,4 we have a statement that gives us the essence of the Gospel of Christ's death/burial/resurrection. Verse 17 points out our exercise of faith based on the statement. If Christ is not raised then our faith is in vain. But, in v.20 it says that Christ is risen, and not only is our faith valid, but because He lives we too shall live (John 14:19). The resurrection of Christ guarantees our resurrection someday.

God's promise to the Christian as a result of all this is seen in v.51- 57. The "Sting of death" has been removed from the child of God; the grave no longer will be victorious over us; and someday, "At the last trump" our corruptible body will be transformed into an incorruptible body. This is God's eternal promise to us. What a future the Christian has.

The admonition to the Christian -v.58 - "Therefore, my beloved people, be steadfast, immovable, always overflowing in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord".

Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine,
Living with Jesus, a new life divine.
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord I am thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He does not bear,
Never a sorrow that He does not share,
Moment by moment, I'm under His care.

Never a heartache and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger, but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.

Moment by moment I'm kept in His love,
Moment by moment I've life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord I am thine.

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