Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

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

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Chapter 15 - Personhood and Biblical Principles

In a recent research project on children who were personally secure, it was found that there were four significant factors that contributed to their security:

1) A great amount of ACCEPTANCE by their parents.

2) Clearly defined & consistently ENFORCED LIMITS.

3) The parents related to the child with RESPECT.

4) The parents needed to have personal self esteem, and provided a good ROLE MODEL for the child.

Christians, who are the children of God, need to search for this pattern in the Bible, in order to reinforce one's personhood and spiritual security in the maturation process of life. There are a number of references to guide one in this way.

In Luke 2:52 it says, "And Jesus (emphasis on the human person) increased in wisdom (That's mental maturity), and stature (That's physical maturity), and in favor with God (That's spiritual maturity), and man (That's social maturity)". Here is the Christ like model for you and me; a well rounded and balanced life.

In Philippians 1:6 the Apostle Paul said, "I am confident of this very thing, that the Holy Spirit who has begun a good work in you, through regeneration, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ". Then, in I John 3:2,3 it tells us that when Christ comes for us that, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is". This does not mean we will become little gods, but that we will be like Him in all His moral glory; all God's moral attributes will be fully developed in us, perfectly. Then, in I Thessalonians 5:24 it says, "Faithful is He that calls you, who also will perform it". Finally, in Hebrews 13:5,6 the Lord tells us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you, so that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, why should I fear, what can mankind do unto me?" All these promises are based on John 3:16, "That God so loved each one of us, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, might not perish but have eternal life". What a model for self esteem, worth, and dignity in life.

Our response to the foundation of eternal life in Christ that every Christian enjoys, is found in the following verses.

In I Peter 2:2 and II Peter 3:18, there is the admonition for every child of God to grow to spiritual maturity. Once a person enters the family of God, the primary motivating factor that carries on through life is spiritual growth. This is a constant admonition.

Unlike the world, which is interested in producing, climbing the ladder of success, and obtaining material wealth through greed and power, God is primarily interested in the development of our personhood (Being). In II Corinthians 8:12 it says, "For if the willingness is there, the gift (i.e. giving of one's self to God's control) is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have".

Furthermore, since each person is a unique creation of God, and there are no two people alike, God does not wish us to compare ourselves to each other, as the world does. He tells us in II Corinthians 10:12, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise". God so loves each one of us as individuals, uniquely fashioned according to His will, and endowed with His Holy Spirit, that we have all we need in Him to develop as human beings, with love, security, and a sense of well being, because of all He has done and is doing for us.

In Romans 8:28-30 we have God's model of provision for His children, which He has programmed in our behalf, even before He created us. Therefore, in His eternal plan, all these areas that we need for our personal development and security are set.

Notice how all these things work out in Scripture:

1) Justification by faith is the model of God's ACCEPTANCE of us (Rom. 5:1,8). Jesus provided the perfect MODEL (Luke 2:52).

2) Sanctification (See Chap. 20 for explanation ) of life is the LIMITS of God's WILL for us in the Bible (Rom. 12:1,2; I Thess. 4:7; II Tim. 2:19).

3) Glorification is the ultimate and complete FREEDOM that will be ours, when we arrive in Heaven. We are in process now, through our sanctification (Maturation). Phil.1:6; I John 3:2.

The theology of Salvation fits the development of a positive sense of personhood.

Conclusion: In life, success divided by expectation equals one's perceived value of life. If one's success exceeds one's expectation, then one's perceived value of self is great. If one's success in life is less than the expectation, then the value of life is diminished. If we use this formula in the Biblical sense we see a positive perception not only in this life, but in the one to come.

The ultimate success of the Christian is Heaven (I Peter 1:3; I Thess. 4:13-18). Our expectation or hope in this life is a struggle to maturity (Rom. 5:2-4). Therefore, since the struggle in this life will be rewarded with eternal life, and a perfect environment throughout eternity with the Lord, our perceived value to us, here and now should be "Fullness of life" (John 10:10).

That is why the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us". That is why the Apostle noted in Romans 8:38, 39 that nothing could separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God's principles applied to each Christian, by the power of the Holy Spirit, not only provide peace and security in this life, but an assured hope beyond the grave, with an eternity to be spent with our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a life, and what a hope.

Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine;
Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine.
Dark is the wilderness, earth has no resting place;
Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine.

Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine;
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine.
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine.

Farewell ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine;
Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine.
All that my soul has tried, left but a dismal void;
Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine.

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