Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

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

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

[ Previous | Table of Contents | Next ]

Chapter 38 - "So As"

As human beings we constantly and consistently are in need of guidelines to help us toward wholeness in life. Externally, we have laws in society, and internally we have values, principles and priorities, all of which give us guidelines and direction for life. The question then is, what guidelines do we follow, and where do they come from, in order to provide us with resources to insure that we have a full life?

God also desires that we enjoy fullness of life, for Jesus Himself said, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly"(John 10:10). In Psalm 119, there are six admonitions specified by, "So - As", in order to be a guide in life according to God's directive for the Christian. When we follow them, He guarantees an abundant life.

I. Psalm 119:11 - So As Not to Sin: The inability to measure up to what God desires of us, constitutes sin, as He evaluates it. Since God is a perfect being, His Word the Bible, produces perfect principles. However, though we are unable to measure up to God Himself, He is also realistic in that He accepts us where He finds us, and through Christ and the Holy Spirit we enjoy a perfect position in Him, as His children. At the same time through the principles of the Bible, we are progressively being conformed to His Word and will for us (For further understanding of this concept, see chapter 20 - The Threefold Elements of Sanctification).

Hiding God's Word in our heart (i.e. the Biblical principles) helps us to become molded in character into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a return to the "image" or "glory" of God in us, which is a transformation into the moral qualities of God. The result is that we become more mature as His children, and thereby do not sin against Him.

II. Psalm 119:18 - So As To Behold the Wonders of God's Law: God's revealed word, the Bible, provides the principles and guidelines for living a full life. Then it is the work of the Holy Spirit to apply the principles individually, according to the person's maturation process. This differs with every Christian.

In Romans 12:2, where it tells us how to do this, it says, "Be not conformed to this world (i.e. the lust of the self life, the pull of the world, and the designs of Satan against us); but be transformed by the transformation of your WILL, that in so doing you may prove God's will for your life, which is good, acceptable to Him, and perfect". As we willfully allow the Holy Spirit to transform our character behaviors, we become more Christ-like (II Corinthians 3:18), and we enjoy increasing discernment in spiritual things (II Corinthians 2:9-14).

Psalm 19:7 tells us, "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple". When Christ stated, "Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30), He meant that God's parameters for the Christian were meant to free him up, not to bind one. For the committed Christian, this is all too true, by experience.

III. Psalm 119:89 - So As To Be Able To Be Settled In Life: The foundations of the truth of God's Word provides a surety upon which one is able to fashion his life. God's Word is "settled in heaven", therefore it is absolute, final, and is that upon which the Christian can depend. In Matthew 24:35 Christ tells us, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away".

Therefore, we can depend absolutely upon the eternal truth of the Bible, over against the relativity of our world's system. In the insecure world of today, where nothing is certain or secure, it is reassuring to know that one can trust the truths of God's Word.

IV. Psalm 119:97-98 - So As To Provide Wisdom For Life: As the child of God grows in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18), one gains a greater degree of wisdom (the God given ability to apply the principles of life to daily decisions).

There are two ways of gaining knowledge: Intellectual and Experiential. In Philippians 3:8 the knowledge spoken of here is intellectual, i.e. an understanding of the truth of Christ Jesus. In Philippians 3:10 there is the experiential, i.e. the experience of being a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ. God uses both in the life of the Christian to "flesh" us out to fullness of maturity. Just as every science course in school has both the classroom learning (intellectual), and the laboratory learning (experiential), so that a complete knowledge can be gained of the subject, God uses both areas of learning for our completeness.

The intellectual points to the mind, and the experiential strikes the emotions. In order to become a well rounded whole person, God is concerned with both elements of our development. The Bible teaches us intellectually; it is the work of the Holy Spirit to teach us experientially. Together, we have it all, in order to become a mature Christian, and be a testimony to the world.

V. Psalm 119:105 - So As To provide Light Upon The Pathway of Life: When walking through life, it gives one assurance to know there is light upon the pathway. The Christian doesn't have to stumble or grope, for God's Word provides the light of understanding and wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 tells us that, "The fear (the respect of God for who He is) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". Then Proverbs 4:18 states, "But the path of the just one is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day". Again in Proverbs 9:10 it tells us, "The knowledge of the holy is understanding". James 1:5 promises us wisdom from God to those who lack it. There are three relevant words used in Scripture: 1) Knowledge -this is the acquiring of facts, which comes through study (Proverbs 18:15); 2) Understanding - is the comprehension of the facts one has acquired (Proverbs 2:6); and 3) Wisdom - is the application of what one knows and understands to life's situations. For this the Christian needs the light of God's wisdom to properly navigate through the problems of life.

VI. Psalm 119:133 - So As To Not Have A Sinful Spirit In Life: Anything that is contrary to God's moral attributes is sin. In order for the child of God to understand what offends God's holiness, there are three specific words used in Scripture, to help guide us. They are found in Psalm 32:1,2 and 51:1,2. The first is the word: 1) Iniquity - this refers to one's basic sin nature, which we all received from our common father, Adam. It is the self centeredness of every person, which is in opposition to being God centered. Out of this nature comes the two basic acts of sin, which are: 2) Sin - this more restricted word for sin, refers to one falling short or not measuring up to God's behaviors for the Christian. It is like an arrow being aimed at the target, and not making it, but falling to the ground. King David fell short as God's king over Israel, in that he did not measure up to the position God had given him. 3) Transgression - this means going against God's principles, and doing what the self desires. It is somewhat analogous to the hunter going over the farmer's fence, when it is posted against hunting. Again, king David went against God's commandments, in that he coveted another man's wife, committed adultery with her, and killed her husband so he could have her.

As seen in David's testimony in both Psalm 32 and 51, he acknowledged his sin, and God forgave him. The joy of his salvation was returned to him, and God even called him, "A man after my own heart" (Acts 13:22). This shows God's unconditional grace to His children. O, to God, we Christians would have as much grace and forgiveness to one another, as God does toward His children. The truth and acceptance of God's Word gives us a right spirit, so we don't continue sinning against Him (I John 1:9).

Conclusion: In Psalm 19:14, David said, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer". Again in Psalm 19:13, he asked God to keep him from "Presumptuous sins". We dare not presume upon the Grace of God. Therefore, God's Word helps us to have a right spirit before Him, so we do not continue in sin. The joy of the Lord in the life of the Christian is characterized as we follow His guidance in our daily living, So As to arrive at fullness of life.

Jesus, I am resting in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee, & thy beauty fills my soul,
For by thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.

Ever lift thy face upon me, as I work and wait for thee;
Resting neath thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory sunshine of my Father's face
Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace.

[ Previous | Table of Contents | Next ]