What Is Christian Maturity?

MEMORY VERSE: “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” —Ephesians 4:15


GROWTH, progress, and development are characteristics of the “mature” Christian even as the Apostle Paul points out in his letter to the Ephesian brethren, where he emphasizes the importance of attaining the stature of the fullness of Christ, which is, essentially, the mark of a seasoned new creature in Christ Jesus.

To understand better the significance of this subject we had perhaps best consider the apostle’s explanation of Christian maturity. He said we must “all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ.”—Eph. 4:13-15, ASV

Our attention is drawn to the unity of the faith; that is, one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God; and provisions were made for the development of spiritual growth and Christian maturity by the supplying of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and others who would assume responsibility to see that all things would be done effectively and in the unity of the body.

All who are of this common spirit will readily acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Master; they will be inspired by the one faith that has been made possible by him who loved them so as to give his very life for them; they will gladly accept the baptism which has been offered to them; and they will rejoice to be begotten of the Heavenly Father to newness of life, and to be filled with the same spirit that comes from above, discerning and striving to attain to the high calling, recognizing each other as fellow members of the same body and fellow heirs of the exceeding great and precious promises.

To have this objective as the central theme of one’s life is to grow in Christlikeness; and to attain more and more of the character of our Lord is to mature in the fullness of Christ. If, then, we are the consecrated children of God, we will become more and more enlightened and taught of him through his Word; and as we grow in grace we will desire, seek, and obtain not only the milk of the truth, as little children, but also the strong meat which the apostle states is for those who are more fully developed.

This thought is emphasized in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (5:13,14), where he says that “every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe; but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The thought seems to be that we should not abandon the foundation truths that were so essential in bringing us closer to our Lord in the earlier days of our Christian walk, but build on those things that will help us grow in a manner which is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

To mature in this manner it will be necessary to develop the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, which include faith, knowledge, self-control, patience, and love. It will be the responsibility of each one to examine himself to ascertain whether or not he has the proper heart condition, and to manifest the many fruits of the Holy Spirit which are enumerated in the Scriptures.

We should also bear in mind that growth in the fruits of the spirit will be dependent upon growth in knowledge; and that growth in knowledge is correspondingly dependent upon our growth in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is not possible to separate the growth in grace and knowledge, but each may promote the development of the other, that the child of God may make his calling and election sure.

“For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. … Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”—II Peter 1:8,10

Dawn Bible Students Association
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