Christian Growth

by Joseph Franks

In the Old Testament, Samuel is an individual who can be admired. He is not perfect. He is not without sin. He is not without need for a Savior. However, despite his original sin and total depravity, he is a Christian hero to be admired. And what do we know of this saint?

1 Samuel 2:26    As a boy, Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.

Samuel, justified by faith in the Messiah to come, declared to be a saint by the Judge in heaven, made progress in the faith. He grew as a man. He grew as an Old Covenant of Grace Christian. More and more, the Father smiled as Samuel matured in intellect, affection, and action.

In the New Testament, Jesus is THE individual to be admired. He is perfect. He is without sin. He needs not a Savior. However, despite his perfect holiness:

Luke 2:52     And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Somehow, even though he is one enjoying perfect harmony with his Heavenly Father, Jesus increases in favor with God. More and more, the perfect young man named Jesus Christ matures in intellect, affection, and action.

So what ought we to do who are:

  • Born in original sin
  • Totally deprave
  • Granted perfect merit by the obedience of Christ
  • Absolved of demerit by the punishment of Christ
  • Regenerated despite our fallen free will
  • Justified by faith
  • Declared to be saints
  • Adopted into the household of God?
  • Eternally secured by the loving grace of the Father?

Consider the admonition of St. Peter:

1 Peter 2:21     For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

We are to make progress following the example of Jesus. We are to follow in his steps. We are to ask “What Would Jesus Do” and then seek to do it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, do not think your works can save you. In addition, do not think your works can keep you saved. We are saved by grace, through faith, and not at all by the labors of our hands. Enjoy freedom from the condemnatory curse of the Law.

And now that you have been freed from the curse of the Law, enjoy the fact that you are free to obey the Law. And what does the Law require? What does a lawful individual look like? He looks like Christ. Christ is the example. Christ is the one whose steps we are to follow. He who offers rest, also offers his yoke, and it is not wearisome to those who love him.

And in the journey, which is sometimes slow and painful, find great glee in the fact that one day, you will really look like that which you have been declared to be — A perfect and holy Christlike saint!

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