God's Growth Plan
God's Growth Plan
Every living thing we see starts out in seed form. The word of God tells us in Romans 1 that the things we see in the natural, visible world are given to us by God as pictures and patterns of things in the spiritual, invisible world to help us understand spiritual truths and principles.
When we accept Jesus Christ, he is 'born' into our spiritual heart. When a baby is born, we do not expect it to remain an infant. If a baby does not grow and develop, we know that there is something very wrong, and yet many Christians accept the Savior, and then they (their spiritual 'new man') stops growing. Some stop at various stages in their development. They may receive God's gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and stop there, or they may accept water baptism and stop at that point. They mistakenly think that once they have these initial experiences, that they have reached the pinnacle of spiritual achievement, and that there is nothing more for them. Some endeavor to do spiritual works without having laid a solid foundation, and others feel there is nothing for them to do but sit back and wait for the Lord to come for them. This is so contrary to God's word and to nature itself!
God uses various pictures in his word to show us how we can and should grow spiritually. The best pattern that he has given us is the stature of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as depicted by the Old Testament Mosaic tabernacle.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.", and Hebrews 8-10 discusses the relationship between the Old Testament tabernacle, with its' furniture, offerings and services and their fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.
The courtyard of the tabernacle, with its' brazen altar and laver represent our three foundational experiences: salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, baptism in the Holy Spirit and water baptism.
The second portion of the tabernacle, called the Holy Place, contained three pieces of furniture: the golden altar of incense, (representing prayer through the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer), the golden candlestick (depicting the light of God's word), and the table of shewbread (depicting the strength of God's word).
The services of the tabernacle were performed daily. Even after we have the initial experiences of salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and water baptism, we still need to return daily for cleansing and sanctification by confession and repentance, and renewal through the Word and Spirit of God. This is a continuous and progressive process. This is how we grow spiritually.
Even though we have accepted Christ we still have our 'old heart'- our carnal human nature. The 'old heart' is still with us, causing us to sin. This is described by Jesus in Matthew 15:19-20 and Mark 7:20-23, and by the apostle Paul in several of his epistles ( Romans 7-8, Galatians 4-5, Philippians 3:8-14) God has made provision for us through the redemptive blood of his Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:8-10).
We are placed by God into various situations and circumstances of life that bring out various sins in our carnal human natures, so that we can see it, confess it, and repent of it. Every time we do this, we nail a part of our carnal 'old man' to the cross, die to self, and our 'new man' grows.
God wants us to grow up into spiritual maturity, and he has made every provision for us to do so.