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Our Spiritual Childhood

Our Spiritual Childhood

I’m continuing my look at Paul’s letter to the Roman church. For the last few posts I’ve been laying a foundation of side issues that needed to be explained in order to go further.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

This verse is why I felt the need to explain the concept of a progressive parent-child relationship. It tells us that we’re not a slave to fear, which is what we experience living under the law. Instead, when we’re saved, we received the Spirit of adoption.

It’s by that Spirit, that we cry Abba, Father. You have to understand that Abba is what a little child called his Father. It’s the Aramaic equivalent to our word, daddy.

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:6

This verse confirms the truth that it’s the Holy Spirit who cries out “Abba, Father” from within us. This tells me that it’s only in the spirit that we cry “Daddy Father”.

The fact is, that we’ve received adoption in Christ – the standing of a son. We have to understand that adoption is merely the paperwork. It’s not the completed work. That’s where Paul is taking us to in this letter.

Just to see where Paul is leading us to…

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Romans 8:19

Paul wants us to go from the adoption paperwork to become the revealed sons of God. This means that we’re all adopted sons, but not all of us are revealed sons. We need to go through the Holy Spirit’s training program in order to progress to this point.

The next couple of verses reinforce this truth.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:16-17

Because of our salvation, the Holy Spirit and our spirit jointly agree that we are God’s little children. Verse 17 says that if we’re His little children, then we’re also co-heirs with Christ. That also means that we’re co-sufferers with Him so we can share in His glory.

So, we’re adopted as infant sons of God. We start out as “baby Christians”. What does that mean?

I Corinthians 3:1 tells us that infants are still worldly. According to Galatians 4:3, they’re still in slavery to the principles of the world. Ephesians 4:14 says that infants are tossed back and forth by winds of teaching. Hebrews 5:13 explains that these believers are not acquainted with the teaching of righteousness.

What I’ve found is that many Christians in our generation are in this condition. Paul is calling for us to progress in our walk. We need to be moving on to maturity.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many who teach this progressive relationship between us and the Father. We need to be submitting to the Holy Spirit and His training program for us.

We can’t just assume that because we’ve been given the position of righteousness, then we’re automatically walking in righteousness. It’s the same with holiness and other concepts of Scripture.

Make it your goal to move on to maturity, if you’re not already there. In my next post, I’m going to explain what it means to be mature in Christ. That way we can see how far we need to go down this road.

Question: At what level do you see yourself in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2021 in Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Breakthrough to Maturity

I’m continuing my study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  In his teaching about the error of legalism, he now begins to talk about our sonship in Christ.

I’ve found that there’s a certain level of frustration in our growth to maturity.  We’d like to arrive there quickly and easily.  Unfortunately, just like in physical growth, spiritual maturity takes time and consistency.

Paul writes about it in this section.

What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.  He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.  So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.
Galatians 4:1-3

This is a truth that many have missed.  Our position in Christ is not enough for us to experience the manifestation of His power.  If you’re a spiritual child, you have the position of righteousness and holiness.  But you’re still in slavery to the principles of the world.

Spiritually, you own everything that Christ has purchased for you on the cross.  But practically speaking, you’re living out your life never experiencing the reality of it because you’re a child.  We have to come to the realization that position only gets you into the presence of God.  When it comes to the power of God, you need the freedom and authority of adulthood.

As spiritual children, we’re still under the supervision – literally the guardianship and training –of the law.  I think you’ll be surprised by this aspect of childhood.

In the Faith Movement, we were taught the importance of trusting the Word of God.  As a result, we learned that the promises of God could be embraced and applied to our lives.  This was when we started to submit to the guardianship of the law of God.

We learned how to follow the requirements of the promises.  For instance – if I tithe, then God will open up the windows of heaven and pour out a financial blessing upon me.

Make no mistake about it, even though this was a fundamental part of our growth process, it was still a part of our childhood.  This is how children are trained to obey.

“If you’ll take out the trash every week, I’ll give you an allowance.”

“If you’ll tithe, I’ll open up the windows of heaven for you.”

Living on the level of “if you do this, then I’ll do that” is the childhood phase of our walk.  We all must go through it, but we’re not meant to stay there.

When I was a child, one of my chores was to put out the trash every week for pickup.  I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could be free of my parents’ rules.

I’m now an adult with a family of my own.  Actually, I’m still putting the trash out every week – but there’s a difference.  I don’t put out the trash because I’ll lose the privilege to use the car.

I put out the trash because THAT’S WHAT ADULTS DO.  I’m not under a law that tells me that I have to do it to receive a blessing.  I do my chores because I’m an adult.

I still give a tithe of my finances to the Lord, but, with an adult mindset.  God blesses my finances because I’m His son.  I tithe because that’s what mature believers do.

Spiritually speaking, I’m in my Father’s family business.  I get my salary from Him.  I know that it would please Him if I reinvest 10% back into His business every week.  Why would I refuse?  He’s never failed to provide for me.

Since I’ve started to look at God’s kingdom from this perspective, I’ve had more peace and freedom than I’ve ever known before.  I’ve seen more answered prayer than I ever have before.  My prayer is that I can apply this to more and more areas of my life.

The Lord is looking for His people to rise up to this level of maturity in Him.  We need a revelation of what sonship is all about.

Question: What’s the next stage in your spiritual growth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2017 in Faith, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spiritual Childhood

FallenI’m posting about the growth stages in the life of believers. Today I want to talk about spiritual childhood.

There’s a Greek word that is close to the modern word for children. They’re no longer infants, but they still need constant care and supervision. Scripture talks about this group. It’s interesting that Jesus used this word for the disciples at the Last Supper.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:33-35

As He called His disciples children, Jesus was showing that they had not yet reached their full potential. The disciples’ response to Jesus’ command to love one another in the next verse shows exactly this point.

Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
John 13:36

If that’s not the response of a child, I don’t know what is! Jesus gives a very important exhortation for the future leaders of Christianity. Yet, the only question Peter comes up with is, “Where are you going?”

This is still the mindset of the spiritual child. They hear and understand what’s being taught, but they seem to zero in on the superficial parts. You can give them an in-depth teaching on the righteousness of God, and all they come away with is – “I can live however I want and God still loves me.”

The Epistle of First John gives us the greatest insight into this stage in the growth of the believer. John uses this word throughout his letter to the church. It’s obvious, because of its frequency that those he was writing to were at this stage in their walk. He dealt with the basics of the spiritual walk.

John had to remind them that their sins were forgiven because of Christ (I John 2:12) and that now they were to endeavor to live a life without sin (2:1). He also went on to show them how and why to live a repentant lifestyle where you immediately brought your failings and sins to Christ.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
1 John 3:7

In this verse we clearly see the Apostle explaining that they need to go beyond mere positional righteousness. They need to walk in the truth. This goes right along with what we saw in talking about infant believers. They are not acquainted with the teaching on righteousness.

At the child stage, you begin to understand about what the manifestation of the Lord’s righteousness should look like in us. In spiritual childhood you start seeing that there’s a difference between the lifestyle of God’s people and the world. We have victory over the world by the Holy Spirit in us (4:4) and we don’t worship the way the world does (5:21).

At this point we start to realize that we need to live differently than the world. We start to feel the Holy Spirit within us calling us to a deeper walk. At this stage we still don’t know how to follow this call, other than to live up to the rules we’ve been taught. We should desire to continue our growth in Christ.

Question: How do you deal with the spiritual children in your circle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Sonship, The Church

 

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