By Doug Mamvura As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2)
Here is Peter speaks about Christians being “newborn babes.” No one is born a full grown human naturally and physically. They are born babies, and then they grow up. Similarly, no one is born a full grown Christian. You are born a spiritual babe, and then you grow up.
Too many times someone is saved on Sunday and if they make a mistake before Wednesday, everyone in the church knows it, and is already fussing about it. They expect him to be living, by Wednesday or the next Sunday, just as good a Christian life as they do when it took them years to get where they are. There is absolutely no room for grace.
People are born babies. They need to be seen about. They had never been to that church before. They had never heard any Gospel being preached before. They need to be followed up and prayed with, talked to, and dealt with.
We are responsible for babies in our churches or communities. Babies don’t know. Babies can’t do for themselves. A newborn baby in the natural can’t do much. He doesn’t walk yet. He doesn’t dress himself. In fact, he doesn’t do anything for himself. About all he does is eat. And about all he eats is milk. Spiritually there are newborn babes. And if they get the sincere milk of the Word, they will grow. However it very important that as they grow, they are fed with “sincere milk” or genuine milk of the Word. They also must continue to have a teachable spirit. I have seen some very established Ministers of the Gospel confessing that they have been teaching wrong doctrine and seeking forgiveness. This is what I call maturity and humility.
The first thing that attracts you to a baby is its innocence. People say, “You sweet little innocent thing.” No one thinks of a baby as having a past. It doesn’t have one. If you are a newborn babe in Christ, you don’t have any past. (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.
A new convert is simple, full of faith, ready and willing to learn. We should always maintain that teachable spirit. Yet sometimes when we grow older we sort of come to the place where we have a “know it-all” attitude; a “You-can’t-tell-me-anything” attitude.
When our children were still babies, they seemed to think everything they could get their hands on was intended for their mouth. A newborn baby puts his hands in his mouth. As he grows a little older and learns to crawl across the floor if he finds a screw it goes in his mouth, if he finds a spoon it goes in his mouth, if he finds a spider it goes in his mouth. Babies are ignorant concerning these things. They don’t know what should go in their mouths and what shouldn’t. Some babies have died as a result of not knowing that.
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They have gotten hold of something poisonous and it killed them. The same thing is true spiritually speaking. We need to be careful what goes into our spiritual mouths. We need to be as careful about what we read as we are about what we eat physically. Christians many times think nothing at all of gulping down some poisonous doctrine which will poison life spiritually, rob them of their spirituality, and ruin their testimony if they accept it.
I know of some born-again, Spirit-filled people who were soul winners, getting people saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But they got taken up with certain doctrines. Some of them told me, “God is doing a different thing nowadays.” No God’s not doing a different thing nowadays. He’s still concerned about saving people. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
They just left the fundamental truths of the doctrine of the Word of God and went off on something that is synonymous with heresy. It is the same with people who are not able to balance grace and faith. If you take either of these two without proper balance it can be poisonous.
Grace and faith work together, and they must be in balance. Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Sometimes we read a passage from Scripture that is so familiar, we don’t stop to think about what it is really saying. In this verse, a profound truth is being declared. It says we are saved by grace through faith, not one or the other. Think of it this way—grace is what God does; faith is what we do. It takes both working together to receive salvation.
Salvation is not dependent on grace alone. If it were, everyone would be saved and going to heaven, for God’s grace is the same toward everyone (Titus 2:11). He has already given the gift of salvation to everyone through Jesus. It is by faith that a person receives what was done 2 000 years ago.
Faith is defined as being a positive response to what God has already provided by grace. In other words, faith is your positive response to God’s grace, or faith only appropriates what God has already provided for you. Therefore, faith is your part.
However, there are people who preach grace at the exclusion of faith and others who preach faith at the exclusion of grace. This is poisonous. It’s like sodium and chloride: Taken individually, both are poisons and can kill you. When mixed together, they become salt, which you must have to live.
Some things are actually poisonous in themselves. And some things it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference how you believe on them, they are simply not essential to salvation and it wouldn’t make any difference whether you believed it, or you didn’t believe it. But too many times some Christians, will feed on everything in the world except the right thing, and will become poisoned. Then they lead disciples off after themselves. We see many believers focusing on the man of God instead of God of man. This is how error is creeping subtly into some of our churches today.
I went into a Christian home once and saw some books I knew to be poisonous lying on a living room table. They were religious books, but they were poisonous. We need not only be careful about secular books, but we need to be careful about reading religious books. I purposely worked the conversation around to these books. I picked one up and said something about it. This person was a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian but they said “Oh that is the most marvelous book.” “Is it?” I said. “Yes.” In the early days of my Christian experience I had happened to get hold of some of these books and had detected immediately the poison in them.
So I just turned to certain pages and began to read certain things aloud. “Well now, Dr Doug, they give chapter and verse in there. I looked some of them up and those verses are in the Bible.” I said, “Certainly. If they didn’t give some verses though they may take them out of their setting, a, people wouldn’t read it. If you were going to poison a dog he wouldn’t eat just the poison. You have to put the poison on a good piece of meat.” You have to put the poison on a good piece of meat to get a dog to come.
The devil will use some good scripture to get you to eat it, but he’ll put a little poison on it. Be careful no matter who you read after. Don’t read everything you can get your hands on. Unless you are a fully mature Christian and able to rightly divide it, it would be best not to read such things.
Make sure you are feeding on sincere milk.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: email@example.com or Twitter @dougmamvura