Jeff Long: A transformation
This morning as I was making my coffee, I observed the water in the glass bubble in my percolator. The longer this liquid perked, the darker it became. But as the water passed through the coffee grounds, it was converted or transformed to coffee. This transformation only gets stronger and is unable to return to its previous state, water.
This is much like the life a Christian. Paul says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We all know the will of God is to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one another as He loves us. I see the transformation of a non-believer to a believer as an assimilation to that of water converting to coffee. The more we transform (perk) the stronger we become in our faith.
If we look at the beginning of our walk in faith, we notice we are weak like the water before becoming coffee. 1 Peter 2:2, tells us, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Milk is needed to nourish newborns in both physical and spiritual states, but as we grow our nourishment needs to change just as the water did to coffee.
The author of Hebrews tries to make this analogy in chapter 5, v. 13-14, “For everyone 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.” So as we grow in our faith whether by following the Word of God or by testimonies of others or our own, we need to begin not only feeding ourselves, but the nature of our food should also mature as well. This is also true of the food necessary in our physical growth from childhood to adulthood.
Paul’s writings in 2 Cor. 13:9 says, “For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong; and this also we wish even your perfection.” Paul is willing to undergo trials and tribulations to promote the spiritual growth in the church of Corinth. He is wishing and praying for them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ. In other words, the growth of believers going from babes drinking “milk” to mature believers eating “meat.”
This differs from what he told them in 1 Cor. 3:2, “I have fed you milk and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet are ye able.” These two verses in 1 and 2 Corinthians tell that the believers of Corinth weren’t ready for “meat” then and that many are just “running in place” now, not growing spiritually, and still “babes” desiring nothing stronger than milk. Kind of like taking the percolator off the heat so it quits perking and doesn’t develop flavor any richer than when it first started. The believers are still children of God just as the coffee is still coffee, but both are “weak.”
Once transformed, we are always transformed. A believer receives salvation which is forever. This just as the water turns to coffee, can’t be turned back. Described in 1 Peter 1:4, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” This inheritance, eternal life, never fades away. This principle is reinforced by Jesus in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” This promise of eternal life, once accepted by an individual, transforms them into a child of God forever, thus irreversible.
Even if it were possible, why would one want to go back? Paul tells in Galatians 4:9, “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage?” I believe this poses a special truth: once transformed, there is little or no desire to go back and become slaves to the weak and useless spiritual principles of the world. All wants are and will be satisfied with mature growth and development through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So know that you are a sinner, weak. Ask God to give you the knowledge necessary to transform yourself from a spiritual baby to one that knows the gospel of Jesus Christ. This entails believing in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as the admittance of being a sinner. Ask God to forgive you and meditate on His Word, the Holy Bible. Just as your physical demeanor develops, changing your needs for health, your spiritual growth will develop, meeting your needs to become mature in your faith.
So quit depending on others to give you milk as a mother to a child and feed yourself some meat. You’ll find it a lot more fulfilling. God bless all.
Jeff Long lives in Salisbury.