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Growing Up Before Going Up



Food and water. These are the bare essentials if you plan on staying alive in your current body (feel free to pat yourself on the back for making it this far...you've met the basic requirements). Granted, you can go many weeks without food, but the body needs water more than anything to make it beyond a week.

And before we can even think about drinking water and eating solid food, we need a constant supply of our mother's milk immediately upon birth (or, thanks to modern advancements, a proper substitute). This is the way it is, and it's by design. There is simply no other way to thrive other than to meet these basic requirements for good health, proper nourishment, and growth.

As a Christian who believes that the God of the Bible is the Creator of everything, and now that I know He is also gracious and has personally redeemed me through Christ, I humbly submit to His design for my life. And this act of submission is not merely a one time choice, but also a daily surrender (cf. Lk. 9:23).

If you have also experienced the new birth that is essential for salvation (Jn. 3:3; Jm. 1:18), then, along with watching your physical health, you may have noticed a need for maintaining good spiritual health. Instinctively, we seek out physical food and drink to satisfy our hunger and thirst, but there is an even greater need for the child of God to stay alive in the Spirit in order to be productive and fruitful (cf. Jn. 15:1-8; Rom. 8:12-13). And this necessary fruit isn't the kind that perishes in the produce section. It's the kind that lasts forever.

Therefore, as true children of God who need consistent nourishment for growth and productivity, the last thing we need is fake spirituality, or vain religious attitudes and practices. There are plenty of counterfeits available, so discernment is crucial and adherence to the truth is vital for our spiritual health.

In this evil age full of deception and hypocrisy, how does the child of God not just survive, but thrive in these arid conditions? Where can we find continual strength and comfort when we are beaten down, rejected, and left out in the cold by others in our community?

Well, a great place to turn to in Scripture to answer these questions is 1 Peter. I've been in this book for a while now, and time and time again, I find myself returning to these passages in order to help a fellow brother or sister find meaning and purpose in their trials. Peter's letter is the perfect message for us right now as we witness many in our "selfie" generation cry out for justice and yet continue to despise authority.

While truth continues to stumble in the streets (Isa. 59:14), we don't have to stumble along with the mob. In the following study, we are going to take a look at 1 Peter 2:1-3. The apostle, by way of a creative and effective metaphor, reveals how beleaguered believers in a weary world can find the comfort and nourishment they so desperately need.


To Those Who are Exiles During the Times of the Gentiles

If you've ever felt like a stranger in your own home, or if you've ever been slandered or treated with contempt, then you can relate with Peter's audience. For Gentiles this is a little harder to picture, but a Jew living miles and miles away from Jerusalem and the Land of Israel knows exactly how it feels to be the object of scorn.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1, ESV).

Imagine you are a Jew living in exile around AD 60. Not only are you outnumbered and standing out like a sore thumb because of your peculiar beliefs and customs, but you are also a Christian, and that designation alienates you further from your own Jewish brethren. It's a double whammy.

It's a situation not altogether foreign to many of us who feel like a stranger in our own country. Maybe your own family has given you the silent treatment because of your evangelistic efforts, or worse, maybe they've vocalized their hatred of your Christian values and love of the truth.

The backdrop to 1 Peter is something that the average Christian can relate to in modern times, and the apostle's authoritative word is something that every Christian needs to hear and put into practice. 

Also, in addition to practical matters of submission to authority and suffering for the Lord, foremost in Peter's mind is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, we are still in the Times of the Gentiles (see Dan. 2:31-45), and this time period of tyranny and persecution won't end until the King of kings establishes His iron-rod rule on the earth at the end of the Tribulation. For those of us in the body of Christ, the male-child of Rev. 12:5, we are going home much sooner than the rest who must endure the Time of Jacob's Trouble (see Gary's post here; my post here).

Peter knew the book of Daniel and understood the prophetic hour; namely, after Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, the countdown began during the time of the last Gentile power (Rome, + Rome 2.0 during the Trib).

In order to encourage those of you who are prophecy-minded and eager to meet the Lord in these last days, here is an extensive list of verses in Peter's letter highlighting the importance of Christ's return (adapted from Charles Baylis, Commentary Notes on 1 Peter, pg. 5):

1:5 – a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time
1:7 – at the revelation of Jesus Christ
1:9 – the salvation of your souls
1:13 – to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
2:12 – in the day of visitation
4:5 – give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead
4:7 – the end of all things is at hand
4:13 – at the revelation of His glory
5:1 – a participant in the glory about to be revealed
5:4 – when the Chief Shepherd appears
5:8 – that He may exalt you at the proper time
5:10 – who called you into His eternal glory in Christ...after you have suffered for a little while

Amen! Now that we've got the return of the Lord in our sights, by no means does Peter want us to bunker down and isolate ourselves. On the contrary, he wants us to have the mindset of the prophet Daniel and thrive in the midst of our current trials.

For example, check out these allusions to the book of Daniel in 1 Peter (adapted from Baylis, 1 Peter, pg. 3):

1:1, 17 + 2:11 + 5:13 – "exile" and "Babylon" (cf. Dan. 1:1-2)
1:6-7 + 4:12 – "refined by fire" and "fiery trial" (cf. Dan. 3:24-30)
5:8 – "roaring lion" (cf. Dan. 6:10-24)

All right, now that we've got some background and context, let's look at the passage of focus: 1 Peter 2:1-3:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good" (ESV).

Here we find the answer to how the child of God thrives while living as an exile in enemy-occupied territory: By continually craving, or longing for "pure spiritual milk." The source of this "milk," of course, being "the Lord" himself (2:3), and to get it we must come to Him continually (2:4), "As you come to Him..." (see ESV, NIV, NET, and NRSV).

Next, we need to define and clarify Peter's metaphor [Greek: logikon adolon gala], which is translated in popular English versions in various ways:

1) Most common "pure spiritual milk" (ESV, NIV, HCSB, NET, etc.)
2) Less common "pure/sincere milk of the word" (KJV, NASB, YLT, etc.)
3) Even less common "pure rational/reasonable milk" (Douay-Rheims, Jubilee Bible, etc.)

How do we account for these discrepancies? Why do some translations explicitly say "word" (KJV) and others do not (ESV)? Why does the King James Version not include the prepositional phrase "in/to salvation? Is it a conspiracy? Are newer translations other than the KJV inspired by Satan?

The mystery surrounding the "milk" that the children of God must have for spiritual nourishment and growth continues...


The Milk That Saves and Never Spoils

Ok, at this point we need to go over a fundamental principle of Bible study. Before we can actually derive the correct interpretation of a passage of Scripture, we must establish the text. Thus, the logical first question of Bible study: What is the text?

It sounds simple enough. However, as you can see from the listed variations of 1 Peter 2:2 above, there is more going on beneath the surface. Most English versions today include footnotes to explain textual issues and variant translations, but I first want to explain why other modern versions are not doing anything malicious or conspiratorial when they say we are to grow up "into salvation" by means of the "milk" mentioned by Peter.

The following investigation might trigger the KJV-only crew, and if that's you, then please ask yourself if you are a true seeker and learner, or possibly someone who is afraid to admit that the answers aren't as simple as "It's the Authorized Version."

No doubt the KJV is a solid and faithful translation that has had a monumental impact on the Western world (and one that I have cited as the best translation in many examples!). But it's not perfect, and it's not God-breathed—in the case of 1 Peter 2:2, it's the original Greek text that is the inspired text.

Here's an explanatory note on the textual issue in 1 Pet. 2:2 from the NET Bible (#6):

The Byzantine text [a.k.a. Textus Receptus/KJV tradition] lacks eis soterian ["to salvation"] while the words are found in the earliest and best witnesses...[the earliest witness was discovered long after 1611 in Egypt (1952), a set of papyri called the 'Bodmer Codex']. Not only is the longer reading superior externally, but since the notion of growing up [in] salvation would have seemed theologically objectionable, it is easy to see why some scribes would omit it" (bracketed explanation mine).

Now then, after briefly addressing the minor textual issue, we can move forward with confidence in the longer reading. No need to stumble over the "salvation" in 2:2: It's not salvation in the sense of "justification by faith," as if Peter was teaching salvation by works. This goal of "growing up into salvation" is a reference to our "glorification," or the ultimate deliverance Peter has already previewed in 1:5 and 1:9 which occurs at the time of the Lord's return.

Next, we still need to address the lingering confusion over the exact meaning of what is commonly translated as "pure spiritual milk." At the lexical/grammatical level, we're dealing with a noun [Grk. gala] modified by two adjectives logikon and adolon. We'll hammer out a clearer definition of the "milk" later, but we can progress toward clarity by defining the two modifying adjectives:

         First, the children of God are to crave the milk that is logikon. This Greek term is found only twice in the entire New Testament: One time here in 1 Peter 2:2 and the other in Romans 12:1. Since Paul's exhortation to present our bodies as a living sacrifice is a more well-known verse, you may already be familiar with the various translations of "...this is your spiritual worship," (ESV) or "...this is your reasonable worship" (KJV).

        Honestly, I have no idea how translators get "spiritual" from logikon. According to extra-biblical Greek sources such as Epictetus and Philo (1st century AD), the term is translated as "reasonable" or "rational" and never in the sense of "spiritual" (see Epictetus Diatribe 1.16.20; Philo The Special Laws 1.277). In fact, if Peter wanted to convey the sense of "spiritual," then he would have used the term found a few verses away in 1 Pet. 2:5, "...[you] are being built into a spiritual [Grk. pneumatikos] house..." Paul also uses this term in places like 1 Cor. 2:13, where the sense is clearly "spiritual." Therefore, given the extra-biblical evidence it seems best to go with a sense of "rational/reasonable" for logikon milk in 1 Pet. 2:2.

        Second, children of God are to crave the milk that is adolon. This word is found only here in 1 Peter, and so we don't have another New Testament context to compare its usage. However, in the Greek language, whenever you find an "a" + root word, it's usually the absence of something (such as a + theism, "without God," or a + pathy, "without feeling"). Guess what? The antonym of adolon is found in 1 Pet. 2:1 (and also in 2:22)! The word dolos means "...taking advantage through craft and underhanded methods, deceit, cunning, treachery" (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd ed., pg. 256).

        And so, adding these two descriptors together, we are told to grow up in our salvation by means of "milk" that is both reasonable and pure, or in other words, it is logical and without deceit. In laymen's terms...this "milk" is 100% organic and contains no additives!

We are almost there. Now on to the gala. What is this "milk" that is completely reasonable and genuine—the precise referent of Peter's metaphor?

The answer to this question has led to a few, slightly nuanced interpretations. For example, English translations such as the King James Version and New American Standard have already interpreted it for us, i.e., "...the sincere milk of the Word."

One female scholar has proposed another interpretation of the "milk" in 1 Pet. 2:2:

It seems evident that the use of the verb ["to crave," 1 Pet. 2:1] with these parallel concepts [see Rom. 13:12; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:8; Heb. 12:1; and Jm. 1:21] should inform our understanding that craving logikon adolon gala refers to the passionate desire to reorient one's whole self and life to the reality of one's new birth" (Karen Jobes, "Got Milk?" A Petrine Metaphor in 1 Peter 2:1-3 Revisited, pg. 124, source).

 Lastly, W. Edward Glenny has a more narrowed definition of "pure rational milk":

I have argued that this 'milk' represents the gospel of Christ, which the early church found in and preached from the OT. This 'milk' is 'reasonable' or 'rational' because it is the interpretation of [graphe, 'Scripture'] intended by the Holy Spirit (1:11)...for ''children of God' (the perspective from which the recipients are addressed in 1:13-2:10), who have obeyed 'the truth' (1:22), have been born again by 'incorruptible seed' through the gospel (1:23) and have tasted the goodness of the Lord (2:3), the recognition of and appetite for this gospel message and its implications as found in [Scripture] is as natural, instinctive, and reasonable as desire for milk is for newborn babes (2:2)" ("1 Peter 2:2a: Nourishment for Growth in Faith and Love" in Interpreting the New Testament Text, ed. Bock and Fanning, 447-48).

The interpretations above are varied, but they are all interrelated to the Word of God. That being said, I believe that Glenny has captured the best sense of Peter's all-encompassing metaphor. Discerning the true meaning of the "milk" that we are to desire with all of our being is as easy as 1-2-3, or simply looking back at the preceding context of 1 Pet. 1:23.

In 1 Peter 1:23, we are reminded that we've been born again through "the living and enduring word of God." The "word" here is logos, and as many of you know, a weighty term in reference to Christ in John 1:1, 14 and Revelation 19:13. The word of God is also the Scriptures (Peter cites Isaiah 40:6-8), the prophetic texts from which "the gospel" is proclaimed by the apostles and subsequent generations of believers (1 Pet. 1:25).

Thus, as children of God, we are to live and grow by that which gave us birth in the first place: The gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as proclaimed and made known by the Lord's own apostles and preached from the written Word of God, the Scriptures. This life-giving message about Jesus is reasonable and non-deceptive. No gimmicks, no pretense, no false promises. Only a living hope that will carry us to glory (1 Pet. 1:3, 9, 13)

"Milk," it does the spiritual body good. Do yourself a favor, if you've been languishing in your faith lately, begin to cultivate a taste for the pure and unadulterated gospel again!


Be a Baby, Cry Out to the Lord!

Growing up, maybe you were like me and a little on the sensitive side. After nursing an emotional wound, whether real or perceived, maybe you were chastised by a parent or an older sibling, who said, "Grow up, don't be such a baby!" You know, something encouraging like that.

Well, since we have sharpened our understanding of the "milk" in 1 Pet. 2:2, remember that we are encouraged to, "Be a baby!" That's right, we've got the green light from the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to be like a newborn infant. Well, maybe not in the sense that we should continue to throw tantrums and test God's boundaries. But definitely in the sense that we should be totally dependent on the Lord, crave daily the grace brought to us through the gospel, and continually take our cares and burdens to the One who always loves and cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7).

I didn't touch on this in the above discussion, but a chunk of Peter's letter is rooted in the theological message of Psalm 34. Not only is there a direct reference in 1 Pet. 2:3, but also a central passage in 1 Pet. 3:10-12. Here's how the psalm contributes to Peter's overarching message:

...by the use of Psalm 34 in 1 Peter, Christian readers are invited to see their accomplished redemption through the kindness of the Lord (2:3), and to come to him both as an accessible and active supporter in the present and a vindicator in the future (2:4; 3:9-12) and as a perfect model for the proper ethical response to their afflictions (3:8-9, 11, connecting with 2:21-25)" (Sean Christensen, "Solidarity in Suffering and Glory: The Unifying Role of Psalm 34 in 1 Peter 3:10-12," pg. 352, in Journal of the Evangelical Society, 2015, accessed here).

In the quotation above, Christensen highlights 1 Peter 2:4 as an echo of Psalm 34:10-11, especially verse 11, "Come, children, listen to me..." So, in addition to the more explicit references to Psalm 34 in Peter's letter, there is no doubt that King David's message thoroughly influenced Peter, who in turn sought to encourage the weary and persecuted children of God in his day.

I didn't realize how rich this milk metaphor was until I dug deeper. It's a perfect way to depict how desperate we are for grace, love, and the presence of the Lord in our everyday lives.

Speaking of grace: Wasn't it Galatia that had a difficult time with this concept (c.f. Gal. 3:1-5)? Isn't it ironic that one of the recipients of Peter's letter, the Galatians (1:1), are exhorted to crave the reasonable and genuine "milk" of the gospel? Remember, the Greek word for milk is [gala]. Thus, Peter speaks of real gala to the grace-starved Galatian.

Ah, but we're not getting off the hook so easily. The Galatian issue is all-too prevalent in the body of Christ today. We are a grace-starved people in a world that shows us no mercy. And why do we keep expecting to receive grace and mercy from people, religion, or anything that doesn't have the capacity to give it?

Thankfully, there is One who will always welcome His children into His presence. But in order to get the nourishment you crave, you must to come to Him boldly and with confidence that the blood of Christ cleanses you of all your guilt and shame:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time" (Heb. 4:14-16, HCSB, emphasis mine).

So, dear brother or sister in the Lord, what are you waiting for? As you wait for the Lord to return, don't wait to come to Him now. We are so close to the finish line, but we may have a little more "growing up" to do before we're taken up. Just make sure that you're growing up in the gospel of God's true grace, and not some cheap, man-made imitation.

After all, babies don't know what self-sufficiency is, and they don't have a buck to lean on. A final word for the body of Christ, co-heirs with the Son of God, Son of David:

Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the promises assured to David" (Isa. 55:1-3, HCSB, emphasis mine).

Amen, and maranatha!
Post A Comment

40 comments :

  1. Another home run, brother. Justification, sanctification, and glorification all stem from the same thing: the Gospel that saved us. Not by works that anyone should boast. God is a good and loving Father and when we look for Him for that same sustenance that drew us in to begin with, we continue to grow.

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    1. Amen, brother! Building off of the baseball analogy. If we stand our ground and continue to feed off of the "milk" of 1 Pet. 2:2, soon we'll be growing, growing, gone!

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  2. Wow! This came at the perfect time today! I was just sharing with a friend a bit ago how I've recently discovered Peter was focused on the soon return of Jesus and how this has opened my eyes and he KNEW and understood Daniel!! And how we need to grow in the Lord through true study while still here going through our trials... And our completion will be the moment of the revealing of Christ! Good study!!

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda. Wow, great confirmation!

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  3. Good stuff Jeff. Most people who read Articles like this aren't Scholars, so maybe save all the References and put them at the bottom of your Study for the more Learned, as they're clutter to the less, lol! ;)~ On another Note, many believers come to Saving Faith but life's confusions and lies keep them from Falling In Love with the Perfect Poetry of the Lords Word. Once In Love, there's no turning back, it will be all a Believer can think about. It will come to mean more than anything this life can offer. All Consuming.

    Like falling in love with a person, at first they cross your mind a little, then, more and more, soon, you can think of nothing else! lol! Or, like finding a new friend, much in common at first, then, as years and decades pass, they become an old, trusted and loyal friend, even more, a brother or sister. Life among and amidst two Kingdoms can retard a believers growth, fortunate are the ones who learn young and quickly. Some are old, world wise, yet spiritual infants. Others are young, led well, and very spiritually mature.

    Well said it was the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Thank God Almighty for His Grace, Mercy and Patience! Peace. Love. JOY! LoveYa!

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    1. Thanks, Jimmy. I do my best to be concise and clear, but I also love to be thorough! Peace to you, brother!

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  4. Very good study, Jeff! I remember reading an article on being like babes in that they are driven and insistent and focused and will scream non-stop until they get one thing! Milk. And, when they taste that nourishment they will hungrily and greedily and very noisily gulp and gasp as they in a panicky manner drink it down! Then, their heart rate slows down, and they breathe easier. Likewise, we need the Word. It is our sustenance.

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    1. Thank you, Cathi! Having bottle-fed two infants recently, I totally see the connection: First, panic and flailing; Second, noisy and fast gulping; Third, heart-rate slowing and eyelids drooping, lol. Perfect picture of our desperation when we are deprived of the nourishment from the Lord that we need every day :)

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  5. Well, Jeff - please continue writing as you and others do in putting in Greek words and meanings, bible verses and so forth as we read the article. It is much easier to understand and have a better grasp of the subject's intent. If they were placed at the end of an article, I wouldn't look them up. I surly wouldn't want to read something and then scroll down to get that footnote and by then I will forget what I read and then scroll back up re-reading a passage and so on! I don't see this as being for scholarly types at all or not for a person less learned. But moreso, it is being a Berean. It is a discipline. A person could always just go past them and ignore them. When I am tired or distracted, that's what I end up doing tho I am not as knowledgeable in what was written. I might miss something that ends up being important to me or a tidbit of knowledge that was a joy to learn.

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    1. LOL! ..Tsk!-Tsk!-Tsk! ..Precisely what keeps me away from 99% of most Church Manufactured "Christians", and that's very unlikely to ever change. Even Jesus never returned to a Synagogue that sought to kill Him! Which was just about, if not, all of them! lol! On the other hand, Truly Mature, Holy Spirit Raised Believers..are Delightful!..99% of the time.

      Why couldn't you've just Replied to my comment with something like; [I get what you're saying but I don't know, I kinda like it! ;)~] or something like that? Wouldn't that have been more Loving? Less offended? You were far less aggressive with the Pastor. Though I'm not actually easily offended, I am swift to forgive, especially when asked. It's ok though, I understand.. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is..weak. Perhaps an Article on 1 Corinthians 13 would be a good follow up to this one. ;)~

      Still Loveya Sis, don't stay mad at Uncle Jimmy, Jesus won't like that..lol!

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    2. I am sorry Uncle Jimmy. I figured Jeff was the person to respond to because he would make any decisions in this matter. I wasn't trying to diss you. I truly wasn't trying to disrespect you in anyway. In fact, I said I didn't see having the references within the text as a problem for a less learned person. So, I guess I could have said something like I understand where your coming from, Uncle Jimmy (and believe me I do).
      And, as to being loving and not easily offended you referred to me as one of those "Church Manufactured 'Christians'". I have to say, I am so far from that - it isn't funny. So, you have judged me. And, that doesn't seem to fit with 1 Cor 13 (either).
      But, seriously, I didn't mean any offense. And, I hope you haven't taken any offense here, Uncle Jimmy.

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    3. TOTALLY Forgiven Sis! TOTALLY! Thank you for allowing me the privilege to forgive. My bigger concern was that you'd hold it against me as so many do. More so than the way you said what you said. As I never mean any offense to anyone, much less Believers. I like to tease a lot and many misinterpret that. It's my way of bonding. Peace. Love. JOY! To me, Love and Joy are inseparable. Loveya! :)

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    4. Ok, Uncle Jimmy! Peace. Love and Joy!

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    5. Cathi G.. My 1st Born (5yr old-at the time) Grandson came to see me one day. Hyper, he walked straight into the sliding screen door, didn't see it, popped right off it's rollers and went flying! lol! I had to grab ahold of him to slow him down so he didn't trip on it and get hurt or damage it, lol! He quietly went and sat down while I quickly put it back on track. I was a little annoyed during the process. When I finished he sadly said, "I'm sorry Grampa"..I instantly fell to my knees before him and comforted him with hugs and kisses. It broke my heart to think that he was hurting inside. My annoyance was fleeting but I HAD! to restore him to joy ASAP! lol!

      My 1st Born Son (his dad) however, tells me he's sorry all the time. Yet, he never truly is, because he grievously violates love in his selfishness every single day, many times a day. So I have tell him, "I'm sorry don't cut it! The only thing you're sorry about is having angered me and won't get what you want! When you ask me if I can find it in my heart to forgive you, then, and ONLY then, will I truly know you ARE sorry!"

      His selfish crimes against love were so bad the Lord took over and afflicted him with "The Madness" as Moses calls it. Fortunately, it only lasted 7 yrs. I had to intervene for his deliverance. The house is swept clean now and it remains to be seen if it will remain so. All is lost for him. I had raised him in The Way he should go, yet, he failed to Grow Up in the Spirit. And still, after all he's suffered, he oddly, lovingly, resists counsel. Amazing! I've never seen anything like it. He's content with a basic faith and understanding of the Lord and doesn't believe there is more to learn, despite ALL the evidence we now clearly see.

      I too am a 1st Born Son. Satan is working Overtime in these Last Moments of these Last Days. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me of any offense as well Sis. I too, truly mean it. :)

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    6. Uncle Jimmy, I don't know your age nor of your 1st born son but what you describe is also quite common to me (I'm from 1966 and was saved with my husband only in 2005 when our son was already 7, he's from the "Millennial" generation). The son is saved too but seems to be content with milk but getting sick or being not interested in what the bible calls "strong meat". He just pukes from it, now 19. I'm just always happy to know he'll be in Heaven with us but sometimes I smh how his love for Christ is so small that he doesn't quite WANT to "grow up before go up". Perhaps you might like this article about your topic of forgive vs. say sorry:

      http://thecripplegate.com/why-christians-need-to-stop-apologizing-and-saying-im-sorry/

      I have had this experience with mine a lot but today I feel it's not because of having not given enough of biblical milk at home or being a bad example myself (quite the contrary!) but because we cannot help him being one of the last (and prophetically selfish) endtimes generation of 2 Timothy 3:2 = PHILAUTOS in first place... If your grandson might grow up when we're still here you'll know what I mean. Much love brother!

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    7. Annabel.. Thanks for the link, it was a short, warm, painless and accurate read. My son is about to turn 33 (boy 14/girl 6), my daughter 36 (boys 15-12-3/girl new). The world is a strong competitor for their attentions and affections. It's a hard spell to break. And though I've been saved since 1972, it took till 1987 to turn my heart again to the Lord. I understand the World and the Church very well. Unfortunately I found Bar Stool Philosophy and Poker Table Fellowship far more tasteful and pleasant than Egotistical Pulpit Hypocrisy and Church Pew Indignation for too many of my years. So I bear much responsibility for their dysfunctions, even though I smothered them with love, affection, wisdom and spiritual counsel all their lives.

      Awoken in 87 to the realization the Lord would return in our lifetime, the rapture disappointments of 93 and 2000, along with the concerns of life in this world, put me back to sleep spiritually till 2011. There's no turning away now, despite date after date passing, as we're undoubtedly there. Still, it's as hard to help others (most urgently my immediates) see what we see today as it was in 87, and has been known since the rebirth of Israel. O that I'd have had the powerful influences of Billy, Franklin, Hal and Chuck from the beginning in 1964, the sorrows that could've been avoided, and the work the Lord would have achieved along the years.

      Only in recent years have I come to understand the actual structure of the kingdom of hell on/in earth and in the heavens, and the deceptions at work in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! lol! But Thank God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, has Overcome the World! And I trust Him 100%, that He has/is/will work all things together for good, and SOON, for those who Love Him.. Talk about JOY! ;)~ Loveya Sis!

      And Cathi.. Thanks! The story of the infants and milk is hilarious! Because it's true! Everytime! I've seen it 8 times now! LOL! ;)~ Loveya Sis!

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    8. Dear Uncle Jimmy, thanks for your kind explanation of personal experience... What you describe seems quite commonplace within the church today (especially with the "early birds" of Gods children in Matthew 20). But that wasn't really my point. I mean the child was a pillar for Jesus and evangelist in school until the age of 12/13 when he stopped feeding himself with the word, proceeding from "milk" to "strong meat". So what I experienced is rather the effect of Hebrews 5:11-14 that saddens me. Of course I trust in Gods promise of Ephesians 5:27 and Philippians 1:6 in all these trials and temptations so may your faith as well be strong to still encourage and exhort the weaker parts of your family until we are going home meeting with Jesus - I do pray for your teenage grandchildren as they might already be held accountable according to their age together with their parents. For the smaller ones I do see no problem to be in the rapture with us. Hopefully your big family will be leaving earth with us soon, that's all that counts by now!! Growing and learning will be ours then eternally (1 Corinthians 13:12). Much love and blessings YSIC

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    9. Annabel.. I understand Sis. 13 is where rebellion happens, every time. Even with girls, only girls seem to outgrow it faster. These days, evil as they are, it's even worse, the boys and girls can't seem to shake it, and we know who's responsible, the devil. He's gained great strength due to the exponential global increase in the ancient practice of human sacrifice. So his grip is even stronger than in times past.

      I can't recommend fasting with prayer enough, even I'm not very good at it. But I believe in it wholeheartedly. All we can do is the best we can and trust Jesus no matter what. I've asked the Lord to save them all from eternal damnation, and if it's His decision to put that generation to a greater test than ours, I totally trust they'll join us on the other side in due season. Peace, whatever the cost. Stand. And be as gentle as we can. He won't lose one, not one! :)

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    10. Agreed Cathi G. I also like the reference information within the article content as I read along. No offense to Uncle Jimmy, just a difference in preference.

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    11. Michael.. And absolutely NO offense taken Michael. :) I understand it's preferable to others, that's why I didn't suggest getting rid of it all together. The inline scripture references are common and often handy. I'm just after truth, not trying to learn another language, or two, lol! It was a friendly criticism and not at all meant to be unfriendly, and I can see and know you understand that. Love ya brother! :)

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  6. Great article! The bible is absolutely inundated with beautiful imagery and symbolism. It truly is amazing when you read beyond the text and realize how amazingly crafted the bible is.

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    1. Thanks, Drew! I agree. I love discovering more of the intricate design of the Bible, which is truly God-breathed!

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  7. Great work Jeff. I'm working on a little piece about the Bema, and when I first read the title of your article, I thought "Oh no, he's totally going to steal my thunder!" Well, maybe not "thunder," but you know what I mean. Happily, you went in a different direction and came up with something even better! Outstanding.

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    1. Greg, if you're working on some 'Bema piece' you might consider (and like?) this one:

      http://thecripplegate.com/degrees-of-reward-pt-1/#more-219527

      http://thecripplegate.com/degrees-of-reward-pt-2/

      Blessings to you! :)

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    2. Thank you, Greg. This is the lightning round before the thunder. You take it from here, brother!

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  8. Very good Jeff. I loved the concept of us having a 'recognition of and appetite for' the gospel (pure milk) as we "grow up into salvation", cf Phil 2:12 "work out (work down to the end point) your salvation with fear and trembling".

    Ryan

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    1. Thank you, Ryan. Great parallel verse to 1 Pet. 2:2.

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  9. All the Lord has called will return to Him. He knows us, He ponders the heart. So even though we might stray, we will return because ultimately nothing and nobody can give us what Jesus can. All the times I ever strayed I returned because just as nothing will ever lay you as low as the discipline of God, nothing will ever be able to restore you like His love. I do feel as we are nearing the time He will be doing everything He can to get the attention of His children and get us to return to Him. I’ve certainly experienced that the last couple of years and so have many of my other brothers and sisters in Christ who may have gotten off the straight and narrow. We are coming back to Him because He is coming back for us. Soon!

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    1. Wonderfully stated, "We are coming back to Him because He is coming back for us. Soon!" Yes, I am seeing this as well the closer we get (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9).

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  10. Jeff, I love your subtle irony against all these "KJV-only" worshippers out there... LOL! {thumbs up} As a German, I can't understand this upset at all because we don't translate into English you know (LOL again!) and can as well as the English speaking brethren in Christ not be deceived into hell or spoilt by some bad translation if we are like you sealed with Gods Holy Spirit that ever keeps us from eternal corruption (if not from some timely error but which is the minor problem). Our best versions - Luther1984 / Elberfelder / Schlachter2000 - translate all 3 the same as you named in the "less common" English category: PURE/UNADULTERATED REASONABLE MILK (in German then, of course!). Strongs Concordance explains "gala" as "milk" and gives as well the second (metaphorical) explanation as "the less difficult Christian truths". I find "logikos" best translated with "reasonable" because it is the meaning WITHIN the "logos" i.e. by using "the word" and REASONING with it. Much love YSIC :)

    PS: What is more a problem in Christian life is if you then after having lived through 1 Peter 2:2 focus your further spiritual diet on "MILK ONLY" but which is again explained by Paul (probably) in Hebrews 5:12-13

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    1. Thank you, Annabel. I appreciate your confirmation from the German translations.

      I'm also glad you brought up Hebrews 5:12-14 (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-2). I'm not entirely sure if Peter is using "milk" in the same sense as these passages in Hebrews and 1 Corinthians. There is definitely a negative connotation associated with continuing to feed on "milk" in those passages, while Peter's metaphor doesn't pit milk and solid food against one another.

      Some may say that Peter might be writing to new believers in Christ because of the "newborn babes" reference in 1 Pet. 2:2. However, the "as" or "like" makes this a part of the overall figure of speech in connection with the "pure and reasonable milk."

      And since I believe the "milk" is in reference to the gospel, I don't think we could ever grow out of our need to feed on something so precious and necessary in order to keep approaching God's throne of grace with boldness the rest of our days--right up until we are taken up to this very throne at the coming of the Lord (Rev. 12:5).

      Peace to you, sister! I share your frustration with Christians who don't want to go "beyond the basics" for whatever reason or excuse.

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    2. Dear Jeff, I absolutely agree. I think "milk" is nevertheless tied to the so called "Christian basics" in every of the scriptures you mentioned. In Hebrews it is opposed to "strong meat" for the mature ones. God doesn't want nor planned us to stay infant and immature as Christians so this is the topic there. But both letters of Peter have another CONTEXT and main focus which is ENDTIMES. As such, I do understand the message of Peter as to cling to the basics pure and unadulterated because that's even more the problem the days we live in: that even the "milk" gospel, the basics of faith will be spoilt and twisted by the enemy (see letter of 1 John or Jude). And no one can build upon a bad foundation (Matthew 7:26 notice the context of addressees in verses 21-22!). The "pure milk" of 1 Peter is surely focused on PURE rather than on being compared to what to come next (bible study, revelation and knowledge of Christ). Thank you again for your wonderful study, that means a lot to me! Much blessings, seeya soon in the air, dear brother! MARANATHA :))

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    3. Annabel - your above statement speaks loudly to me this morning: "...the days we live in: that even the 'milk' gospel, the basics of faith will be spoilt and twisted by the enemy."

      I never thought I would see the day that would happen.

      But there is a "certain" YT personality teaching that very thing right now. He's part of the Sacred Name group, he has a heavy emphasis on teaching the "Otiot". Part of that teaching is him telling people that the words "grace" and "faith" in our Bibles are wrong (!!) .... calls them "garbage" (!!!) ... yes, the very things that our salvation stand on. He says to scratch out the word "grace" and replace it with "pitching our tent with YHWH", and to scratch out the word "faith" and replace it with "being washed in the Word". Worse yet, people are BUYING it!!!

      Such abominations in these final moments of the Church age make me sick to my stomach. I know Jesus forewarned us it would happen, but I was not emotionally prepared for what I'm seeing. Truly heartbreaking.

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    4. mksmith dear brother, be comforted... I am in Germany and as such there's truly nothing more of spiritual decline and church desaster that really surprises me anymore after having now lived all my short Christian life since 2005 without any sound local church company - I myself have rather thought I would never see the day still finding such a bunch of strong and faithful brethren these very last days like at 'Unsealed', 'Rev12daily' and on YouTube! This is such an awesome gift of our great God to keep the heart of believers alive and burning where none would expect it! (Malachi 3:16) Blessings, MARANATHA! :)

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  11. Thank you Jeff. As always, so perfectly articulated, reasoned and well laid out. You draw our attention to the problem with our "microwave" Christians of today. Many read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and believe they "have salvation all figured out" and move right on to deeper truths. This is good, for they are hungry, but they fail to realize the depths of truth found in the milk alone. We should never leave the milk of the Word, but add to it those things which bring more strength, depth and wisdom - but always building on and reaffirming the foundation. Very clear, concise and excellent read and reminder. Blessings - Sherry

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    1. Thank you, Sherry. Good timing. This goes right along with my comment above about Peter's usage of "milk," which seems to be used differently in the context of 1 Pet. 2:2 than the passages in Hebrews and 1 Corinthians.

      Always good to hear from you, Sherry. Blessings!

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    2. Yes indeed Sherry, the "milk" of the gospel is the foundation everyone builds upon = 1 Corinthians 3:11 this is probably the connection Jeff is making between here and Hebrews 5:12-14. EXACTLY! Blessings, dear sister! :)

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    3. Agreed, Sherry. Unfortunately, as a result of looking for deeper truths, they are fulfilling 2 Tim 4:3 ... Lots of trendy, new interpretations of Revelation, and many are suddenly obsessed with such books as Enoch & Thomas. They claim that the Bible was somehow "corrupted" and that those books should have been included in the canon. I find that reasoning very dangerous. If a person can't have enough faith that God is perfectly able to preserve His word the way He intended, how can a person have any faith at all?

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  12. Thank you, Jeff. Very excellent article.

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    1. Thank you, mksmith!

      You shared a perfect example of "rotten, or spoiled milk" in a comment above. We have been warned about those who pervert the gospel and twist the words of Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16).

      Keep standing firm in the faith, brother!

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