We have a simple exhortation for spiritual growth in 1st Peter 2:2: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby” (NKJV). The moment we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we were “born again” into God’s family (see John 3:3-7). We are then “newborn babes”; that is, we are “baby Christians.” We know that a baby born into this world needs milk to grow physically and it’s no different in the spiritual realm; a newborn babe in Christ needs the “pure milk of the word” to grow spiritually.

The apostle Peter has more to say about spiritual growth in 2nd Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Spiritual growth takes place as we become more acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ. As we learn of Him (His love and grace, His holiness and righteousness, etc.), we will become more like Him! 2nd Corinthians 3:18 speaks to this: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being TRANSFORMED INTO THE SAME IMAGE from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We saw that it is through “the pure milk of the word” that we grow; in this verse we learn that the Holy Spirit occupies us with our glorious Lord and Savior through the Word and we are then “transformed into the same image” (which is the essence of spiritual growth).

Spiritual growth is also Peter’s theme in 2nd Peter 1:2-8. In verses 2-4 he says, “Grace and peace be multiplies to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Peter is writing to those who have been born again and his desire for them is to be “partakers of the divine nature,” which is another way of saying that he desires their “spiritual growth.” The “divine nature” is the new life that we have been given when we were born again, but it needs to develop to maturity. He goes on in verses 5-8 to describe the development of the divine nature: “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For is these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peter is actually painting a portrait of Christ in this list of godly characteristics and thus if “these things” are developing in us, we are indeed “growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and being “transformed into the same image.”

What happens if we aren’t growing spiritually? Verse 9 goes on to say, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” One has said that the Christian is either “going forward or backward,” and thus is we aren’t growing spiritually we will lose sight of our Savior and heavenly realities (shortsighted), we will lose spiritual discernment (blindness), and we can even lose the enjoyment of being forgiven (by forgetting we’ve been cleansed from our sins). This is a deplorable state that stunts our growth, ruins our testimony before the world, and brings dishonor to the Lord Jesus. So, dear ones, may we take to heart the very first verse that we looked at, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” Even if we have been saved for years and are no longer newborn babes, we should always have the desire that a newborn babe has for the pure milk of the word of God. (237.1) (DO)