Throughout the Bible we find three stages of growth or understanding. John describes it in his 1st Epistle as children, young men and fathers. We clearly understand these three levels of human life. Children of course require constant supervision until they reach a certain maturity level fitting for us to loosen our grip. Young men are in a place of transition between children and fathers therefore they are at a point of discovering who they are which comes by way of overcoming the enemy. Fathers of course are full grown, mature men and they are mentoring and guiding those in the other two categories therefore reproducing after their kind.
In the 6th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews we read “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity…” A pressing forward into maturity is what God wants for us. It is what everything in life points toward. In nature for instance trees and other plants start as seeds, but they don’t stay that way they grow into mature plants that then give birth to other seeds. This is the way the universe as a whole operates. Everything starts as a seed and grows into fullness only to produce more of like kind. At some point you go from always being the recipient to being a contributor.
Paul describes three stages for us in his letter to the Romans. We are justified and unified in order to become co-redeemer with Christ. We are intimately joined in our spirit to God’s Spirit. Christ in us justifies us, and we are joined in union with him. Having been joined in such a way we then become co-redeemers with Christ. Paul told the Corinthians “we are God’s fellow workers”, and “it is as though God were making his appeal through us…be reconciled to God.” Once we mature in our understanding we stop being so needy and, joined to the Spirit of God, start thinking of the needs of others.
In Romans Paul shows us three stages God takes us through in Christ which are co-crucifixion, co-burial and co-resurrection. According to the letter to the Ephesians there is yet one more step and that is being “raised up with Him, and seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” Wow! In the Spirit we are already seated with Christ at the right hand of the throne! This is definitely the mature place God intends us to operate from.
In Hebrews we find the three stages described for us with three Old Testament characters. We see Moses, of course, because he led children, we see Joshua because he led young men into battle, and finally we see Melchizedek the Priest. The letter to the Hebrews shows us that Jesus is greater than Moses and Joshua, and in fact he is our High Priest forever. We are told to press on to maturity. We first receive and follow Jesus as a Moses type in that he leads us out of bondage. Then we see Jesus as a Joshua type leader because he leads us victoriously into battle over the enemy. Finally we see Jesus as our High Priest just as Melchizedek because he ever lives to intercede for us.
Let me end by saying it isn’t wrong to be little children or young men, but at some point the hope is we move into the mature father stage. Children and young men are in constant need whereas fathers are the ones who have moved over into being need-meeters themselves. They aren’t always in need of someone else’s provision because they have learned to receive from the true source of life in order to provide for others. Let us press on!