Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
Reaching Full Age
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The letter to the Hebrews tells us, "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
Grace to you.
Paul prayed for his beloved church at Philippi, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and
all judgment;" (Philippians 1:9). The
Greek word translated judgment has to do with "perception, not only by the senses but also the intellect" (Thayer, G144).
Luke tells us, "But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying" (Luke 9:45). The Greek word for perceived has to do with perceiving with the bodily senses or with the mind (Thayer, G143).
After the people asked the priests to bring forth the book, Nehemiah records, "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused
May God give us and our children senses exercised to discern good and evil.
The term "of full age" comes from the Greek word "
Thayer Greek Definitions
gives its meaning as:
1) brought to its end, finished
2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness
4) that which is perfect
4a) consummate human integrity and virtue
4b) of men
4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature.
It is translated in the Authorized Version (KJV) "perfect" 17 times, "man" one time, and "of full age" one time.
"Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men" (1 Corinthians 14:20).
is the same Greek word (
To be mature is to be as innocent as a small child in malice or evil. In understanding we are to be mature or complete or perfect, of full age.
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:13). Paul tells us that our maturity is to be measured by the fullness of Christ. We are not to compare ourselves to one another, but to compare ourselves unto Him. That will humble us, will it not?
Young men and women, the world tells you that you are mature when you reach a certain age, when your bodies have matured to a certain place. The Word of God teaches us that maturity comes from being able to discern good and evil, being innocent in the evil and mature in the understanding, and growing into the fullness of maturity of Him who loved us.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that a characteristic of the mature (of full age) is having senses exercised to discern good and evil. Can our hearing discern good and evil? Can our seeing discern good and evil? What standard, whose standard do we use to define good and evil? Ours? No, God's.
Paul tells us, referring to the Christ Jesus, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" (Colossians 1:28). The goal of Paul's preaching, warning, and teaching was to present every one perfect, complete, and mature in Christ Jesus.
John tells us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18). John tells us that fear shows we are not yet mature, perfect, of full age.
James tells us of another characteristic of the mature: "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man,
able also to bridle the
whole body" (James 3:2). When we are able to bridle our tongues, and not offend with our words, we are perfect or mature.
Paul admonishes and assures us, "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you" (Philippians 3:15). He is referring to previous verses where he shares how he pressed on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. That is maturity, and he assures us God is working for our maturity in Christ Jesus.
Finally, James tells us, "But let patience have
perfect work, that ye may be perfect
and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:4). One of patience's works is to mature us. This work comes through trials, James tells us in the previous verse (James 1:3).
We have been looking at Hebrews 5:14 because it teaches us that those who are of full age, mature, perfect, have their senses exercised (
in the Greek from
which we get "gymnasium" to discern both good and evil).
Young people and gray hairs (like me) shows that we have matured when we have gone to the gym with our senses and trained them to discern both good and evil. King David said, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me" (Psalm 101:3). King David knew, better than most, the trouble our eyes can get us into.
It is recorded of Job, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name Job, and that man
perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1).
Why is it important to train our senses? If we will not, our God warns us through Paul:
eyes, and hear with
ears, and understand with
heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
If we refuse to train our senses, they can become very dull and our eyes closed.
May God give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand. Are we going to the gym?
Hebrews teaches us that in order to be mature we must have our senses exercised to discern good and evil. This is the true sign of maturity (full age). Luke shows us that when we don't perceive or understand, we should ask questions. Philippians shows that prayer is necessary for this kind of maturity. Nehemiah teaches us how we are to train our children (and ourselves) to discern good and evil: by reading the Word of God, by giving the sense or explaining it for this gives understanding.
Job said, "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" (Job 31:1). He made a covenant with his eyes. Young people, I have had to train my eyes to look away from the things I should not see. It is easier now. Been to the gym a few times.
Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
understand the reading" (Nehemiah 8:8).
- Acts 28:26-27
- a series compilation
Thayers Greek Definitions.
Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword. [computer software] .