What is the reason that we have for growing stronger daily? In order to grow stronger daily there must be enough motive to accomplish the task, and we should set aside time for this goal. The hope of eternal life is based in the promise that God made before the foundation of the world began. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). Many believe they are going to heaven, but why? What evidence do they have? How can they be sure?
“God commands us to have a reason for our hope. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
What are the reasons the Lord gives us for our hope? God makes many exceeding great and precious promises to his children, which give us one reason for our hope.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Our hope is fully based in the promises of God. Hope is the basis of our salvation.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Romans 8:24-25).
In order to grow stronger every day we must have a good reason for growing. Our hope is not limited to eternal life. We also have hope of having the same faith that Abraham had. Note these were not just to Jews. Abraham spoke to his prophets before the Jewish nation was formed. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16). The key to Abraham’s faith was that he believed in hope against hope.
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be (Romans 4:17-18).
Note the reason for Abraham’s hope; he hoped to become the father of many nations. Abraham had a very great motive for his great faith. Abraham’s hope was based in the promise of God. “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:21-22).
We can also have Abraham’s faith if we have the same faith in all of the promises of God. “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:23-24). God responds well to those who have great faith.
God gave Abraham another very great motive to grow stronger. Why would this be a strong enough motive for Abraham to live only for God? “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). God swore to make the promises more secure to Abraham. “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee” (Hebrews 6:13-14).
God gave Abraham yet another promise of an eternal city, which was another motive for growing. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).
How did Abraham respond to the covenant God made with him? Abraham’s part of the covenant required him to convert his household to obey all the commands of God. What reasons do we have for our hope?
And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (Genesis 18:17-19).
We find the same reason for Moses’ hope.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward (Hebrews 11:24-26).
Jesus also had a strong motive for growing stronger every day. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). His reason was to please the Father. He had to obey to fulfill his part of the covenant.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:16-17).
Jesus had to grow stronger daily like his brethren. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus learned to obey his parents. “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart” (Luke 2:51). Why should he obey all the commands?
Jesus learned to suffer wrongfully to do what was right. When did Jesus do anything for which he deserved to suffer?
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:18-21).
Did Jesus have a motive for obeying the commandments of God? “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Both Abraham and Jesus had a strong motive for growing daily. “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Romans 4:13). The promise of inheriting the world could not refer to this physical world. “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child” (Acts 7:5).
The only other world God could have promised would have been the New World.
We know the seed mentioned in Romans 4:13 is Christ. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).
God promised Abraham that he would inherit the world, but he promised Jesus that he would inherit everything. “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).
What joy was set before Christ?
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).
He describes the joy that was set before Jesus in yet another way. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
Jesus learned to grow daily because he had a great motive. We are commanded to follow in Jesus steps. We have an even greater motive for growing daily. Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (Strong’s # 3100), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).
NT:3100 maqhteu/ matheteuo (math-ayt-yoo’-o); from NT:3101; intransitively, to become a pupil; transitively, to disciple, i.e. enrol as scholar: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.) In Luke 6:40, Jesus gives his definition of the word matheteuo. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40). Again Jesus gave purpose for making disciples.
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25).
Does God have a singular purpose for this world? “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Again, does God have a singular purpose for this world? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God clearly states his purpose in the next verse. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:16-17).
Once more he tells us how he wants us to grow. “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
What was the purpose of God giving all of these teachers in the New Testament?
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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 fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Is this not the purpose of making disciples? “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40). He tells us how we can have the perfect love of Christ. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
What happens when the disciple observes all the questions commanded him? “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him? (1 John 2:5).
Why does the Lord direct his children to learn to love each other? “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (1 Peter 1:22). If we grow strong in our love for each other God’s love is perfected in us. “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). The next verse shows us how to get that divine love. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Love is unseen and therefore eternal.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
We see the heart of the rich man while he was on earth. “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores” (Luke 16:19-20) We see the kind of heart he had toward Lazarus. “And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores” (Luke 16:21).
He had the same heart when he woke up in hades.
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame (Luke 16:23-24).
He had the same memory that he did while he was on earth. “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25). He had the same love for his brothers. “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment (Luke 16:27-28).
We see that Abraham had the same faith in paradise he had on earth. “And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:30-31). What we are when we die we are in eternity. Why then does God want us to be in the image of Christ? He is offering us his divine nature
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: coming in will ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:3-4).
God is offering us his fullness.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).
What greater reason could we have growing stronger daily in the image of Christ?
Christ formed in our hearts is the divine nature and is the hope of glory. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Someone responds, “This is a good idea!”
Fellow Christians, is this a good idea or is this the great commission? Go make disciples, baptize them, then teach them to observe all I have commanded. Is the great commission an option? Can we be saved if we do not obey the great commission? Can we be saved if we don’t obey so great a salvation? “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Now the next question: How do we grow in the image of Christ?