And The Child Grew and Waxed Strong in Spirit – Part 1


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And the Child Grew, and Waxed Strong In Spirit – Part 1

Just How Much “As He Is So Are We In This World” Are We?

Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Introduction

Our Heavenly Father took 30 years to prepare our Savior to begin His ministry. I hope, in this study to help you to understand why He is also taking His time and sticking to His schedule in doing His work in your life and in my life.

We all quite often quote:

1Jn 4:17 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.

In this study we will see just how true that statement is, and how being “the seed of Abraham” plays into the words, “as He is, so are we in this world”. The point being made is that our spiritual growth requires patience to the extent that we are told:

Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

The words “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit” appear right after relating to us the events that occurred in the temple at the time of the purification of Christ’s mother, Mary, which was, as we will see, thirty-three days after His circumcision which took place “in the eighth day” of His life in this clay vessel with which we all struggle.

Lev 12:6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
Lev 12:7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.

In other words, this event took place on the fortieth day of the life of a baby boy in this clay vessel with which we all contend and struggle. That is a very pertinent little fact when we understand that ‘forty’ is the Biblical number which symbolizes the time we spend in contending with, and struggling against God in our trials and tribulations of this life.

This is what we are told:

Luk 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Luk 2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Luk 2:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
Luk 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Going on to the very next two verses in Leviticus the casual statement “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” leads us to believe that Jesus’ parents were not particularly well-to-do people of that time. They could not afford a lamb for a burnt offering, so the scriptures provide for those who cannot yet afford that great of an offering:

Here are those next two verses in Leviticus 12:

Lev 12:8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
Lev 12:4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

Christ’s parents were acting in strict accord with the law of Moses concerning the ceremonial cleansing of a woman who has begotten a man child:

Lev 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 12:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
Lev 12:3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

So Christ was circumcised, after His mother’s first seven days of ceremonial uncleanness, “in the eighth day”. “When eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child” means, as verse 3 demonstrates, “in the eighth day the flesh of His foreskin shall be circumcised”. Christ’s circumcision “in the eighth day” signifies that His flesh was indeed “made of a woman, made under the law… the seed of Abraham” via His mother, Mary. This same point was reinforced with His water baptism at the hands of John the Baptist just prior to the beginning of Christ’s ministry at which time He was “no longer under the schoolmaster of the law”.

Here are the words revealing this process in Christ’s life:

Mat 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
Mat 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Mat 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

The “all righteousness” Christ was fulfilling by insisting on being baptized by John, was the same ‘righteousness’ being fulfilled when His parents circumcised Him on the eighth day of His life and the same ‘righteousness’ they were fulfilling by offering two turtledoves on the fortieth day of Mary’s ceremonial purification. In other words, it was all ceremonial righteousness which had absolutely no effect upon the heart, which could be accomplished only by the the baptism “with the holy spirit and with fire” which Christ Himself began to experience at that very moment and which He came to bring to us all.

Luk 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Luk 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luk 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Luk 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Luk 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Luk 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Luk 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Luk 12:53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

These fiery trials are all essential, simply because “as He is so are we in this world” (1Jo 4:17), which is reiterated in these words:

Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 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.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

If, as some erroneously proclaim, Christ had no connection to the sinful flesh and blood of Adam, then it would be a lie to tell us, “…it behooved him to be made like unto his brothers”, when He had nothing in common with the sinful flesh of Adam as all of mankind does. To counter that false doctrine we are specifically told otherwise:

Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir [Christ, Gal 3:29], as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

That is a very clear statement telling us that “God[‘s]… Son… though He [was] Lord of all, [He was] made of a woman, made under the law… differ[ing] nothing from a servant… but [was] under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father”.

But how about Gal 4:3? Is Christ that much “made like unto His brothers”? Was Christ ever “in bondage under the elements of the world”? Or did Christ’s Messiahship exempt Him from being “in bondage under the elements of the world”?

What did Paul have in mind when He told us that Christ, “the heir of all was… in bondage under the elements of the world”? This is not something that is left to our imagination. Paul goes on to tell us exactly what He had in mind when He told us that Christ was “made under the law… in bondage under the elements of the world”.

Here is what Paul tells us He means by “the elements of the world”:

Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [Greek: uihothesia]
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

As more mature sons, which is the meaning of ‘uihothesia‘, we are “redeemed [from] under the law”. We are no longer “under the schoolmaster… tutors and governors”. (Gal 4:2). So what is it like to be under “tutors and governors”?

Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

All the law of Moses was ever intended to do was to keep the “law of sin… in [our] members” (Rom 7:17-23) contained and restrained with the penalties of the law. It was never intended or designed to change hearts and minds from within.

As King David made clear being “made of a woman” means we are one and all, Christ Himself included while in a body of flesh and blood, “shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin” (Psa 51:4). In other words we are still the servants of the law of sin that is in our members (Rom 7:17-23). What then is the advantage of coming out from under the schoolmaster, the law of Moses?

Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God [while under the law], ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. [The law of Moses]

Is service to the law of Moses “service unto them which by nature are no gods”? Is obedience to the law of Moses sufficient to bring life to those who are faithful to that law, or is that law no better at giving life to its adherents than the laws of the Gentiles? What is the scriptural answer to these questions? Is the law of Moses the Truth that brings life or is the only law that brings life ‘the law of Christ’?

Here is what the scriptures say in answer to those questions:

Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter [of the law of Moses] killeth, but the spirit [the words and law of Christ, Joh 6:63 and Gal 6:2] giveth life.

If “truth came by Jesus Christ”, what then, is the keeping the law of Moses? This question is answered in the very next verse:

2Co 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones [the ten commandments], was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
2Co 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

The only time we are told that Moses face shined was when he came down from the mount with the ten commandments in his hands.

Exo 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
Exo 34:30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

Remember we are still seeking to know what Paul meant by the phrase “the elements of the world” in verse three:

Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Now Paul tells us which “elements of the world” he specifically had in mind:

Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

There it is for all who are given to receive it. The law of Moses is no more efficacious to life than is the laws of the Gentiles:

Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Rom 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Notice the words ‘even so… ‘, at the beginning of Gal 4:3. Those words are referring to how we are like Christ, the “Lord of all”, of the previous verse. Notice how they accord with the meaning of being “made of a woman, made under the law”, both of which phrases refer to being “made… sin”.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

2Co 5:21 for him who did not know sin, in our behalf He did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him. (YLT)

So yes, Christ was from birth “like unto His brothers… made sin… conceived in sin… in bondage under the elements of the world” and was kept there “differ[ing] nothing from a servant, thought He [was] Lord of all [until] the time appointed of the Father… to redeem them that were under the law”.

Gal 4:3 Even so, we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

It is the point of this study to emphasize the fact that Christ Himself could not begin His ministry until “the fulness of the time was come”. Christ Himself could not begin the ministry His Father sent Him to accomplish, until He had fulfilled all the “righteousness” of the Law of Moses, which the scriptures tell us was not the Truth and was not for a righteous man and was no different than the law of the Gentiles.

Here are the scriptures affirming those statements:

Joh 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven [the Truth]; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. (ALT)

Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (ALT)

Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

That is what Paul was speaking of when He said:

Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God [while under the law], ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods [Moses and the old covenant].

‘Resisting evil, loving your neighbor and hating your enemy, and an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’; these laws of the law of Moses are “the things contained in the law” (Rom 2:14), which are exactly the same as the laws governing those who “having not the law are a law unto themselves”. What the holy spirit is telling us is that there is no difference as far as it affects the hearts and minds of mankind, between those who keep the “by nature”, law of Moses, and the “by nature” laws of the Gentiles. Both “work wrath”, and both produce only death.

Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Co 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

The “Truth came by Jesus Christ”. It did not come by Moses. “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven”. Christ is the Truth, and Moses prophesied of the Truth, and the law had “a shadow of good things to come”, but neither Moses nor any of the Old Testament figures knew Christ, and they did not minister to themselves. They ministered only to us who have been granted to know Christ who is the Truth:

Joh 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Joh 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Joh 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Just like us, Christ had to come to know His Father. He did not know all He had to know about His Father from birth, any more than you or I do. He had to “grow and wax strong in the spirit” before He was prepared to speak His Father’s words and His Father’s doctrine.

Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

It is no one less than Christ Himself who tells us He was of Himself ‘not to be called good’ and that He was not yet perfected:

Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Luk 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

If Christ were “made like unto His brothers… made sin… made under the law… in bondage under the elements of the world” (Heb 2:17; Gal 4:4), how was He delivered from that bondage? Here is the answer to that question:

Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for [Greek: dia – through] our offences, and was raised again for [Greek: dia – through] our justification.

What Rom 4:25 reveals is that “before the world began” God had already decided who would be His firstfruits. Rom 4:25 also reveals that by God the Father’s sovereign decree, it was to be “through [the] offenses” of all offenders that Christ was to be delivered from a body of corruption.

Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

We were indeed “called in Christ before the world began”, or as the Greek reads “before chronos aionios“; before times eonian. It is now obvious that God had all of His children in mind when He created Christ, who was “the beginning of the creation of God”, and through Christ He created the rest of His creation. He had Christ, the first of His firstfruits, in His mind “before the world began”. But He also had Christ’s firstfruits, His elect, through whom He would then bring all the rest of the dead to Himself. God the Father had all of this in his plan “before the world began”.

Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 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:

Conclusion

I hope this first half of our study showing that how God worked in Christ’s life is the same as how He works in our lives, has demonstrated that He works with us, His sons, “in the dispensation of the fulness of times”, meaning on His schedule, just as He worked with His Son, Jesus Christ. In our concluding study on this subject we will come to see the extent to which our heavenly Father emphasizes the virtue of patience in preparing us to be saviors in His kingdom.

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