Maturity in the Christian faith does not necessarily mean more knowledge, although mature Christians have learned a lot from their studies of the Scriptures and from other mature Christians. They are able to engage in healthy discussions and have healthy interactions with others. They can also give a reasonable defense of the Christian faith or further advance it to both skeptics and seekers.

But more than knowledge, mature Christians are also men and women of wisdom and character. In their lives and ministries, they reflect the image and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their love for God is evident in their devotion to the church and the kingdom of God.

They are more loving toward others as well. They are more sympathetic with those who are weak and struggling, kind-hearted to the hurting, and understanding to the ignorant. They don’t condone sin in others, but with firmness and compassion, they confront and correct both erring saints and habitual sinners.

Mature and wise parents, knowing their God-given calling, use their authority to train and discipline their children in the ways of the Lord rather than provoking them to anger or tolerating their children’s foolishness. They are able to focus on the heart-matters and to overlook petty things in their children’s lives.

Mature leaders and office-bearers in the church use their office to help bring the Lord’s flock toward godly character, setting to the flock a good example of obedience and faithfulness to Christ, leading and guiding them as good and gentle shepherds.

Mature and wise Christians are also forgiving. They are more forbearing and patient. They grant more freedom and room for others to grow and mature through their mistakes. While many of them are smart and intelligent people they are not show-offs. Rather, they are able to use their knowledge and skills to build up others, sometimes better than themselves in certain areas. Aquila and Priscilla were like this to Apollos (Acts 18:24-28).

Mature believers are responsible people, too. Unlike immature ones who tend to control and manipulate others around them to get what they want, these experienced Christians are able to admit their mistakes. They are humble enough to ask for forgiveness from those whom they have offended and hurt. They are well-aware that in this life one may grow more and more into Christlikeness, yet at the same time one is still within the reach of his sin that can easily deceive and entice him to yield to it.

In that case, mature believers are the most realistic people in this world when it comes to the practice of the Christian faith. They are the most grateful, too. While they acknowledge their sin and lack of consistency in their Christian walk, they are also overwhelmed by the amazing grace of God. They know that in Christ God grants them pardon from sin, covers their sin, cleanses them from sin, and gives them the ability to put sin to death in their lives.

Portrait of a Mature Believer

Vic Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.

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