Genesis 47:8, 9
And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of the my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Once, seeing an old man―I suppose he must have been seventy or eighty years of age―I asked him how old he was. He looked at me for a time, and faltered in his voice, the tears trickling down his cheeks, and says he, “I am two years old.”
“Two years old?” says I.
“Ah, sir,” says he, “till a little time ago I lived the life of a dead man; and I never knew what life was till I met the life which is ‘hid in Christ in God.’”
Oh, it is a glorious truth; we have a life in God.
RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): There are several stages in Christians.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There are degrees amongst true believers―all have not the same degree of grace, though all have the same grace for kind, and though all be in the same covenant; there are old men, or fathers, young men, and little children or babes, I John 2:12, 13.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): There is a difference in age, growth, and experience―some are babes, and some grown in years, in Christianity.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The first thing that we have to realize is that we all start as children in this Christian life. We are all born again, born anew, we start as babes, as infants. It doesn’t matter what we were before. The greatest intellect in the world when he becomes a Christian starts as a babe, and all his knowledge, and all his learning in other realms is really of no value to him directly in this life. Not that it means that God doesn’t use these gifts later―He does―but a man has to start at the beginning, he starts as a babe. And that is why he needs instruction and teaching just as everybody else needs it. We must realize that we are children.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Receptiveness is a characteristic of the new heart; the new-born babe desires the sincere milk of the word, that it may grow thereby.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): I fell into the snare, into which so many young believers fall, the reading of religious books in preference to the Scriptures―and thus, like many believers, I practically preferred, for the first four years of my [converted] life, the works of uninspired men to the oracles of the living God. The consequence was, that I remained a babe, both in knowledge and grace.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Search the Scriptures with an humble childlike disposition. For whosoever does not read them with this temper, shall in no wise enter into the knowledge of the things contained in them. For God hides the sense of them from those that are wise and prudent in their own eyes, and reveals them only to babes in Christ; who think they know nothing yet as they ought to know; who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and humbly desire to be fed with the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Regenerate persons are not at their full growth at once; they are first children, then young men, and then fathers in Christ.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now, it is, I say, essential to our growth that we realize these things about ourselves, because if we don’t we’ll never learn, and we will remain children. And it’s tragic! There is nothing I know of that is more tragic than to see Christian people who remain exactly where they always were. They end as children―they end where they began. They thought they’d got everything at the beginning; they’ve never grown. They are spiritual children throughout their lives. And it’s a tragedy! There’s no greater tragedy. They don’t seem ever to have understood the teaching of all these New Testament epistles, the purpose of which is, every one of them, to help us grow.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): There is nothing more distressing in our day than the want of growth among the children of God. They do not seem to press forward, they do not seem to be running a race.
VERNON J. CHARLESWORTH (1839-1915): Once, entering the house of one of his congregation, Rowland Hill saw a child on a rocking-horse. “Dear me,” exclaimed the aged minister, “how wondrously like some Christians! there is motion, but no progress.” The rocking-horse type of spiritual life is still characteristic of too many Church members in the present day. “Grow in grace” is an exhortation but little regarded.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): They who would grow in grace must be inquisitive.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The intellectual lethargy of many Christians today is undoubtedly their greatest sin.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Who desires to be forever a babe in grace, with a half-awakened dreamy twilight consciousness of the Redeemer?
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): We are not to stand at a stay, but grow to maturity.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: It seems obvious, doesn’t it? And yet, this is the thing that we are always forgetting. That we henceforth be no more children, Ephesians 4:14; no longer children―we start as children.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): We Christians are miserable indeed if we grow old in making no improvement.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: I am persuaded that nothing is thriving in my soul unless it is growing.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): When we stop growing, we stop living and start existing.
C. H. SPURGEON: Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall-fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace, and in the knowledge of thy Lord and Saviour.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Communion with Christ is the privilege of those who are continually striving to grow in grace, and faith, and knowledge, and conformity to the mind of Christ in all things,—who do not “look to the things behind,” and “count not themselves to have attained,” but “press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:13 & 14.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): How much soever any man has attained, or in how high a degree soever he is perfect, he hath still need to “grow in grace,” and daily to advance in the knowledge and love of God his Saviour.
OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): “How old art thou?” A solemn question to ask ourselves. How old are you in nature? How old in grace?