Once a baby is born, they have all it takes to live. The baby has all the organs that will support and help them grow. However, they need to be cared for. They need protection, feeding and even training as they adapt to the environment and develop their body organs to be able to survive alone. Such is the life of a newly born again Christian.
The life that we have wrought in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth is contingent on spiritual birth. No wonder Jesus had to make Nicodemus understand that it is not in the knowledge, or the doing of the law that makes you spiritual, but by the birth of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 1 Peter 1:3
Now we that we are born of the Spirit of God, we are newborn babes, and as such, we have all the requirement of spiritual life. Just like the baby born in the flesh, so is the baby born in the Spirit. Since it is God who willed us to be born in Spirit, it is from him that we get all that we need for spiritual life. He causes us to live a life we wouldn’t otherwise live because we were dead. We were his enemies, children of wrath under condemnation.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3
Can we now define what spiritual growth is?
Spiritual growth is growing to be more like Jesus. To love to do what God expects of you, not what the sinful flesh desires.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do Galatians 5:16-17
Therefore spiritual growth is not feeling close to God, going to church or serving in church or other people; it is in the hating of sin and the loving righteousness. You may call it, growing in holiness, growing or becoming more godly, walking in the spirit, or being perfect as God is perfect. It is becoming less like the first Adam and more like the second Adam- Jesus Christ. It is being transformed from our old sinful self, the one we received from Adam to the perfect, sinless image of Christ Jesus. Notice, it is a transforming –continues present tense; it is a process (Romans 8:29).
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. – 1Corinthians 15:49
Jesus is the object of the spiritual life, the direction we are heading in our spiritual life, or the bullseye we are aiming at. No wonder in the Old Testament, sin is translated to missing the mark. (Numbers 15:13)
Now we know that God initiates the spiritual life of a person. does He leaves it at that? If so, he would be like a mother who gives birth to a beautiful baby that exactly looks like her, and abandon her baby. Can that be said about God? Is God an irresponsible father? Is he someone who quits on whatever he does? Is there a thing that he has ever begun doing and didn’t completed, and not just finished, but completed perfectly? Certainly not! He began the work in us, and therefore he should, by all means, complete it. “Your view of God determines your spiritual walk”- John MacArthur.
“Your view of God is really the benchmark of your spiritual maturity. Understanding the nature of God is critical to spiritual maturity because in the end you rest in the reality of your God. Superficial knowledge of God, a shallow knowledge of God, a limited knowledge of God contributes to limited understanding and limited faith and limited trust.” – John McArthur
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phil.1:6
God has provided us with all we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He has promised that he will keep us from falling and present us to his glorious presence with exceeding joy ( Jude 24). He is transforming us from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). Does he not keep his word?
How did God do keep and grows us? He did this by offering Christ as a sacrifice. So that by that one sacrifice he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). He has promised that he will be with us to the end of time (Matt 28:20). He will never leave nor, forsake us (Heb 13:5).
God has done his part. He has given us the spiritual life in the power of the Holy Spirit by grace we have been saved, through faith in Jesus Christ, as a gift so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8). He is still doing it. He has created us a new creation, and the old has gone. The new has come so that we can be workmen together with Christ in good works.
Be of courage, dear Christian and believe in God. He has saved you. If you are not a Christian, receive Jesus by believing in him today, and you will be saved. Therefore, we are to respond to the transformational work of God. We look at that in the next article.
TO BE CONTINUED…