Some think spiritual growth is a long tedious journey or endless religious rules and obligations that ultimately lead to salvation and spiritual change. As if when you became a Christian God threw a lump of clay on the inside of you and started His work to make you a “better person” on the inside.
Actually, the Bible teaches the exact opposite, it teaches that the moment you believed in Jesus you were; (1) Saved- Ephesians 2:8, (2) Created brand new- 2 Corinthians 5:17, (3) Made God’s masterpiece- Ephesians 2:10, (4) Spiritually perfected- Hebrews 10:14, (5) Given a new heart and spirit- Ezekiel 36:26-27 and (6) Purified in your soul- 1 Peter 1:22.
Therefore, spiritual growth is learning to live according to your new holy and perfect nature, knowing your identity in Jesus as righteous and acting like it, and truly being transformed in your actions because you have been completely sanctified and set apart from sin!
2 Peter 1:1-11, “1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
SEVEN THINGS NEEDED TO ADD TO FAITH
- Mutual Affection (brotherly love)
SPIRITUAL GROWTH AS EASY AS 1-2-3!
- Believe Jesus is who He said He is! 2 Peter 1:1-2, “Our God and Savior.”
- Believe you are who Jesus said you are! 2 Peter 1:3-4, “Partaker in the Divine Nature.”
- Believe you can do what Jesus said you can do! 2 Peter 1:5-11, “Increase in the Seven Attributes of Faith (Goodness, Knowledge, etc.) and Never Stumble.”
THREE FOUNDATIONS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
(1) YOUR SPIRITUAL NATURE IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR SPIRITUAL MATURITY
- Example: Just like how my son Lucas was born as a human baby and must grow up and mature to be a man, we must grow up from spiritual babies to mature disciples.
- 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
- Hebrews 5:12-14, “12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
(2) YOUR SPIRITUAL IDENTITY IS DIFFERENT THAN YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
- Example: Just like how Jesus was born perfect and yet had to grow in wisdom (application of knowledge) and physical stature, so must we as new creations grow in our wisdom (i.e., “how we live”).
- Luke 2:52, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
(3) YOUR SANCTIFICATION IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR TRANSFORMATION
- Sanctification is always used to show an instantaneous change of nature and position that happened at salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11), however, transformation always renews and upgrades the purified soul (1 Peter 1:22 & Romans 12:1-2).
- Example: Imagine going from an old Motorola phone to getting a new iPhone with IOS 1.0 (“iPhone Operating System”), you don’t have your old phone anymore with its old operating system, you have a brand new Apple phone with it’s new system. Yet Apple can continually upgrade your system for new and improved performances. The is true with us when we are saved, sanctified and made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), we are given a new and perfect nature, yet God can continually upgrade us (by practically imparting the things we were already given at salvation, Eph. 1:3) from “glory to glory” (not “glory to gory” or from “sinner to saint back to sinner”) so we can do all that He called us to do.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
- Colossians 3:9-11, “9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Spiritual growth is all about “knowing God intimately” and “growing practically” to live holy and godly lives because we were born again to grow!