Growing In Christ
Why We Need and How To Grow In Christ
…that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15 ESV).
Growth is a sign of life and health. As a father and mother rejoice to see their children grow in stature and maturity so our Father in heaven rejoices to see His children grow to be like His Son, Jesus in nature and conduct. But if we are a Christian, do we need to grow, how can we and what evidence should there be to show we are ‘growing in Christ’?
We may even ask ‘What does it mean to be saved, why do I need to be saved and why does God want to save us?’ ‘Why can’t God forgive and save everyone?’
I hope that here these questions will be addressed and show that God’s amazing and gracious salvation in Christ goes much further than to forgive our sins and give us a right to enter His eternal kingdom. It is God’s intention for us that we not remain as children but grow into maturity by the power of His Spirit. That we grow and mature is essential lest we be, as Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says, ‘tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes’.
The goal of growth is that ‘we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13).
In writing this I have two main concerns: – a faith that is insufficiently founded on God’s word as revealed in the Scriptures and worldliness – love for this world and the things of this world rather than the kingdom of God. In the parable of the sower Jesus told His disciples that these both present great spiritual dangers, which, if not addressed will cause us to be susceptible to deception and unequipped to face the trials of this life, so hindering or even preventing our growth and bearing the fruit of Christ’s spirit in us.
I also have a deep concern of the popular idea that all we need is faith. This is a serious misconception as the Bible teaches us we also need to practice holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Holiness is a word less used these days but simply means to separate ourselves from the ways of sin and of this world. It is the evidence of a soul who has been saved and transformed by the power of God, through repentance and faith. Salvation means far more than to be forgiven our sins and be given the right to have eternal life with God. Salvation in Christ brings not only forgiveness but a new life – Christ in us – with the power to overcome sin, live a holy life for Him and know peace and joy now.
Scripture warns us it is possible to neglect the tremendous salvation we have in Christ with tragic eternal consequences (Hebrews 2:3). The good news is that through salvation in Christ God has also given us, by His grace, the power and strength we need to grow in Him and become a holy people, not only to ensure our entrance into His eternal kingdom but also that we be light and salt in this world to His praise and glory.
Salvation Saved From and Saved For
Exodus: God’s example of salvation
Salvation: What God does
Salvation: Our response
Faith needs to continue
Faithful to Jesus
Faith will be tested
Examples of faith and obedience
The Cross – the End and the Beginning
The significance of the Cross, Christ’s death and resurrection in the salvation and the life of every believer
Living As God’s People
The fear of God
The character of God’s people – the Beatitudes
We are to deny self
We are to be led by the Holy Spirit
We are to be the salt of the earth and light in the world
We are to bear the fruit of righteousness
We are to forgive those who sin against us
We are to love – the greatest commandment
We are the body of Christ, a holy temple
We are to remain in Christ
We are to be a people of who know God’s peace and joy
The Spiritual Battle, Warnings and God’s Discipline
The Spiritual Battle: the world, the flesh and Satan
Warnings About Departing from God
God disciplines His people
Building On the Rock of Scripture
The parable of the house built on the rock
The parable of the sower
Warnings from the book of Hebrews
I would like to thank Derek Stancombe, David Fleming and John Staer for their encouragement, constructive criticism and invaluable comments.
Unless otherwise indicated Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission (www.Lockman.org).
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved