As we saw last week, not only is our physical life marked by transitions, but so is our spiritual life. The most important transition of our spiritual life – the one that affects our eternal destiny – is from death in sin to being born again (John 3:3-8) to abundant new life and spiritual growth.
Before we place our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:14; John 14:6), we are children of the devil (1 John 3:10), condemned to eternal death in hell (John 3:18), and enemies of God (Romans 5:10; James 4:4). But if we accept Christ, miraculous transitions occur instantaneously through the power of the Holy Spirit. We become sons of God (1 John 3:1-2), destined for eternal life in Heaven (Romans 5:17,21), and friends of God enjoying fellowship with Him! (1 Corinthians 1:9)
The Spirit of God, Who enters every believer at the moment of salvation, teaches us that God the Father has adopted us, so we are children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:6-7). God freely and richly gives His children all His love (1 John 4:7-12), riches (Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19) and wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5). Yet we fail to use these good gifts (1 Corinthians 2:12; James 1:17) completely because our old sin nature wars against the Spirit.
The indwelling Holy Spirit gives believers continual access to Christ, the Living Water, so that we will never thirst again! (John 4:13-14) As we grow in His grace by studying Scripture, our spiritual diet should begin with the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes in Christ learning the basic truths of salvation (1 Peter 2:2). As we advance to the meat of the Word by assimilating more difficult doctrinal concepts (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12), we can taste as well as see and trust that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8)
The apostle Paul tells believers that we are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11). The three-step process of spiritual growth includes positional justification, as the righteousness of Christ is credited to our account and God sees us “just as if” we had never sinned. Through progressive sanctification, God allows trials to strengthen our faith (Romans 8:28) and make us more like His Son (Philippians 3:10). Finally we will undergo glorification, in which at the Rapture we are forever free of sin, in perfect bodies that remain forever young, healthy, and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:40-57).
Justification, through which God sees sinners as righteous, occurs by the blood of Christ, by God’s grace, and by our faith (Romans 3:23-25,28; 5:9; Galatians 2:16). This transition occurs at the moment we realize we are sinners in need of a Savior, repent or turn away from our sins, and place our faith in Christ alone, asking Him to be Lord of our life (Romans 3:10-28; 10:13; Acts 2:21 ).
Sanctification, the process by which believers become more holy, set apart from the world, and Christ-like, involves Jesus Christ sanctifying Himself (John 17:19), God the Father sanctifying believers through His truth (John 17:17), and Christ sanctifying the church, or cleansing it with the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Only God can sanctify, and only through the power of His Spirit we can live as Christians should. Through Him we can prove all things; hold fast that which is good, and abstain from all appearance of evil, and only through Him can our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless until Christ returns (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23).
Without being justified we cannot be saved; throughout our Christian walk we are sanctified; and ultimately we will be instantaneously glorified! At the moment of Christ’s return for His saints (bride, church), we shall be caught up in the air in the Rapture to live with Him forever. We shall see Him face-to-face in all His glory; we shall know Him completely; and we shall be like Him! (Philippians 3:21;1 John 3:2)
© 2014 Laurie Collett
yes there is a process of growth in the believer, and it is very good to emphasize this. We are to mature in Christ and just as we need food for our carnal growth, we need food for our spiritual growth. I love the way it is pointed out to us not to just be hearers of the word but doers of the word. Not to be doers of the word would be like looking at our food on the table but not eating it. Good post on growth.
God bless you
I remember my first years after convertion - it took one and half year, before I understood my mistakes. During this time, I was reading Bible and praying. Because of my personal problems and better knowledge about Biblical teaching, I couldn't stay longer in my former denomination, so during this time I was alone - later I came to my present church.
Today I also make mistakes, I also have my weak points - but I believe in God's grace.
Greetings from gray south Poland - have a blessed week!
Thank you for the lovely post and encouraging inspiration, Laurie!
Thanks for such a wonderful truth about our salvation.
Another way of expressing our threefold redemption is:
We are saved, we are being saved, and we shall be saved - referring to the spirit, our souls and our bodies respectively.
As one who grew up in the Catholic faith, I once believed that sanctification was "to get saved" instead of the result of already saved.
It took me many years as a true believer for me to grow out of this belief. Therefore articles such as yours are always encouraging.
Good teaching from the Word. Thank you for sharing!
Amen, Brenda -- we must not only hear the Word, but do what it says. We are not saved just to get out of hell, but to grow in His grace and to accomplish His purpose in our lives. Thank you for your encouragement & God bless,
Hi Zim, Thank you for sharing your story. When I was saved, we were members of a church but we only went at Christmas & Easter. Then we started attending regularly and realized it was not a place where we were being fed enough from God's Word to grow in His grace. So we left and found the church where we served for 13 years before leaving last year to our new church ministry.
We all make mistakes, but praise God for His grace!
Blessings and greetings to you,
Thanks, Connie! May you have a blessed week in Him!
I love that -- "We are saved, we are being saved, and we shall be saved - referring to the spirit, our souls and our bodies respectively." It is sad that many faiths (all but evangelical, Bible-based Christians) teach that you have to work your own way to sanctification before you can be saved.
I'm blessed to hear that you found the post encouraging, and I am always encouraged by your comments!
Thanks, Kym, for your sweet comment! May you have a blessed week in Him!
Hi Laurie! I wrote down all the passages about being an heir and the gifts The Lord gives. I have been meditating on how we are the Children of God, so these will help me.
The Spirit does call us to be his, and it's always up to me to answer the call. Not always easy, but it is what my inheritance is. It's who I truly am.
I am at a new blog home. I'm now at www.ceilryan.com
It was a big jump, but I am hoping that I will love it!
Have a wonderful Tuesday :)
Hi Ceil! I'm so glad this post was helpful to you in your study -- being an heir and the gifts is an interesting topic! May we be Spirit-led and act as His children in all we do.
I'm going to check out your new blog home now -- best wishes for that!
I enjoy stopping by here...I feel like I've been in Bible study whenever I visit your blog my friend! Thanks for taking the time to give us insight into His Word! Have a blessed week! :-)
Hi again Laurie,
I just realized what you meant in your comment on my blog about 'puzzle pieces'. As I read through the comments on my post I saw my mention of the jig saw in an answer I made to one of your comments. Old age and memory and a very full mind to blame eh?
Thanks so much, Michell! It is a blessing to me to hear that you are enjoying His Word and that this blog might help you study it! May you have a blessed week in Him!
I'm with you on that -- it's tough to remember what I'm doing from one minute to the next! May you and your ministry be richly blessed!
You are exactly right Laurie about dying to sin being one of the most important transitions to our spiritual growth. In fact we really cant grow without it. Once we realize that it is all about Jesus and that we must lay down our lives to follow Him. Then we really start to grow in the Lord. We just have to let go and trust Him. Amen and God bless you. I am now following your post as well. http://www.jesuscoffeebreak.com/what-will-it-cost-you-for-jesus-christ/
Thanks so much, Norman, for sharing your insights & for following! May we be like Paul & die daily to sin and to self so we can grow in Him!
Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
Thanks, Debi & Charly, for your comment & for hosting, & God bless!
Beautiful post, full of truth. Thank you for all the scripture references - I may have to mark this to point folks to, as it's a great plan of salvation post. Thanks for linking up with Christian Fellowship Friday!
I am really blessed by your comment! It is always my prayer to direct readers to the plan of Salvation and to His Word. Thanks so much for your encouragement and for hosting, and may you have a blessed week in Him!
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