Saturday, January 18, 2014
Transitions: Triplets of Change for Children of God
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