2 Peter 3:18
The Christian life, like the physical life, begins with a birth. When we accept Christ as our Saviour, we are “born again.” John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” In John 3 we read how Nicodemus learned about the new birth.
What differentiates the Gospel of Jesus Christ from religion? Religion is man’s effort to reach up to God. The Gospel of salvation is God coming down to man and making him a new creation.
Once the new birth takes place, one must grow in grace. What does this mean? It’s not a matter of becoming “more saved” than at the moment of conversion. It doesn’t mean we’re more pardoned or more justified.
Growing in grace means there is an increase in the degree, size, strength, vigour and power of the grace that the Holy Spirit brings into the believer’s heart. But what is the evidence of this growth?
The first sign is an increase of love toward others. In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 we read, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” We are also told: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
The second sign is an increase of faith. “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
The third evidence of growing in grace is an increase of knowledge of God. “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)
What did you see in Christ when you first accepted Him? And now? Do you know more about God now than when you were saved?
The fourth sign of spiritual growth is a greater desire for holiness. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)
What are some things through which God helps us grow in grace? He uses His Word (1 Peter 2:2), our troubles (Romans 5), our quiet time with Him, worship services, fellowship with other believers, etc.
Just as we expect a baby to grow up and mature, a tree to grow and be fruitful, an investment to mature and bring profit… so must we as Christians grow, mature and bear fruit!
Are you growing in grace? If not, why not?
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian