By Not Known
It is the most wonderful thing to put our trust in Jesus Christ. From our perspective it means forgiveness of all sins, adoption into God’s family, reception of the Holy Spirit and the certainty of heaven. From God’s perspective, it is the moment when He justifies us, ie, an instantaneous legal act by which He 1) regards our sins forgiven and Christ’s righteousness “transferred” or imputed to us and this 2) declares us righteous in His sight. It is made possible only when we put our faith in what Christ has done for us on the Cross. But wonderful as all that is, we must not think of it as a “done deal”. We have an ongoing responsibility to keep growing. Or more correctly to allow the Spirit to sanctify us, to make us like Jesus every day. The apostle Peter says
“.. make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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.” (2 Peter 1.5-8)
What are the implications of this? We rejoice in our salvation which Christ has won for us on the Cross, that we are saved not because of our “good works” which are like filthy rags in God’s sight, and which will never earn salvation for us. But at the same time, we make strenuous efforts to develop Christ-like behaviour and qualities which clearly show that we are not stagnant, nor bound to our sins. In reality we are saved FROM sin, and saved FOR godliness and productive service for our Lord.
In other words after conversion we must not think we have “arrived” – indeed conversion is only the first step of a life-long journey towards maturity. It is not God’s intention for us to remain “born-again babies”. He wants us to grow into spiritual “adulthood” – until we become like His Son Jesus, no less. Paul declares in Colossians1:28 the expected progression:
Step One: proclaiming Christ
Step Two: admonishing and teaching with all wisdom
Step Three: presenting everyone perfect (mature) in Christ.
Producing mature believers requires hard work. Colossians1:29: “… I labour, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works within me.” Paul labours and struggles, and God cooperates by giving His energy, which works powerfully in Paul, and also in us, as we disciple new believers.
Praise God you have been converted. But don’t stop there. Make every effort to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). Knowledge of our Lord must be balanced with gracious behaviour which shows that the Spirit is doing His work of sanctification. After conversion must come sanctification.