When conversion takes place, spiritual growth begins. The Holy Spirit starts the process of transforming God’s children who have faith in Jesus to reflect His image in their lives. The Holy Spirit lives in them (John 14:16-17) and they become new creatures in God (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old nature starts to be changed into Christ-like nature (Romans 6-7). The apostle Peter describes the process of growth in the following passage:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”2 Peter 1:3-8
Peter states that by God’s power, we have everything we need to live lives of godliness, which is the goal of spiritual growth. And this comes “through our knowledge of Him.” This is how we obtain everything we need. And our knowledge of Him comes from the Scriptures that edifies us in the process of growing in the spirit. Thankfully, Christ gives us gifts to enable us to reach the standards of godliness. The victorious life cannot be lived without these gifts; so it befits us to receive them and use them.
Relationship With God
Spiritual growth is a lifelong process that takes place when we connect ourselves to God by the daily study of His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means daily communion with Him and living His life (Galatians 2:20). Occasional focus on the Scriptures is not enough.
It is not possible for one branch to rely upon another for its life; each must keep its own personal relationship to the vine. And each member must bear its own fruit. The Lord adds, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
It is not possible for a person in his own strength to overcome sin and produce the fruits of holiness. For “The carnal mind … is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Wherever people think they can save themselves by their own works they fail. Salvation is conditional upon abiding in Christ until the end.
The disconnected believer “is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6). This believer may have on a form of godliness, but its true power is missing (2 Timothy 3:5). For in temptation, the shallowness of his faith is exposed (Matthew 10:28; 13:38–40; 25:41, 46).
In His service,