God Empowers Believers to Grow in the Christ-life
The Bible states that the gift of salvation (forgiveness of sins and the granting of eternal life) is accomplished for every believer through the gracious and merciful love of God (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Ephesians 2:4-9, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
God the Father’s grace, mercy, and love are linked to the work of the Holy Spirit and that of Jesus Christ in providing salvation to those who are spiritually helpless and in need of divine rescue (Titus 3:4-7).
Titus 3:4-7, But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The above verses state that salvation is a result of divine intervention by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Thus, biblically authentic salvation is not related in any way to human efforts that supposedly qualify one to be accepted by God.
2 Corinthians 3:5, Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God
Eternal salvation provides redemption for the undeserving and cannot be birthed or maintained by natural means. Instead, authentic salvation begins and is eventually brought to its eternal conclusion through the power and sovereignty of Almighty God.
John 1:12-13, But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (insert added)
John 6:37-40 (spoken by Jesus), “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (insert added)
Romans 8:29-30, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Galatians 3:1-3, You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James 1:16-18, Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
1 Peter 1:1-5, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 5:10-11, After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Even though every person is spiritually helpless before coming to Christ, these same people are miraculously and divinely transformed into new creations after receiving salvation.
Romans 6:4-6, Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.
2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
In the spiritual dimension, a new creation in Christ is initially a “babe in Christ” with the opportunity to grow in the Christ-life through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word. As a result, believers (new creations) can be overcomers with regard to sin and other challenges of life as they die to self and depend on God.
Luke 9:23, And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (insert added)
2 Corinthians 4:7-11, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
1 Peter 2:1-3, Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Along with divine protection and having one’s eternal destiny assured, every believer is equipped and empowered by God to accomplish His will which includes good works that bring glory to His Name.
Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Philippians 2:12-13, So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Titus 3:8, This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
Hebrews 13:20-21, Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
2 Peter 1:2-8, Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A believer’s Christ-honoring obedience to Scripture is not a result of increased self-effort but is, instead, a thankful response for the unmerited love of Jesus Christ which He demonstrated by His life, death, and resurrection.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
No person has the inherent ability to come to Christ through natural wisdom, and no one can mature in Christ through natural understanding or power. Salvation begins, is sustained, and is brought to its eternal consummation by God’s loving sovereignty and unfathomable power, all of which are beyond human comprehension.
As a new creation in Christ, every believer has the potential to grow in the Christ-life. This divinely ordained possibility will not be realized, however, through one’s natural abilities or a reliance on worldly wisdom such as humanistic philosophy or secular psychology. Instead, believers grow in the Christ-life as they realize the divine power and total sufficiency of the Godhead (see referenced articles below) and respond by faithfully obeying God’s Word with gratitude for the unmerited privilege of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- For further study and edification, see . . .
- Your Way or God’s Way…Your Choice
- Jesus – Who is He?
- Spiritual Realities Before and After Receiving Christ
- Your Identity in Christ
- Jesus IS Lord
- God’s Attributes
- Holy Spirit – The Divine Developer
- Divine Sufficiency or Divine Deficiency
- What Do You Believe?…No, Really
- Is Jesus Lord of Your Life?
- This is the Gospel – The Good News
- The Cross of Christ
- Christ Crucified: The Solution to Self-Dependency
- It’s All About Jesus
- Knowing Jesus or Just Knowing About Jesus
- Lasting Peace Comes Only Through Jesus
- Living for yourSELF or your SAVIOR
God Empowers Believers to Grow in the Christ-Life © 2016 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
All Scripture is quoted from New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA. All rights reserved.