To Grow or Not To Grow

Spiritual growth is natural to all true believers! Think about that statement carefully before reading further. Do you truly believe this statement? Are there exceptions? I mean, can someone be saved without ever growing spiritually?

I do believe spiritual growth is natural to all true believers. This is evident for the following reasons: First, God promises that He will cause His children to grow. "The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God" —Psalm 92:12-13. God's promises are true, and He is faithful to perform them. Second, it is the very nature of the spiritual life to grow. Wherever the principle of life is found, everything that is alive grows. As natural as it is for a tree to grow, so it is for the children of God to grow. Thirdly, the growth of His children is the goal and objective of God. Furthermore, He provides them with the necessary means of grace to grow: His Spirit, His Word, and His Church. Fourthly, it is a duty to which God's children are continually exhorted throughout His Word. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." —2 Peter 3:18.

Fifthly, the difference in the condition of believers conveys their spiritual growth. "I write unto you, fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning. I write to you young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you little children, because you have known the Father" —1 John 2:13. Thus, from this, we learn there are fathers, young men, and little children in different stages of spiritual development in the church.

What about those who do not manifest any growth at all? Are they true believers? The only exceptions I see are those who are saved at the moment of death. But for the most part, they are not! The unconverted need to be made aware of this lest they continue to stumble toward the slaughter.

Those who grow spiritually are the truly regenerate. Why, because spiritual growth is the evidence of God's sovereign work of grace in a person's life. It is God who preserves the spiritual life in them and causes them to grow. Thus, no growth, no God and when there is no God, there is no life. Let me be emphatically clear; all true believers grow without exception. Take note of what God's word says about regeneration in Ezekiel 36:25-27. "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." The antagonist will say "that's the Old Testament," and they are correct, but the New Testament affirms it. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come" —2 Corinthians 5:17.

However, not all believers grow at the same rate. For example, some grow rapidly. They grow by the day so that it is obvious to all who know them. Others grow slowly. They do grow somewhat but do not make much progress. This can be the result of not having the opportunity to converse with other believers, or they do not avail themselves of such opportunities, or they are lazy in reading God's Word and in prayer. Typically, they are characterized by ups and downs. They lift their heads to the heights for a moment only to find themselves cast down to despondency once again. But no matter how small, they still grow. Some progress steadily. They are those who—from children become young men, then become men and ultimately become fathers in Christ. The point is that God grants to all His children a measure of growth. Some more and some less, but they all grow.

Examine yourself in light of this truth. Are you growing or not growing? Don't try to flatter yourself at this point, be honest. But on the other side, do not deny your growth. For if there is growth, there is evidence of God's grace at work in your life. But if there is no growth then submit your will entirely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

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