Did you know that the grace that saves us is the same grace that sanctifies us? God’s ultimate goal in your life is to conform you to the image of His beloved Son, so to stay like you were when you were saved is simply not possible. In the Kingdom of God there are no stunted saints or dwarfed disciples. Every child of God is in the process of growing up into Christ. To be sure, some grow faster than others, but we all must grow.
Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and thereby every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Here we have a wonderful promise of guaranteed growth. We start our Christian pilgrimage as infants—babes in Christ. But God does not leave us there! He gives us all the spiritual nourishment we need to grow and mature in our faith until we ultimately reach complete conformity to Christ on the other side of the grave. A “stunted saint” or a “dwarfed disciple” is as much an oxymoron (a phrase that contradicts itself) as a “joyless Christian.”
So . . . are you satisfied with the level of spiritual growth in your life today? It’s important to remember that, unlike our justification (which is wholly a one-way action completed by the Almighty alone) our sanctification is a process we are to participate in. God gives every one of His children numerous means of grace that are designed to grow us and mature us in our faith. God has given us His Word to read, the privilege to pray, and His church to attend. God has provided us with the disciplines of fasting, serving, and watching. God has given us the great honor to worship Him and also to witness for Him. Everything we do for the glory of God is a means of making us mature in our faith.
Hardship is also part of God’s plan for producing holiness in your life. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:7). In other words, the pain you experience in your life is never without a purpose. The intended end of every providential pain is to conform you to the image and likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even when the pain we experience is a consequence for poor choices, it is never punitive; God’s chastening is always corrective. It is designing to produce healing and growth, not misery and despair.
God loves us too far much to leave us as He found us. So He is growing us up, by any and every means necessary, into Christ by His grace, because God does not give birth to stunted saints or dwarfed disciples!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!