Growing Up in Christ
The heir of God is an heir in the process of salvation (Rom 8:17). God has written His one and only will and testament, and the Testator, Jesus Christ, has died (Heb 9:15–16). The will is being read to every generation (Bible), so that the heirs may be made known. The inheritance awaits them, while their adoption as sons is finalized (Rom 8:30; Eph 1:5).
The sons of God have left the orphanage of slavery (Old Testament Law), and by grace have been transferred to a new home in the Spirit-filled church (1 Cor 12:13; Col 1:13). They receive the nurture of the Spirit, while eating their daily bread, the Word of God.
The Word of Christ is the agent of Christian growth in the Spirit. It feeds. It disciplines. It crafts each believer into conformity to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), who is the icon of God (Col 1:15). Spiritual maturity is the goal for the children of God. Preparations must be made before sons are brought into the holy and majestic precincts of the glorious royal palace, mansions of glory.
Grace is the work of God in the preparatory season, a vapor in light of eternity, but a seemingly long and winding road to weary pilgrims. Their present suffering, a chastening from a loving Father, is not to be compared to the glorious home of their inheritance.
The wedding feast must be readied and the bride must painstakingly be adorned with the beautiful jewels bought by her husband to be. His provisions are great, but grace takes its time to ensure her entrance will be grand and glorious.
Grace has chosen each heir. Grace has made each son, just as it was grace that delivered each slave. Grace is the powerhouse of faith, for they made their request, “Increase our faith.” Faith needs grace like a baby needs her mother’s breast. Faith thrives on the providence of grace’s allocation.
The faith of the heir is fueled by the promises, for he must wait upon grace for his final deliverance. It is darkest before the dawn, and each son descends into the valley of death before the glorious resurrection. His declension, in life unto death, is tragic. The once vivacious body has wearied, often becoming immobilized, and finally worn out.
The paradox of the body and soul is the trajectory of each saint in this life. The regenerated soul is growing ever lighter, ever higher. It is taking heaven, as if by violence. The body, in stark contrast, is breaking down. Its course is ever darker, ever weaker (2 Cor 4:16–17).
Our glorious hope is the reunion of body and soul in the resurrection to life (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15; Titus 2:13). We shall see Christ on that day, and we shall be like Him (1 Jn 3:2). His indestructible life, physical and eternal, will be the inheritance of the sons of God. Just as the soul was transformed (Rom 12:2), so shall the body.
Growth in Christ is the work of our infallible, unfailing God (1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). He will do all His holy will (Eph 1:11). He is even now giving His life, as He imputes life to elect unbelievers. He is giving life to regenerated sons, as the Word continues to take hold of the saint’s mind and affections (1 Cor 2:16).
Christian, watch for this life of growth. It is slow but sure. It is recognized by others, who can see the growth of Christ in you (Gal 5:22–23). You must boast in the Lord, as you bear witness to His glorious grace at work in you (Acts 1:8; Gal 6:14).
There is no growth apart from Christ (Jn 15:5). His agency alone dictates the pace and the depth of transformation. He alone receives the glory, for He alone has done the work (Is 26:12; Phil 2:13). As the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Heb 12:2), He has begun a good work in you (Phil 1:6), and His sure promise is that He alone will bring your life to His intended end…the beginning of glory!
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 6, 2021