Why God is More Interested in His Holiness Work in You than Your Church Growth Plans for Him

Christian priorities are not listed in numerical order in the Bible. Therefore, the proposition that holiness trumps church growth might be disputed. Both ideas are scriptural, but in today’s American church, there is far greater focus on church growth rather than holiness. Ironically, for as many decades as the church growth movement has been operable, the number of professing Christians has declined. We can conclude that focus on church growth does not produce church growth.

Jesus promised that He would grow His church (Mt 16:18) and granted that His disciples make disciples (Mt 28:19–20). We must not jump to the conclusion that making disciples is a matter of numbers being added or multiplied.

Spiritual formation is not something that Christians of the collective church can program either. We have the means of grace for transformation leading to maturity, but conformity to the image of Jesus Christ is according to the will of God and work of the Holy Spirit. He is the Potter; we are the clay.

Church growth is not an ignoble pursuit, but one must question his or her motives in desiring a larger church with little or no interest in the purity of the body of Christ. The quest for large attendance figures must be questioned, considering how much this resembles the world. Why does size matter to either elders or members? After all, the Lord knows those who are His and He knows where they are and how to secure them for His kingdom.

Christ’s end goal objective for the church is for His bride to be holy and blameless for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We can be sure that the full number of God’s elect will be in attendance on that day when He comes for His bride. He will gather the elect, having resurrected them to life with glorified bodies. They will be caught up to meet Him at His glorious appearing.

Church growth is a product of God calling His elect to come to Christ. The Holy Spirit is sent to cause the new birth to occur for those who were appointed to life (Acts 13:48; 1 Pet 1:3). The Spirit of God, according to Jesus goes where He wants, whenever He wants, to whomever He intends to make alive. Like the wind, evidenced in the rustling of leaves or turning of windmill blades, we observe the evidence of the Spirit’s work in regeneration and sanctification. You will know them by their spiritual fruit.

Only the Lord knows the day of Christ’s return, when the full number of the saints have been baptized into Christ’s church. That day is fixed and no manipulation by church growth pundits will change the date. Our Lord knows the beginning and He knows the end, as each day of history occupies an “eternal now” for our eternal God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

As witnesses to the Word of God and the work of God, our Christian faith, handed down to all the saints and authored by the Lord Himself, increases by the grace of the Spirit who grants it. As witnesses, we speak what we believe, and we believe what we know to be true. The Spirit of truth is our Teacher.

God is willing and doing His good pleasure in producing holiness and numerical growth in the church. It is a principle for Him who gives and sustains life to cause the growth in that which He has purposed to grow. Therefore, we grow in His grace, as children of God, and we grow by His grace.

God’s grace imparts to His people all of the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus. Sanctification is a work of God’s Spirit employing God’s Word to set His people apart from the world. It is a gracious blessing to be made holy even as God is holy. We study Christ and meditate on Him, growing in the knowledge of Him, who is the truth.

It is the truth that sets us free from worldly motives and ambitions. Christians do not work for their justification before the Judge of all the earth. Rather, we enter His rest, as Christ becomes our all in all. It is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us (Gal 2:20).

Let us meditate on the sovereignty of God in salvation, which includes our sanctification. As the Spirit indwells us as witnesses of Jesus Christ, we are emboldened to speak of the great things God has revealed to us that He has done. One of those great things is to build the church with elect, redeemed regenerate people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9). We are living stones in the hands of the Master Builder, who is building His Temple in the Spirit (Eph 2:20–22).

Our right response is to worship Him who is worthy. His marvelous works have been made known to us, who were blind to them. Now that we see the things of the Spirit, let us give glory to God for adding to the church, as He pleases, and to purify her in anticipation of the day when Christ comes again. Are you ready for that day when all things will be revealed?

As we consider that approaching climax to history and our Lord’s return, what type of people ought we to be? How then should we now live? If our ambition is to please Him, then let us carry ourselves in godliness, which is the manner of our calling. Not that we endeavor to live again under the Law which only condemns us, but as people of faith who walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. He alone is building us up in holiness and in numbers until this work is done.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

July 25, 2021


Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher