Believers are challenged to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Through Jesus, we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand (Romans 5:2). And faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
In one particular instance, a lady heard the gospel on television and trusted in Jesus. However, no one discipled her at that time, and for the next ten years, she did not outwardly live like a Christian. Some would have wondered if she was actually saved. Then, she began attending a good Bible-preaching church and immediately started responding in faith to the preached Word. As a result, she also began growing in grace. She knew she had trusted in Jesus years before and going through the motions of getting “saved again” would offer no help. But as she regularly heard the Word of God preached, she responded in faith for steps of obedience and began to grow spiritually. From these beginnings, she has seen herself marvelously used of the Lord on many occasions and has led many souls to Christ.
The provision for spiritual growth and victory is immediate upon salvation. The human spirit is regenerated and the Holy Spirit moves in to lead and empower. But the provision must be accessed by faith in order for an individual to advance. It’s not automatic; it truly is by faith, without which it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
In the physical realm, we must eat food that will nourish and provide the strength whereby we grow. Likewise in the spiritual realm, we must feed on Jesus, the true bread, so He can nourish us and impart strength through which we grow spiritually. When we eat food, we are depending on the food. When we feed on Jesus by trusting His indwelling life to be our life, we are depending on Jesus. When we eat/depend on food, it nourishes us. When we depend on the indwelling life of Jesus, He enables us.
Faith accesses grace. As we walk by faith, we grow in grace. Simple, yet profound.
Christ lives in us…by faith (Gal. 2:20). The provision of His indwelling life is continuously available. The Spirit streams the life of the enthroned Christ right into us moment by moment. Unbelief (self-will and self-dependence) blocks the manifest blessing of the life stream of Jesus. But faith (yielding to God’s will in God-dependence) accesses the manifest blessing of the life stream of Jesus.
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). Since God is continuously giving us the victory (Jesus living in us), we must regularly take the provision God is giving. Since God is giving, we must be taking. As we take His leadership and power, the Spirit imparts to us the very life of Christ. The Spirit of Jesus animates us with the life of Jesus. This is the abundant life of Christ.
I remember another lady in our church years ago who repeatedly asked for prayer for her unsaved husband. After several years, he did in fact believe in Jesus as Savior. He did not, however, come to church or evidence any spiritual growth. His wife then asked for prayer in that regard. It was two years after his salvation that he began to attend church with his wife. As he heard the Word of God preached, faith was nurtured in his heart, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). As the Spirit stirred him, he then began to make choices of faith, and as he walked by faith, he grew in grace. This is God’s plan. In this man’s case, he grew so much/so rapidly that he exceeded the level of his wife’s own growth—so much so, she wasn’t sure what to think!
John Van Gelderen