The Sons of God

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  (1John 3:2)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and invite Him into our hearts, several things happen concerning the relationship between us and God.

First, the Bible tells us that we are saved.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

We are saved from sin. The Bible tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us any longer. (Rom. 6:14)

We are saved from the enemy of our soul, the devil. Jesus says that He gives us power over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

We are saved from eternal damnation and punishment:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)

The Bible also tells us that we have become “born again”. One translation translates it as being “born from above”.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Nicodemus, the man Jesus was speaking to, couldn’t understand how a person could be born a second time. Jesus explained that it is a spiritual birth.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

In the same way that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and miraculously conceived in her a physical seed that was to become the only begotten Son of God, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us and He conceives the spiritual seed of our new nature so that we become an adopted son of God.

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1Peter 1:23)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)

However, as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. We are not “born again” as a mature spiritual son of God, but we are born as an infant. And although this is the place from which we must begin if we are to enter the kingdom of God, this is not the condition to remain in if we are to inherit the kingdom of God.

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

In the next few blog posts we are going to do an in-depth examination of spiritual growth: what it is and how to achieve it. We are going to see what God determines to be the signs of spiritual maturity and the signs of spiritual childishness.

Unlike physical growth which is inevitable, it is our choice whether we decide to grow spiritually or not. However, if we determine to do whatever is necessary to become a mature child of God:

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21)

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1Cor. 14:20)

Before we can see what spiritual growth is, we first have to see what it is not.

Spiritual growth is not determined by how long we have been a Christian. Although length of time is necessary and fundamental in physical growth, it has nothing to do with growing spiritually.

It is entirely possible for an individual to remain spiritually immature their entire Christian life. Growing spiritually is a choice.

Spiritual growth is not determined by our faithfulness in church attendance, Bible reading, or Scripture memorization. Although all of these things can aid in our spiritual growth, they cannot be substituted for it.

Your spiritual growth has nothing to do with a particular Church affiliation or Denomination.

The method by which you were baptized, the day you choose to attend services, or the manner in which you worship are all personal choices that you must make based upon your knowledge of the Word of God and your conscience toward Him, but unless you are continuing in a manner contrary to God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they do not affect your spiritual growth.

How does one grow spiritually? How does a Christian pass from spiritual childhood, to adolescence, to maturity in the Spirit?

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2Peter 3:18)

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18)

The answer to spiritual growth is KNOWLEDGE, CHOICE, GRACE, and CHANGE as by the SPIRIT OF THE LORD.

The Bible says:

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” (1Peter 1:15)

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:16)

The Bible also says:

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb. 12:14)

Holiness and spiritual growth are parallel. Holiness and spiritual maturity are virtually one and the same.

It is not so much an achievement as it is a lifestyle and a goal.

The word “holiness” in the Greek literally means “sanctification of the heart and life”, in other words, to “sanctify” or “set apart” your heart and life to God.

The word “holy” in the Greek means “physically pure” or “morally blameless”, so we might say that to strive to grow spiritually and become spiritually mature is to set apart our hearts and lives to be physically pure and morally blameless to God.

What seems like an impossible task, the Bible calls “our reasonable service”.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2)

To do this on our own is indeed an impossible task. But that is why Jesus came, to give us a new birth, that the Holy Spirit might come and live inside of us and empower us to become holy.

This is done first by knowledge: the “renewing of your mind”.

The Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Word of God and by His convicting power the things which we need to change in our lives so that we may grow and become holy (set apart) unto God. In other words, what is “right” and what is “wrong” about our lives.

Next, God provides you with a choice: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely…” (Rev. 22:17), “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

God will always give you the freedom of choice. That is why Jesus came to break the bondage of the sin nature (Rom. 6:14). Now we are free to choose whether to do right or wrong, whether to grow and mature or to remain spiritually childish.

If we make the choice to change and grow, then God will give us the grace to do it.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor. 12:9)

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)

Once we make the choice to lay aside the weights and sin, God gives us grace and strength through the Holy Spirit to effect the needed changes, until we realize that once again we have grown a little more into the image of Christ.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Heb. 12:1)

It does not happen overnight. Spiritual maturity is a growth, a step-by-step process.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18)

But it first begins with knowledge: by understanding where we are now in our spiritual growth and what we need to change.

Most often we do not realize what stage of our spiritual life we are in: whether infancy, childhood, adolescence, or maturity.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” (Prov. 21:2)

That is why it takes the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to reveal our hearts unto us.

One of the best examples of this is the story of “the prodigal son”.

Tomorrow- The Story of the Prodigal Son

Available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, Lulu.com for the PC and other e-readers, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

Available now for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, Lulu.com for the PC and other e-readers, and the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad

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