Quite correctly, Christians direct a lot of time and energy toward convincing the world that Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life. Jesus final words recorded in Matthew 28 direct his followers to perpetuate his teachings and spread his influence throughout all nations. The world needs to hear and accept the Good News of Jesus, and we dream of God’s kingdom expanding to defeat Satan and the forces of evil.
The risk in emphasising conversion, or new births, or baptism, or whatever event you wish to count is just that: it’s an event. It tends to create a mindset that I have moved from lost to found, from peril to rescue, from orphan to family. In short, it tells us that we’ve arrived.
I don’t possess the words to describe the importance of my state of salvation to my life. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. However, Scripture teaches me that I have NOT yet arrived. (Eph. 4:11-16) I am still God’s work in progress. My redemption will culminate, not in my acceptance of Christ as my Saviour, but at the return of Christ and the ultimate establishment of his kingdom.
Jesus intends for his disciples to continually grow. The basic premise of the New Testament epistles indicates that Christians should grow. The NT authors are writing to Christians with instructions on beliefs, church life, personal and corporate ethics, etc. There is never a hint that since these Christians have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for their sins they have fulfilled God’s expectations for them. Paul, John and others continue to prompt the new followers of Jesus to deeper levels of commitment.
In 2 Peter 3:18 the apostle concludes his letter by directing his readers to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Standing still was not an option. This conclusion fits the letter, because in 1:5-7 Peter lays out a pathway of spiritual growth that his audience should take: one step at a time.
Add to your FAITH –> GOODNESS –> KNOWLEDGE –> SELF-CONTROL –> PERSEVERANCE –> GODLINESS –> MUTUAL AFFECTION (tNIV) –> LOVE.
I’m excited that our church has chosen this theme for 2012. It provides so many opportunities for congregational and personal growth. It reminds us that God has something planned for us that is more that our present circumstances. It prompts the congregational leadership to search for opportunities God is presenting to the church. It prompts us individually to conduct a spiritual inventory and evaluate how we can deepen our relationship with Him. It directs us to spiritual disciplines, but also reminds us to put our faith into action: to keep moving, to take the next step.
Just two questions this week:
- What thoughts does the phrase “Taking the Next Step” (in a context of faith) bring to mind for you?
- What Next Step is God laying on your heart?