by Dr. Bob Gray Sr
2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
Grow in grace or grow in what God offers you that you do not deserve. God did not say, “grow in works.” No one grows by works, we grow by grace. We sustain our growth by works, but we do not grow by works. We grow by grace or “in grace.” We grow in that which we do not deserve which is given to us by God. God’s people do and accomplish growth via grace. The redeemed sustain what they do and accomplish by grace. We sustain growth by greater works. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ, and we grow by grace through faith in Christ. We do and accomplish by works because of grace through faith in Christ.
Works come from growth, growth comes by grace, and grace comes by faith in Christ. When your work gets ahead of grace you will cease to grow in grace.
Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” In other words the flow of the sentence “Be ye therefore perfect” could be, “be becoming perfect” or “be on your way.” The world “perfect” is a word for maturity or “be becoming mature” or “be on your way to maturity.” “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” God is saying to be on your way to being perfect so when you do, you become mature and you will be like your heavenly Father. I can hear you say, “But that will never happen.” Ok, but you could be on your way. You cannot quit growing in grace if you are to obey this Scripture. You will never arrive, but you can always be arriving.
1 John 3:2, “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.” “So, when will I be mature?” The Scriptures says when we are like him. Thus, I am not mature now, you are not mature now, and we are not a grown Christian at this moment. When will we be like him? The answer is at the rapture of the redeemed and until then we are to be growing not grown!
If the Bible says, “Be ye therefore perfect…” then I am to be becoming mature or I am to be on my way to becoming mature realizing I will not become mature until the rapture. Every person who is redeemed is immature to some extent and everyone who is a Christian is not mature at all.
Romans 8:23 says, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The redeemed will be totally mature when our bodies will be redeemed. When will our bodies be redeemed? The answer is at the rapture of the saints. We are commanded by God to grow in grace until the rapture or until you become like your heavenly Father. When will we become like the Father? It will be at the rapture.
How will this occur? It will happen with the redemption of our bodies. Apparently the thing that fights that growth and hinders that growth is our flesh.
THERE ARE NO MATURE CHRISTIANS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
I am not a mature Christian and you are not a mature Christian. None of us will be mature Christians until we awake in His likeness. (1 John 3:2) At the redemption of our body we will become mature. Thus, there are no mature Christians on this planet.
We are commanded to grow in grace, and such a command demands continual growth and the opposition to such growth is our flesh. There is no command to be grown, but there is a command to grow. It is not the amount of growth, but the fact of growing that pleases God.
THERE ARE NO MATURE CHRISTIANS IN HEAVEN.
The rapture has not taken place, and thus the redemption of the bodies of the redeemed has not occurred on Earth and in Heaven. Those in Heaven do not have their glorified bodies yet because the rapture is necessary. The great D. L. Moody is in Heaven, but he is not a mature Christian. Evangelist Billy Sunday is in Heaven, but he is not a mature Christian. The great Charles Hadden Spurgeon is in Heaven, but he is not a mature Christian. B. R. Lakin, Bill Rice, John R. Rice, Lester Roloff, Lee Roberson, and the late Jack Hyles are all in Heaven, but none of these will be mature until the rapture and the resurrection of the old bodies from their graves.
The old flesh hinders our growth on Earth, and absence of the new body hinders growth in Heaven.
THERE ARE ONLY GROWING CHRISTIANS AND NON-GROWING CHRISTIANS ON EARTH.
The question is which are we? Are we growing? Until the rapture there are either growing or non-growing Christians. The truth is we are all learning and growing. In Heaven they are still growing. At the Bema Seat during Bible times an adoption ceremony took place where the “minor’s” outer garment of the “Toga Barillas” was replaced by the “Toga Praetexto” to indicate the completion of the adoption process to the person becoming a “major.”
At the rapture this will happen to all of God’s children for we will all be at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” immediately after the rapture. Until then we are commanded by God to continue to grow in grace. Thus, we are growing in grace on Earth and those in Heaven are growing in grace.
THE REDEEMED WILL ENTER HEAVEN AT THE SAME SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF GROWTH THAT THEY LEFT EARTH.
At whatever level God’s children are spiritually, and whatever level of growth there is will all be revealed when we enter Heaven. God’s people will not know any more Bible than they know when they exit this life. Why, because you will continue to grow. If you do not praise God here, you will not praise God there. If you take a trip to Dallas tomorrow you will not be any smarter when you arrive at Dallas. If you go to Heaven tomorrow, you will not be any smarter in Heaven than you are here.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BE GROWN, ATTEMPT TO GROW
There is nothing as sickening as a college freshman theologian, or a sophomore theologian who thinks he or she is mature. Do not be a know it all! Learn something new everyday is my life’s motto. Now is the time to learn more Bible, learn more about God, learn more about prayer, learn more about loving, and do more for God with what we know. Dig into the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you a truth.
It is not how much you know, but how much you are learning. It is not whether you arrive it is whether you are still arriving that counts. It is not the amount of growth, it is the process of growing that is important.
THOSE WHO THINK THEY ARE MATURE ARE REALLY NON-GROWING CHRISTIANS.
Many have mistaken maturity for seniority. They have mistaken maturity for a plateau. God deliver me from these suave pastors, deacons or charter church members. These know-it-all Christians are really dead Christians. Grow or die! It is imperative that God’s people avoid becoming like the Dead Sea by just taking in and never giving out. I have smelled the stench of the Dead Sea, and I have smelled the stench of dead Christians. Grow or die!
GOD’S PEOPLE GROW IN GRACE PERIODS.
Sunday school, Sunday morning preaching, Sunday night preaching, Wednesday night Bible study, church-wide soul winning, prayer time, Bible reading time, giving time, teaching time, etc., are all periods of living in grace. Those are the periods when a child of God grows.
1 Peter 2:21 says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
It did not say that we should arrive at His destination, but we are to follow His steps, and when we do so these are grace periods. Remember the old adage, “Make hay while the sun shines.” The question then is are we growing in grace? Some of those reading this article stopped growing because they think they have arrived.
There are no mature Christians in your church, only the ones who are growing and those who are not growing.
JUST A THOUGHT!
Original article can be found at http://oldpathsjournal.com/index.php/articles/solve-church-problems/270-growing-not-grown.html