Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Growing up in Grace: From the Inside Out

18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 AMP

In the recent weeks, we've been engaged in a brief study concerning growing up in the Grace of Almighty God. We have established from the Word how true growth occurs. True spiritual growth is never accomplished if we are following the traditions of men.

 Spiritual growth in Grace isn't found by following the dictates of a particular denomination. It isn't found in our self-efforts to try and please God. It isn't found in religious traditions perpetuated by spiritually blind leaders who don't understand the Word of God. Growth in Grace isn't about striving, or trying to earn or achieve a position or status with God. 

 Growth in Grace is found by knowing and understanding who we are in Him. It is found in understanding we are loved and accepted by Christ aside from any works or achievements on our part. It is found in the knowledge of our eternally secure salvation in Christ. 

 In our last study, we established that rightly dividing the Word is essential to an enhanced growth in Grace. In concluding this study today, we want to focus on the last area where we find true growth. True growth is found in the supply of His Grace.

Flowing "Freely" in the Supply of Grace

 If we are going to study growing up in Grace we must see how His Grace supplies wherever there is a demand. When it comes to growing up in Him, how exactly does one go from bitterness to forgiveness? From anger to self-control? From impatience to patience? Some would teach that God must send us tragic circumstances in order to facilitate growth. I soundly reject this.

 Wherever there is a demand Grace has an abundant supply. God hasn't established a system in this New Covenant where He demands a response from you that you must generate in your own strength or efforts. He isn't even demanding a changed lifestyle by our efforts or futile attempts to eliminate the ability to carry out a negative desire.  Grace changes us from the inside out, not the outside in.

 As we grow up in Grace, we will begin to notice a certain way of thinking or habit we have is contrary to our new nature. Religion would either say well we are just struggling because we still have a sin nature. Or that we must eliminate some outside source then we won't have that habit. While I concede there are some times where a specific relationship or activity may not be profitable and should fall by the wayside, just removing the channels available for a negative desire doesn't actually remove the desire. 

 Grace removes desires that are contrary to our New nature in Him. If we are struggling with impatience or anger all we need do is to tap into the supply of Grace. How do we do this? It is by understanding we are already perfectly loved and accepted, (here). If we understand we are already loved then this Gracious supply is there for us to love others. 

 Before Grace understanding, we thought we had to drum up some kind of feeling in order to express patience or mercy or love to others. When we understand His Grace has already supplied us with more than enough love within we can express that love to others. Struggling with forgiveness? Know and understand how much we are forgiven and then extend this to others. 

 Certainly, there is a maturing process into who we already are in Him. The supply of Grace transforms us from the inside out. We don't need religious tradition based programs to see change and growth. We have His supply, His New Nature within. We already possess what we need. He has shed His love abroad in our hearts. He has forgiven us once for all time. He has given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness. This is where fruitful growth is found.

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