Are we supposed to grow as Christians?
I often think about how some Christian view salvation. In my understanding, they see salvation as purely a taking away of the wrath of God that abides on them because of sin. But in my studies into the Gospel and the New Testament, this is only half the truth.
God doesn’t just want us to be accepted in His sight because we are forgiven, but He wants us to be fundementally changed so that we don’t continue in sin. Think about it, if you had a leaky pipe in your house, would you just continue to clean up the water everytime there was a puddle, or would you fix the pipe. See this is exactly what God has done for us. He forgave our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, and He gave us His Holy Spirit that we would become righteous in our ways.
Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;1 Thessalonians 4:9 NASB
So as we can see, God himself is teaching us to love one another. It isn’t the striving of man’s spirit that we are made to be righteous, because it was never possible.
Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith .”Galatians 3:11 NASB
But we also know that we are called to live to a different standard, and that we are to be brought out of sin.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB
So we have to make peace with these two things. Yes we are saved from wrath. And yes we are called to live a righteous life. Both of those statements are part of the Gospel. God gave man the gift of forgiveness and the power to live righteously. This is the Gospel. We cannot separate these two. If we do, we have destroyed the message of the Gospel.
But we must also remember that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has provided us all the power to succeed.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.1 Peter 5:10 NASB
Remember, if we lean into God and the Holy Spirit, we will be taught to love one another and to live a righteous life. But we must be on guard that we do not reject the Holy Spirit, otherwise we will lose the salvation of Christ.
Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,Hebrews 4:6 NASB
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