For a person who believes in the gospel, Jesus did not save us from our sin to keep us the same. Salvation happens in an instant by means of faith. But for the rest of life, a person is on a Spiritual journey. The Bible calls for us to walk and live Godly lives, to grow and mature in our faith.
In our society, we have ma
But what does that look like? Here are some of the really significant examples that come to mind through the Bible.
This list is most definitely not exhaustive.
- A maturing Christian is committed to love for God and people.
A maturing Christian follows the Greatest Commandment. As a result, he loves God and loves people (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:36 – 40; Mark 12:28 – 31). He loves the Lord with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Further as part of loving God, for a maturing Christian, faith is supreme over everything else in life (Matt. 10:38, 13:45-46). Along with the idea of loving God, a maturing Christian also loves people. It goes hand in hand with the Greatest Commandment, in regards to loving God. It is impossible to truly love God without loving people (Matt. 22:37-40). He shows love to other Christians and grace to non-Christians. He is not prideful, but recognizes shortcomings and the grace of God in his own life (Matt. 28:19; 2 Tim. 4:2). For non-believers, the maturing Christian is more concerned with a desire for the lost to know Jesus and become his disciples than in judging. The maturing Christian is flexible in ministry and evangelism. He’s not afraid to put in the time in to building relationships. He meets people where they are in life (Acts 17:16-34). He also relates to people as individuals (1 Cor. 9:19-23). A maturing Christian recognizes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Because of this, the maturing Christian has a desire to see others come to know Christ, because a person’s eternal future depends on faith in the gospel. He knows that God has ordained the means through which the gospel is spread to be through his word and through the proclamation of the gospel.
- A maturing Christian pursues God daily.
A daily pursuit of God fosters transformation and growth. While a person is justified once and for all at the moment of conversion, the process of maturing and growing in faith is continual. Means through which a believer grows include prayer, the study of scripture, and fellowship with believers, and obedience to God. Christians also mature through various trials they face in life (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:1-5). A maturing Christian understands that testing from God and discipline from God are part of the Christian life (Deut. 8; Heb. 12). While we don’t have to like the challenges in and of themselves, a maturing Christian knows that God is sovereign, God is providential, God is good, and that all things will ultimately work for good (Rom. 8:28). Through tests, the result for the maturing Christian will ultimately be growth and increased dependence in God and love for God.
- A maturing Christian views it as a divine mandate to make disciples.
In making disciples of all nations, Christians recognize the command of Christ to go out into the world baptizing and telling people the gospel (Matt. 28:16 – 20). Making disciples is more than evangelism (although evangelism is a part of this process). Making disciples is working with converts and helping to challenge and encourage them in their walk with Christ to an even greater love for Jesus, His Church, and people (Prov. 27:17).
- A maturing Christian obeys
The Bible has much to say about God’s moral will for our lives (Exodus 20:1-17; Deut. 6:4-6; Matt. 5-7). As the maturing Christian grows in the knowledge of the word of God through the Bible, the proclamation of the word, and through Christian community, a cognitive dissonance is created where a person knows what they ought to do and has opportunities to either obey or sin.
- A maturing Christian repents.
While a person is forgiven from sins at the moment they come to faith in the Lord Jesus, people still do commit sins in reality (Rom. 7). Christians are called to confess sins and to repent (Matt. 3:8, 4:17; Luke 17:3; 1 John 1:9). Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God. A maturing Christian recognizes that how she lives matters, and that God has a moral will for how Christians ought to conduct their lives. In having a high value of the weight of sin, a maturing Christian is enabled to have a greater love for the grace of gospel.
- A maturing Christian uses his Spiritual gifts to serve in the Church.
A maturing Christian understands that the purpose for involvement in a church is not merely how it benefits himself but how God can use the gifts which He has given the believer to serve and build up the Church (Rom. 12:6 – 8; 1 Cor. 12:8 – 10, 28; Eph. 4:11). He uses his gifts in building up the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-31) and understands that he is part of the priesthood of all believers. He also considers himself to be a minster of God, regardless of vocation (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Peter 2:5-9; Hebrews 3:1).
- A maturing Christian is sensitive to the commands of God in loving those marginalized by society.
Believers are called to love those society looks down upon (Matt. 25:31 – 46; Luke 10:25-37). This is from a recognition of the restoration that Jesus ushered in during his earthly ministry (Luke 4:18-21). The Bible also repeatedly talks about loving widows and orphans (Jas. 1:27). The maturing Christian is called to remember those society forgets.
- A maturing Christian bears fruit.
Followers of Jesus will be known to the world by the good fruit that they bear (Matt. 7:16-20). Depending on if a person has faith or not, a person can grow good or bad fruit (Matt. 3:10, 12:33). Bearing fruit is a direct result of fellowship with the Lord Jesus (John 15:4-5). The maturing Christian brings glory to God when fruit is produced in life (John 15:8). Believers are chosen to become more like Christ and a natural product of this is the bearing of fruit (John 15:16). People who are not in relationship with the Lord are incapable of producing good fruit (Luke 6:43-44). The sinful desires are opposed to the Spirit, which produces fruit (Gal. 5:17, 19-21). The life that is led in accordance with the work of the Holy Spirit results in the bearing of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.