"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « God’s Sovereignty Part 3 by Marco Gonzalez | Main | The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn »

    The Key to Spiritual Growth


    Do you want to grow spiritually? Really? Do you? If God told you exactly what to do, would you do it?

    The fact is that God has told us exactly how to achieve spiritual growth in His word. What may surprise us is that this growth is not achieved by some dramatic "mountain top" experience with God, but by the regular, consistent, on-going, non-spectacular but extremely supernatural MEANS OF GRACE. These means are THE PREACHED WORD, PRAYER AND THE LORD’S SUPPER.

    Does that sound in any way boring to you? Not flashy enough? If that is the case, then quite frankly, your thinking has been shaped by something other than the word of God.

    I am sure you have noticed that when a baby wants milk, everyone in the house knows about it! There is no way anyone will get any sleep at night until baby has his way. He wants milk and he wants it now! His cry is unrelenting until he can taste milk.

    The Bible tells us that in the exact same way babies crave milk, Christians are to desire the spiritual milk of the word of God for spiritual growth. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us, "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation..."

    Spiritual growth is not automatic. God uses MEANS to grow His people spiritually. These are what we call "means of grace" which one theologian defined as the “objective channels which Christ has instituted in the Church to which He ordinarily binds Himself in communicating His grace.” The means of grace are “his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer, and all these are made effective in the salvation of the elect” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 88).

    Biblically, these means of grace include the regular preaching of the word of God in the gathered assembly of the saints (the local Church), prayer and the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper).

    William Boekestein writes, "the (early) church grew as the believers 'devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.' Because devoting yourself seems to lack pizzazz, we tend to make spiritual growth more difficult than it is. But, with few exceptions, those who are growing in godliness are committed to preaching, the sacraments, and prayer. These are the ordinary means of grace. Spiritual growth doesn’t require innovation because God doesn’t work erratically and irregularly. We don’t have to “find God’s wave and ride it” until He surges elsewhere.

    Still, the means of grace don’t always seem to work. Maybe we’ve said, 'I come to church, partake of the sacraments, spend time in prayer, and I don’t seem to grow.' Assuming that we are diligently and believingly using the means, we shouldn’t too easily dismiss the vital role they are playing in our lives. Imagine saying, 'I eat three times a day, but I don’t get any healthier. Eating must not be the answer.' What shape might we be in if we weren’t being fed by God through His ordinary means?"

    In care for your soul I ask you not to neglect the means of grace. For me, for you and for every believer, it is the key to all spiritual growth. - JS

    Posted by John Samson on June 11, 2014 01:20 PM

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