Monday, September 17, 2007

Growing in grace

There was new revelation this morning while replying to one of Gary’s post.

Ever since I started the grace walk, I knew that I couldn’t improve anything in my Christian walk but I always thought God does it for me.
It looks like God is not going to do it! Because He already did it!

You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. (John 15:3, NLT). I have always thought pruning is a 'process'.

Now when I read Romans 12:2, it has a different meaning.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)

In other words, see things from God’s perspective. Let God change the way we think. Isn’t that growing in grace means?

Thoughts welcome.


Joel Brueseke - Grace Roots said...

I guess I'm not so sure about the NLT's translation, as the original Greek simply says "clean" (not pruned). Jesus does talk about branches that bear fruit being pruned to bear even more fruit.

But I do fully agree that we are transformed in our minds through the renewing of our minds... by "changing the way you think," as you pointed out from Romans 12:2 (NLT).

Since we're told that it's good that the heart be established in grace, and we're told to grow in grace, I believe these are all soulful things (having to do with the mind).

I believe that spiritually speaking, we're as clean, pruned, holy, established, etc, as we'll ever be, but our minds have a lot of catching up to do with the reality of the new creation! I'm always thinking about stuff like this, so Gary's post and your post have truly been good for sparking more thought on all this!

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Thanks Joel for the comments.
NIV says, You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. The context of this verse is about bearing fruit.
When I hear the phrase 'growing in grace' what comes to my mind is some kind of 'shaping'. For sure this is not in a spiritual sense because in spirit we are already a new creation. To me, flesh is like a combination of body and mind (soul). I am pretty sure there is not going to be any improving in our physical body just because we are Christians (other than people getting delivered from addictions etc). So then it comes to the soul (mind)that there needs to be some on going change required as we 'grow'. Talking about my mind - I have had bad thoughts in my mind all day long before I became a Christian. After I became a Christian still I have bad (negative)thoughts. Sometimes worse than before. Does growing means getting rid of these bad thoughts?
If 'growing in grace' means bearing much fruit then it contradicts with the above verse. To bear fruit we are already 'ready'. So to me it boils down to only one thing - this growing means changing the way we think. I see people kind of waiting for some kind of improvement in their spiritual life to bear fruit. I think it's only a matter of time (season) and God initiating it.

P.S: Though I am writing these I feel that I speaking on the basis of just one verse. I might be wrong when I see many other verses in the Bible. I just don't know/remember them now. So please feel free to clarify. I still think there is room for more thinking and more scriptures.

Joel Brueseke - Grace Roots said...

I guess where I'm coming from is that there's a difference between being clean and being pruned. We are made clean one time and one time only, by the blood of Jesus. But I think the Vinedresser carefully and patiently and in the right timing, prunes the branches to make them ready to bear more fruit.

I was talking last night with Dave Lesniak about brokenness, and I think that's a part of all this. We've been washed and made clean by the blood of Jesus, but in order to mature and bear fruit there is a process we go through as individual and corporate parts of the vine.

Using my own life as an example, there is fruit that is coming forth today that wouldn't have been possible if not for those earlier times of pruning and brokenness that caused me to rely more and more on the Father and that helped grow the fruit to the place of being born (bearing fruit). There is future fruit that will not be possible unless the Father prunes me some more.

I need to be submissive to the Spirit in all this (for example, abide in the vine and His words in me), and I think it was Gary (?) who reminded us of the good news that I even have to submit my submission over to God. :)

The bottom line of what I'm getting at, which is certainly up for scrutiny and discussion, is that bearing fruit, while wholly the work of the Spirit, is not automatic and it involves seasons of dormancy, seasons of pruning, seasons of fertilization, etc, etc, and seasons of tremendous growth too.

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

I think I require to do more thinking on this. There seems to be some air of confusion. May be I need to clear out some my thoughts. It's not a big deal though. I liked the idea that we have to submit our submission to God. That's a tough one. It gets 3 dimensional :).

Joel Brueseke - Grace Roots said...

"I think I require to do more thinking on this."

I'm with you on that. If we could all keep that attitude on everything, I think we'd all be better off. :D