Every Christian should desire to grow in the faith, but often our spiritual growth feels elusive. Today, Sinclair Ferguson guides us through many of the provisions God has granted His children to shape us into Christ's likeness.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I'm here on the Ligonier campus with one of our teaching fellows, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. How can Christians grow in their spiritual maturity?
DR. SINCLAIR FERGUSON: Well, Nathan, that's a very good and important question. And the simple answer is that we grow to Christian maturity, we grow in grace, by using what have sometimes been called the means of grace. I'm not wildly enthusiastic about that description, but what is meant by it is that God has given us His Word in order to grow us. He's given us the privilege of prayer. He's given us the sacraments or ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. He's given us the fellowship of the church. And He uses affliction and testing to grow us in grace and to strengthen us. That means that one of the most important things we do is to continue to drink in the Scriptures, and certainly if it is possible for us to sit under a ministry of the Word and the power of the Spirit in which the Scriptures are taught to us and applied to us.
When Jesus speaks about growth, remember how He uses the vine and the branches as a kind of illustration how we are to abide in Him (John 15). He goes on to say that we abide in Him and therefore grow and produce fruit. I think probably the fruit in that connection is the fruit of Christian character, Christian growth, rather than kind of narrowly evangelistic fruit. He says that we do this as we let His Word abide in us.
And then God has given us the fellowship of the church. We see the examples of others. Remember how Paul says, "Follow me as I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1)? That's the way we often grow, and not by somebody sitting down and saying, "Grow, grow, grow, grow, grow," but by us being near enough them to see, "Well, how are they growing, and what does it mean for us to grow?"
Then there is the responsibility that's placed on us. Philippians 2:12-13, very helpful statement: "Work out your salvation." He's not speaking about working for it or working up, but working out, growing in grace, because God's Spirit is at work in you. You're not on your own. He will produce the fruit. So in these different ways, God has given us all the provision we need to grow in grace.
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