Revealing the SIMPLICITY that’s in Christ

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"7 milestones for growing in grace, part 1"



Let’s start by looking at 2 Pet 3:17-18 — “(17) You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; (18) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter spent considerable time in his 2nd letter, writing about false prophets and teachers who twist the scriptures to their own destruction. And in summing up this very important letter, he instructed them to not stay focused on the error, but to focus on Jesus and grow in His grace and knowledge. Peter knew that as believers would grow in the knowledge of Jesus and His grace, then what was in error would be avoided (For one cannot be occupied by 2 things at once, see Matt 6:24). So simply put, according to Peter, we are to be occupied and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, not in the knowledge of the error of the wicked and by this, comes our spiritual growth in Christ.



the revelation of Jesus Christ


I want to show you the pattern for all spiritual growth in Christ. Look at what Paul declared in Eph 4:20-24 — “(20) But you have not so learned Christ, (21) if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (23) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” All truth — that means the truth that you and I need to spiritually grow by — is in Jesus (Not necessarily is it in your Bibles, but it’s found in Jesus)! Notice something very interesting here about you learning the truth. In v.21, Paul did not say, “if indeed you heard ME and was taught by ME”, although we would all agree that Paul was a tremendous teacher of spiritual growth. Paul said, “if indeed you heard JESUS and was taught by JESUS”!


Only Jesus can unfold His truth to you to spiritually grow up in Him — man can help, but no one can teach you like Jesus can!


So in looking at what this, we must keep in mind that the instructions that Paul is giving us is carried out by grace, not by our works. This means that the 3 action words for spiritual growth, “put off”, “be renewed”, and “put on”, can only be properly performed in your life by grace, not by your actions (actions like prayer, going to church every time the doors are open, etc, see Phil 2:13). What caused this grace to work inside you to perform these 3 actions? It’s seen in v.20 and 21 — in you learning Jesus, hearing and being taught by Him (that is, by the revelation of Jesus Christ). In other words, Jesus is revealing His truth of His Redemptive work to you in making it a living reality in your daily life (making it into your actual experience)!



understanding the 7 milestones for growing


There’s another facet of growing in grace that must be understood. Growing in grace is growing in “Jesus-truth” and this kind of truth has 2 sides to it.


It’s growing in the knowledge of what God has done for you through Jesus Christ AND it’s growing in the knowledge of what He’s doing inside you as you believe.


So in part 1 of this lesson that I’m giving you, I’ll start by showing you the things that God has done for you though Christ, so that you, through His grace at work in you, can grow in its knowledge. This is what I mean by the word “MILESTONE”, it’s the result of these realities being unfolded to you through the revelation of Jesus Christ. You know a milestone describes an important event or turning point in one's life. So these are milestones for you to becoming a partaker of the divine nature in 2 Pet 1:4. Growing in grace is not so much of an effort on your part, as it is a result that takes place inside you.


Milestone #1 — the reality of Redemption. Redemption is a very broad term that describes in a nutshell, the totality of what Jesus has done for us. The root word of “REDEMPTION” means, “to loosen” and through the work of Jesus, we have been spiritually loosen from everything that pertains to the devil and to his darkness — darkness has no more power over you (Darkness meaning the absence of light and God is light, 1 John 1:5)! Most everyone is familiar with the Redemption of Jesus Christ, because it’s how we became the very children of God. Look at this in Heb 9:12 — “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained (for us) eternal redemption.” This verse does not say that we have a “TEMPORARY” Redemption, as if it’s momentary and short-term, but we have an “ETERNAL” Redemption — your Redemption is as eternal as the blood of Jesus is! This New Covenant form of Redemption is God’s work through Christ (His blood), unlike the Old Covenant form of Redemption was man’s work through animals (their blood).


Look at what Paul said in Col 1:12 and 13 — (12) giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (13) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love“! Your Redemption in Christ delivered you from darkness and conveyed (transported) you into another kingdom — the kingdom of Jesus! This means that everything that belongs to Jesus, now belongs to you. A great way to illustrate the kind of Redemption you have in Christ is by looking at what Jesus said about Himself in John 14:30 from the AMP version — “I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.]” Look at the 4 descriptions that He made about the disconnect that He had with the enemy:


1) “he has no claim on Me”;

2) “he has nothing in common with Me”;

3) “there is nothing in Me that belongs to him”;

4) “he has no power over Me”.


Now simply place your name in the place of “Me” and you’ll see the snapshot of your Redemption from the enemy and darkness!


It’s as you grow in this knowledge, that your Redemption becomes personal, real and actual to you and as you grow in this, your spiritually growth will skyrocket!


Milestone #2 — the reality of the new birth. Notice what Paul said in 2 Cor 5:17 — “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Paul is talking about INWARD THINGS — INTANGIBLE THINGS — not outward things, or tangible things. So it’s clear from this verse that if the old things of your life have passed away and all things have become new, then the kind of NEW CREATION that he’s talking about is a creation that never existed before! The new creation is a new birth and this new birth is a brand new quality of life, see Rom 6:4! I have observed that for most believers this kind of new birth that Paul is talking about has never become an actual experience in their daily lives, because of the kind of lives that they live. Of course we understand very well about our natural birth into this world, but when it comes to our spiritual new birth — that our spirits have been actually born-again by God and made brand new — it hasn’t become a reality to us yet.


Look also at what Paul said about this in Titus 3:4-5 — “(4) But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared (when you heard the message of the gospel and became born-again), (5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us (seen on the cross), through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Paul mentions these 2 dynamic, spiritual events which happened inside of you, with your spirit, after you heard the gospel and came to Christ. This describes the new birth (Although, both of these events took place together, he lists 2 of them for our understanding of this inward reality).


The first event that took place was “the washing of regeneration”, or the washing that came from the rebirth (being born of God). What was washed at the rebirth? Sin was entirely washed away, see also 1 Cor 6:11! Sin described your old spirit and who you use to be — you were not just a SINNER because of what you did, but because you were in Adam, your whole nature was sin. Sin was washed away at the rebirth, the regeneration!


The second event that Paul mentioned in the verse is the “renewing of the Holy Spirit”. This refers to the complete recreation of your spirit — your spirit was and is entirely made brand new, for you are now in Christ! The reason why you still sin is not because of your nature, but because of the old habits that remain in your heart and mind (which is another lesson called “Renewing the mind”).


The greatest aspect of the new birth is being God’s child — you were spiritually reborn by God to be His beloved child, making Him your Father!


Look what Paul said in Gal 4:7 — “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” You, as a new creation in Christ, are no longer a slave, but a son! I can understand why many women have a hard time identifying with this Greek word for “son”, “huios” - which literally means “son”. But the reason why Paul kept using this Greek word “huios” is to get us to understand that you and every other believer is completely identified with Jesus Christ! God, who is now your Father, will always treat you the exact same as He treats Jesus — you are as dear to Him as Jesus is! Please let that reality sink in and I guarantee you that you’ll never be the same again, because your spiritual life will skyrocket!


Milestone #3 — the reality of Righteousness. Sticking with the theme of 2 Cor 5, and the message of reconciliation, look at what Paul said in v.21 — “For (God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we (all) might become the righteousness of God in Him.” I went ahead and filled in the appropriate applications for the personal pronouns in that verse, so that you can clearly understand that because God made Jesus to became sin for us on the cross, we have become God’s Righteousness.


Just as sin was something that you were naturally born into as a baby, Righteousness is something that you were spiritually reborn into! By the new birth, you were MADE God’s Righteousness!


Your new spirit was recreated this way — so it cannot be increased by what you do. Righteousness, because it’s God’s, is perfect and that’s the way that your recreated spirit is. This means that you cannot become more Righteous by what you do, or become UNrighteous by what you don’t do.


The bottom line — Righteousness is who you are now that you’re in Christ, it’s not what you do. Look at this again in Eph 4:24 — “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” The new man is the new man of your spirit. Notice the descriptions of your new spirit that God created, “true Righteousness and (true) holiness”. True means what is real, authentic, or genuine. This is who you are in Christ, not what you do for Him. It’s the result of His work wrought inside you at the new birth!


This Righteousness become real to you through the revelation of Jesus Christ. The more that you grow in this reality, the more grace you will grow in and your spiritual life will skyrocket!


Milestone #4 — the reality of being God-indwelt. It’s great to realize that the Creator of the universe is inside of you, but it’s even more dynamic to your life when you realize that He is love — He doesn’t just have love, He is love — Love Himself is inside of you!


Being God-indwelt is being love-indwelt!


What a new dynamic the reality of being love-indwelt is to one’s life! For instance you can turn to 1 Cor 13, read and study it, because it’s all about God’s love and the love that’s inside you. The nature of God is love, meaning that the nature of your new recreated spirit is love. So here in 1 Cor 13, looking at v.4-7, you’ll see 15 descriptions of God’s love and the nature that’s on the inside of you. This is a great study to see how God treats you, as well as seeing who you really are in Christ! (I’ll list these qualities from the AMP):


1) Love endures long and is patient and kind;

2) love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy,

3) Love is not boastful or vainglorious,

4) Love does not display itself haughtily.  

5) Love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride);

6) Love is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.

7) Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking;

8) Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful;

9) Love takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  

10) Love does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness,

11) Love rejoices when right and truth prevail.  

12) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes,

13) Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person,

14) Love hopes are fadeless under all circumstances,

15) Love endures everything [without weakening].


This perfectly describes God, who is love, as well as describing your recreated spirit and who you really are because you’re God/love-indwelt! This is why Paul, at the end of this great chapter, concluded by saying — “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Now that you’re in Christ, you are a love-creation because you’re God-indwelt! It’s easy to see from this that as we grow in this reality through the revelation of Jesus Christ, how our lives can skyrocket in growing in grace!

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