But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (II Peter 3:18).
A great transformation is initiated when one accepts Christ as Savior. A newly born-again Christian receives many gifts, such as the forgiveness of sin, a hatred for sin, and the indwelling of the Holy Spiritwith spiritual maturity as the goal. Initially, these babes in Christ must be fed with milk and not with meat (I Corinthians 3:1,2).
The apostle John refers to three stages of Christian development: little children, young men, and fathers (I John 2:318). Throughout Johns epistles, the believer is instructed in how to progress to Christian maturity. A believer may be 60 years old physically, but only a babe in Christ. Conversely, a Christian can be quite young and still be mature. Early spiritual maturity comes from early Bible study and its application to Christian living. Any training, whether it be Bible school, Bible teaching, Bible reading, or Christian witnessing and service, should produce a Christ-like character.
Unfortunately, there are experiences in the Christian life which hinder growth: walking after the flesh (Romans 8:58); being captivated by the things in the world instead of being led by the Spirit and obeying the Bibles injunctions (Romans 8:1417). It pays to live for Christ and grow in spiritual life. Admittedly, there can be suffering and loss of former friends, and there must be a rejection of the worlds immoral standards (Romans 8:18,19).
Believers groan within themselves, waiting for the redemption of their bodies (Romans 8:2325), but the Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer, will assist and sustain those who truly desire to grow in His grace and knowledge. JLG