Dear Sinful Christian, Your Growth is a Promise

Looking at John 15, there is much to learn about spiritual growth.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that our joy may be full.

Here is ONE of the important things to take away from this text.  Immature people and sinful people like you and the person next to you in church can change and if they abide in Jesus they will change.  Not alone though, only with the nourishing power of Jesus.  They don’t remain the way that they were. Not all sinful people change but those who abide in Jesus are always changing for the better.  This is called sanctification Gossips who are converted to Jesus will change and at the very least, gossip less. People who are divisive at one point in their Christion life will grow to be more mature over time.  That is a promise.

People in small towns often carry around a bad reputation their whole life. People say, once impatient, always impatient.  Once a bad husband, always a bad husband.  Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.  The problem with this is that the gospel changes people. Christians change.  Christians grow.  Jesus does not let Christians remain in their sin.  He frees them, sanctifies them, and restores them.  Let us as a church give people grace, having a positive outlook on even the most “immature” or “newest” of Christians.  God says they will grow and we need to help them by not putting them down.

Just because a fellow church member did something in the past, does not mean they should be labeled and defined by that in the present.  When you reject the possibility of Christians changing you reject the power of the gospel.  Jesus says to us “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:36).