Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Chapter 14 - The Spiritual Life & the Worldly Life

Once a person has made a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, and has become a regenerated believer, that individual has a new nature that cannot sin, which is diametrically opposed to his original self- centered nature, which desires to continue to do self centered things. There is therefore a continuing conflict between the two natures, that produces constant conflict throughout life.

The Holy Spirit within the believer is given to help the Christian to grow spiritually to maturity, and thereby provide spiritual strength to overcome the pull of the self centered nature. It is up to the Christian to make up his "WILL" as to which of the two natures he allows to control him (Rom. 12:1,2).

Originally, in the Garden of Eden, God gave to Adam/Eve a will which they could exercise: follow God's way and refuse to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree, or exercise their own will and eat, going against God's prohibition. They listened to the serpent's deception and ate, and thereby incurred a self centered, sinful nature, as well as separation from God. This nature has been passed down to each of us (Rom. 5:12). This nature is what Christ came to save us from, as well as to destroy the work of Satan against us (I John 3:8).

When we accept what Christ did for us, we are regenerated and receive the nature of God through the Holy Spirit, which cannot sin. God does not eliminate our old nature when we become a Christian, but allows it to work against our new nature, so that as we submit to the Holy Spirit transforming our character, and the interaction between the natures causes our new nature to be strengthened. This helps us to "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).The key to overcoming of the old nature, and our growth in the new nature depends on our WILL. This is why there is so much emphasis upon our will in the Bible.

In order for us to have a clear understanding of the two natures, it is important to know the contrast between the two, as well as the results. Then we are able to better understand what we should do.

1. Love - God gives to us John 3:16 1. Hate - Man takes from man Matt.24:10; Luke 6:22
2. Christ Centered life John 3:30 2. Self Centered life II Tim. 3:2
3. Fruits of the Spirit Gal. 5:22-24 3. Works of the flesh Gal. 5:17-21

1. True Character of life Rom. 12:2 1. Two facedness (Masking) Ps. 12:2; James 4:8
2. Serving Others John 13:35 2. Serving Self (Ego minded) Rom. 12:3,16
3. Seeks first God's Way Matt. 6:33 3. Seeks Materialism/Power Rom. 8:6
4. Genuine love for others John 15:12 4. Beware of Cares of this World, Deceitfulness of Riches, and the Lusts of Other Things. Mark 4:19
5. Hope of Eternal Life Phil. 1:6 5. Transient Life I John 2:15-17

In conclusion it is well to note what the Word tells us concerning our nature, and the exercising of it in love: I Corinthians 13:1-13; I John 4:7-21; and II Timothy 1:7.

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND".

- POWER - To live constructively

- LOVE - To live sacrificially

- SOUND MIND - To live reasonably

Therefore, in Christ we have all things we need to live a Godly life, to develop our Christian nature, to let our light shine to the world, as well as the resource for all of this through our submission to the Holy Spirit's control. What more can we ask, or do we need?

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