Knowing the truth isn’t enough. It’s a start, but a lot of people know things they don’t act on, and their knowledge has no practical effect in their lives. We implement knowledge first by faith, then by actually taking steps backed by our faith. We act on the truth.

Notice what Paul’s picture of Christ between cross and resurrection implies. We become partakers of His victory over sin, death, and Satan. We join the winning side the moment we receive Him as our Savior. This is a true, objective, historical reality that remains practically irrelevant to us until we ask Jesus by faith to come into our lives, not only to save us but to live in us daily. The Spirit of God comes in, our sins are forgiven, and we spend the rest of eternity “in Christ.” As spiritual babies, we begin the process of transformation, putting away the old and embracing the new, cooperating with God to conform us to the likeness of His Son.

This again goes back to how we see ourselves. If we claim that the Spirit of Jesus is living through us and empowering us but still see ourselves as sinners who are inevitably going to fail, there’s a contradiction between the truth and our faith. We are putting more stock in our experiences of failure than in His victory over sin, death, and the enemy. If we see ourselves as participants in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we can trample on sin, stare death in the face, and live as people who are absolutely convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God. He is working all things together for our good, and we are more than conquerors in Him (Rom. 8:28, 37–39). We can actually know—and very often sense—the power of the Holy Spirit rising up within us to overcome.

That’s why the question about Christian growth and transformation is never fundamentally about whether you go to church, live morally, give to good causes, try hard, and send up a prayer from time to time. Religion is a matter of good, honest efforts to do better. The relationship we have entered into by faith is a matter of a supernatural source empowering us from within based on the authority of God’s unfailing Word. It embeds the divine DNA within us. It takes our old nature into the grave and exchanges it for an entirely new nature from the moment we believe. It gives us a vision of eternal realities, including the truth about who God is and who we are in Him. Since human beings live according to the vision we have, we can stop falling prey to the same deceptions that once blinded us because our new eyes see everything in a new light.

Have you acted on the truth God has given you? If you have asked Him to be your Savior and Lord, do you see yourself as having died and risen with Him? Are you taking steps daily to live out your new identity, embrace the divine nature implanted within you, and exercise your victory over sin, death, and the enemy? Have you left the acorn behind so you can grow into a strong, fruit-bearing tree?

Ingram, Chip. 2021. Yes! You Really Can Change: What to Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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