1. The Holy Spirit is our primary teacher (John 14:26).
2. We grow spiritually by Bible study (Jas. 1:21) and God’s providential testing (Jas. 1:3; 1 Pet. 4:12). God’s Word is a never-ending ocean of discovery, and God gives us opportunities to test what we have learned.
3. We become a Christian by believing that Jesus is the Son of God. At the moment of first believing, we are forever changed. We are justified (declared righteous) by faith (Rom. 5:1), and we are qualified to enter into fellowship with God. From that moment forward, we are forever in-dwelt by God, the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:22). If we die, we will go to Heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-8).
4. Though possessing eternal life, if we sin in this life, we will lose fellowship with God. However, we can regain our fellowship with God by acknowledging our sin to God. John, the Elder wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). As long as we live in these bodies of weakness, we will be inclined to sin, and from time to time, we will sin. We should want to maximize our time in fellowship with God.
5. After believing that Jesus is the Son of God, we are challenged to grow to spiritual maturity. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “[L]et us press on to maturity [teleiotes]” (Heb. 6:1). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature [teleios]” (1 Cor. 14:20). The writer of Hebrews also wrote, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). Please note that Christians must learn to distinguish between good and evil. We must faithfully practice our Christian faith.
6. If we grow to spiritual maturity and remain faithful, we are promised many fabulous rewards and blessings. The Crown of Life is just one example. James, the Lord’s brother, wrote, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (Jas. 1:12). The Christian’s spiritual life and growing to spiritual maturity is all about loving God and our neighbor (1 John 5:2). John, the Elder gives the following message from Christ: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). We receive the crown of life by discovering true living, which is all about loving God and neighbor. As the Apostle Paul taught, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
7. Unfortunately, most Christians fall away from their walk of faith. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1). Paul told the Philippians, “For many walk, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even as I weep, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is their shame, who have their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-19).
8. The Bible makes a distinction between those that believed and those that never believed. However, since the Bible was primarily written to believers, the Bible most often distinguishes between those that believed and remain faithful and those that fall away and retreat from their walk of faith. If we fall away from our walk of faith, we will go to Heaven after we die, but we will miss out on many wonderful blessings in this life and the next. Additionally, we will be disciplined in this life for our lack of faithfulness and lack of obedience.
9. The Word of God challenges us to embrace and enter into a new kind of living, Kingdom Living. The Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality and a future political reality. The Kingdom of God is described as a place of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). The Kingdom of God is a place where we accept and live under God’s authority. As Jesus explained, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). More and more, we should give up independent living. More and more, we should live moment by moment in fellowship with God, accepting His overriding authority over our lives.
10. The New Covenant Spiritual Life can be encapsulated as walking by the Spirit, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, trusting in Christ Jesus, while having no confidence in our inherent capacity to live this new, supernatural way of being (Phil. 3:3; Ps. 119:105). This is the Christian’s new way of living.
11. It is important to remember that salvation is a continuum. It is a big idea with many subparts. It includes the first moment that we believed that Jesus is the Son of God, and it includes our growth to spiritual maturity and our challenge to live, more and more, in the Kingdom of God. It is a place of living more and more under the rule and authority of God. Finally, salvation includes the believer going to Heaven after he or she dies and our hope (confident expectation) for Jesus Christ’s second coming to Planet Earth. We are told to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).
12. The Word of God places an emphasis on the believer being humble and maintaining one’s humility (Prov. 15:33, 18:12, 22:4; Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5). To be humble includes being teachable. Over the years, we will have to learn many new things. Sometimes, we will be required by God to modify our existing opinions. Because we are finite creatures, we will always be learning and growing. Our opinions must be put to the test of Scripture. And periodically, our opinions must be retested. This is an important part of maintaining our humility. We must be willing to test and retest our ideas as to whether or not our opinions are in conformity with the Word and the Spirit.