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"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God."

(Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)



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Response to an Inquiry

By Charles Strong

 

“If you were God/Jesus what would you consider to be a true believer (first fruits) and how would they behave as a mature Christian?”

 

Ray,

 

Thank you for visiting my website.  Should you be curious about my background, there is a brief “Personal Testimony” link at the bottom of my home page; or you may just click on the following link: Bible One - Charles Strong's Personal Testimony.

 

First, I should of course admit that no Christian is able to place himself in God’s (or Jesus’) place; but still, he can have an opinion coached in his understanding of the Word.  Mine would take the following track.

 

The only criteria for being a “true believer” (i.e., Christian) is “personal faith in Jesus Christ for one’s personal eternal salvation,” which, means that the person has come to the position of realizing his lost condition, has come to the understanding that Christ paid the penalty for his sin, and has made a definite decision to trust in Christ and His work on the cross for his personal eternal salvation (John 3:16-18; 20:31; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; 3:22, 26; Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.)

 

But all of us need to realize that once a person “believes on Jesus Christ,” he, just as he embarked on physical life, is a “babe” (immature) in Christ; and, should therefore grow or progress toward spiritual adulthood.  Not to do so, which is a situation that may apply to any “true believer,” can only mean one will continue in a carnal (controlled by the “flesh” – the “old man” – the “sin nature” that all Christians embody) state, similar to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).  To exist in this “spiritual state” does not disqualify the person as a “true believer,” it only indicates he is an immature true believer.  And to so continue will have consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, etc.) –consequences pertaining to the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ (1,000 years), not for the eternal ages that will follow this period of time.

 

Of course, even mature Christians can stumble spiritually, i.e., commit sin (e.g., Peter [Mark 14; Galatians 2:11]), but which may then be “confessed” (i.e., when one admits to it and takes responsibility for it) and immediately forgiven (1 John 1:9).

 

But as one studies the Word with an “open mind” (and this is key), he will unfailingly progress toward spiritual maturity.  And, as this is done, he becomes more like Christ in his love for God and all brethren.  As a “mature” Christian, his walk will be in the Spirit (you might compare Ephesians 5:18-20 with a companion passage in Colossians 3:16) as he exhibits the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), which is also a walk of “unity” (Ephesians 4:1-3), of “love” (Ephesians 5:2), of “light” (Ephesians 5:8, 11), and of “wisdom” (Ephesians 5:15-17).  In short, it will be a walk of faith in Jesus Christ “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7; Colossians 2:6-7).

 

I must emphasize, such spiritual maturity can only come as one studies the Word (which is today’s manifestation of Christ) with an open mind.  Such will lead to the “salvation of the soul” (Hebrews 4:12; 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9; James 1:21 [cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23]), which is a “salvation” quite different from one’s eternal salvation, i.e., applicable only in regards to the coming Millennial Kingdom.

 

Should you wish to check this out, please read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood which may also be accessed on my site Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.

 

Well, Ray, I hope I’ve given you something to seriously think upon.  I thank our Lord for your quest for truth.  Please feel free to write me anytime.

 

In Christ,

 

Charles

 

Bible One by Charles Strong

 



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