Salvation is Only the Beginning

The gospel has the power to transform any person. It is the unconditional, seeking, rescuing love of God that transforms lives.

But, how do we view salvation? Is it a decision that a person makes and then checks it off their list? Is it their "get out of hell free" card? How we answer this question is very important. 

I believe it is the beginning of the task. It is enormously important because according to God's Word, people are either followers of Jesus or they are not. 

Jesus' command was to make disciples of all nations and baptize them. But, the next statement is, "...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." Matthew 28:20. 

I've been reading a great book called, "Real Life Discipleship" by Jim Putnam. I like the aspect of the book that highlights the importance of learning where each person is at in their growth process. 

Here are some excerpts from the book on the spiritual growth process...

People are in different stages of their spiritual growth:
1. Spiritually dead: The person has not been born again into salvation. They are unbelievers without a relationship with Jesus.

2. Spiritual infant: They are a brand new Christ-follower. They are excited, and eager to learn, but are unsure of what it means to follow Jesus. They are characterized by the word ignorance. They might know many things, but they are ignorant of the rules in their new spiritual life.

3. Spiritual child: They understand the basic language of faith. They are excited about their faith. They still act childishly and are often rebellious and self-centered in many ways. Spiritual children tend to do what they do only if they are rewarded or threatened with some kind of punishment. They may do the right thing, but it’s usually to avoid an outcome they dislike or to get something they want.

4. Spiritual Young Adult: At this stage, they have grown tremendously from where they started. They are eager to serve, think independently, and look much like adults; however, they still have much to learn about responsibility and about how to care for the spiritual needs of others.

5. Spiritual Parent: In this final stage of spiritual development, we become mature enough to reproduce disciples. As Christ-followers, we are called to make disciples, to do our part to reproduce faith in another. Adults are able to reproduce, but that does not mean they are reproducing. I know many Christians who have the ability to be spiritual parents but don’t make it a priority.
— Real Life Discipleship

It is important for disciple-makers to understand how to effectively lead people to take next steps towards growth in Christ. By the way, age doesn't automatically equal that someone is spiritually mature. 

Leading people to Jesus is one of the most exciting experiences to be a part of as a Christ-follower. It is even more exciting to see that person grow and lead others to Jesus. Salvation is just the beginning of the race to pursue Jesus. 

Who are you discipling that can in turn disciple someone else? 
Where do you think you are in the spiritual growth process?