How can people who have trusted Jesus as their Savior live in rebellion against God through inappropriate attitudes and behaviors? After all, at the moment of salvation, a person is given new life; sinful thinking and conduct are characteristics of the old life. And yet old patterns linger. The truth is that all believers live with this dilemma to one degree or another.
Salvation is a onetime act, which God accomplishes in the life of every person who trusts in Christ’s payment for his or her sins. That individual is then guaranteed a place in heaven. But did you know that the Lord wants even more for us than this? The Bible teaches that He predestined us “to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29-30). That’s His ultimate goal. Salvation is the door that opens the way for this process, which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit within us.
This transformation requires submission to Christ’s lordship. He paid for us with His blood, and since we are now His, He has the right to rule our lives. In other words, we received Him as Lord at salvation, and now we must walk in Him (Col. 2:6), letting Him have complete control of every area—every decision, act, word, motive, attitude, and thought. If we don’t, our spiritual growth will be stunted, and we risk falling into a sinful lifestyle.
If you sense little spiritual growth, the problem is probably due to an area that you are keeping for yourself. Only in surrendering it to Christ and letting Him be Lord of your entire life will you be enriched beyond measure as He changes your character, perspective, attitudes, and behavior.