Of all things of which the church is most languishing in this hour, one of the most pronounced is spiritual conditioning. It is as if many come to Christ by merely signing a membership card and therein in error believe that they have just attained their passport to heaven. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Pastors must make every effort to equip the church much as an athletic trainer or coach would equip their athletes and teams to be physically prepared for the ensuing contest. Sadly, many join churches and become active in choirs, soup kitchen and benevolence ministries, and church activities of all sorts, yet lack the necessary experience of seeking forgiveness, repentance, obeying the Lord’s command to be baptized and to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In fact, some scoff at the thought of entertaining such religious nuances. And being almost Christians, they believe that they can almost get into heaven.
It was not by mere implications that Paul wrote to the church at Philippi to “work out” their salvation with fear and trembling. And if Paul was telling them to “work out”, he was telling them that their salvation was an ongoing, growth producing process. It was to say that where they had begun in their faith, must grow to fruition. That cannot take place apart from continuing steadfastly to bring their faith to completion.
Remember Paul’s final words to Timothy when he wrote that he had fought the good fight, he had finished the race, he had kept the faith, and therein he was assured of that which was awaiting him in heaven? Now fighting the good fight and finishing the course is his declaration that the Lord has granted him the grace to complete actions with guaranteed results. None of that which Paul had experienced was maintained merely by the Damascus Road experience back in Acts 9. Paul pressed on. Paul studied as he had encouraged Timothy to likewise do, to diligently show himself approved to God. (2 Timothy 2:15) It implied that Timothy, along with all Christians, must zealously persist in seeking the depths and the riches of God’s grace.
If you have set aside, or perhaps never even picked up the barbells of the weighty treasures of God’s Word, don’t you think it would behoove you begin today? Spiritual conditioning is required.