…“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come.”
It does NOT say, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit] AND IS MADE PERFECT AT THE TIME OF SALVATION; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come.”
Salvation is instant, yes. Discipleship? That takes some time.
I have a friend who met Jesus as an atheist. She wanted nothing to do with God, and she had no desire to become a follower of His. Until she ran face-first into His manifest presence as a broken, hurting teenager. Until she found in Him what she’d been trying to fill with everything the world had to offer her. When she met Jesus, her sins were forgiven just like the sins of the 5-year-old that asked Jesus into her heart at an altar.
But guess what? Because nobody took the time to disciple her and teach her, she ended up living after she met Jesus the way she lived before she met Him. This is not a girl who was raised in church and therefore knew she was supposed to be different. She didn’t know the what the Word said about being in the world but not of it. We so often wrongly assume that once a person gets saved, that’s the pinnacle.
When we as Christians expect new believers to act like they have all the answers and have all their stuff straight, we immediately put them at a disadvantage. It’s our job as Spirit-filled, faith-led believers to encourage them, to teach them, to help them understand that receiving Christ isn’t the end of the journey. It’s just the beginning; a beautiful beginning that puts us all on the same path: the path to a relationship with Christ.