Now that we’ve unpacked the process of spiritual formation, it’s time to explore how God does all of this. This diagram is based off of one done to explain Wesley’s ordo salutis, or order of salvation (even though Wesley never systematically wrote about theology). The point is, if we have a basic understanding of the way God has and does generally work in our lives, then we can see how we ought to respond to His grace.
I will dedicate future posts to writing about each of the steps on this staircase of grace, looking at relevant Scripture and theology, as well as implications for the church.
Does God work in these ways all the time? No. Is spiritual formation tailored to fit each person? Probably not as much as we’d like. The church has recognized the need for conversion, for ongoing repentance and growth in grace, and in the holiness movement, a second work of grace in a crisis moment of entire sanctification. The church has found several catalysts to be trustworthy means of God pushing us more toward Christlikeness.
Implications for the Church
1. The church can strategically pray about and become a catalyst for spiritual formation. We all know that church attendance does not equal Christian maturity. The lack of a direct correlation does not then lead us to reject church attendance, but forces us to pray about the ways we’re leading the church into Christian community, how we’re preaching with compassion through suffering, which spiritual disciplines (even beyond Scripture reading and prayer) that we practice together, what kinds of personal ministry we call people to, etc.
2. Putting off and putting on is not all there is. The Christian life is more than a Romans 7 struggle with doing and being. Just as we challenge believers to grow in Christ, we can also challenge them to recognize God’s grace leading them to a time of full surrender. God enables a singleness of intention, a heart that desires what God desires and loves as God loves.