Transforming New Believers
It is one thing to get a person baptized and filled with the Spirit. It is another to get him assimilated into the local body. And it is still another to get him transformed into a committed disciples of Jesus. Each local assembly needs a deliberate plan for assimilating and transforming those who obey the gospel and receive the Spirit. Ignoring the needs of new believers will retard their spiritual development and inhibit the overall growth of the assembly.
The word “assimilate” means “to absorb groups of different cultures into the main cultural body”. Even though this word does not appear in the Scriptures, it accurately describes what happens when a newly-born believer grows from being a mere church-attender into a committed member of the body of Christ. It is important to understand that assimilation is not an event, it is a process. And it begins by making an organized effort to meet the basic spiritual needs of all new believers.
The word “transform” means “to change the inner nature, the outward form, and the function of someone.” Like, assimilation, transformation is not an event but a process. Unlike assimilation, it is an important biblical term. For example, the Bible says that believers are being “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The word “conform” means “to be of the same inner nature, outward form, and function of someone”. In the Bible, the result of transformation is that believers would be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”. In other words, all believers must change in their inner nature, their outward form, and their function to be like Jesus. This is what it means to “grow up in all things into Him”.
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