Ephesians 4:17, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
A fully justified sinner through the person and work of Jesus Christ has been set apart or sanctified in Him by God’s grace through faith alone. The saved sinner has been completely forgiven of their sins and is a called out one. Called out of the world to the glory of Jesus Christ, a full citizen of heaven.
God doesn’t make defective new creations in Christ, everything He does for His Son is perfect!
A newly born saved Christian now begins their journey of growth by sanctification from God. They grow in the glory of Jesus Christ. Some will have fast growth, some will have slower growth, but this is always to purpose and will and timing of God. We do not know all the workings of God and purposes. Example, your growth could be slowed or given speed depending possibly God preparing you to witness to one individual in the future of which He is also preparing them for! There are some amazing things God is doing!
Your very birth in Christ was deemed by God set apart by Him to a specific purpose, the timing was set by Him. God does not do things willy nilly or haphazardly. He isn’t thinking “I just hope this guy or gal one cooperates with Me” as some put that box around Him think.
A Christian grows from their rebirth. What this means is just because you have been given salvation by grace from God, it does not mean you will be perfect in the flesh. There are sins to repent of, duties to do for the King, enlightenment to come from Scripture, and conviction of sin from the Holy Spirit leading you to holiness and conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ. The fruits now of the Holy Spirit are given to you, and you will grow in each one. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiveness, repentance, all will have growth and maturity.
The accusation comes from the world religions and influenced by Satan which will be “why aren’t you perfect?” Or “God will not save you unless you have 100 percent growth in all the fruits of the Holy Spirit”. The refutation comes simple, no-one will be perfect in the flesh. We are only perfect in Jesus Christ while on this earth by faith alone.
With any growth comes discipline. It is a discipline with God. If you stymie the growth by going back to your former life of sin, God will not be pleased and discipline will come. If there is no discipline, you most likely are not His child.
Discernment of other Christians comes from growth and maturity. If one for example claimed they were a Christian for several decades, yet show zero growth in any fruit of the Holy Spirit, or have not repented of a sin from decades ago, you can discern this person as a false convert or tare in the church.
A seed planted by God grows! Make no mistake about this. It doesn’t stay in a dormant state. The only difference is the rate of the growth in each born-again believer. Don’t compare your growth with others in other words, it will never match the way you expect it to. But there will always be growth in the Holy Spirit!