Even evangelical Christianity is infected with the notion that there is a special, sinless life that comes as a result of a mysterious, spiritual step that produces an immense, one-time gain in our lives. The Christian faith itself is not unaffected by the influence of sub-Christian doctrines, and we are living in an age in which this effect continues to grow. The doctrine of instant maturity is one of them.
Paul believed no such delusion. Speaking of his own situation, he says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect [mature]: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12). Christian sanctification comes to us in a positional sense instantly and totally when we receive Christ. Progressive sanctification is a daily and laborious task and will not and cannot be fulfilled so long as we live in a sinful world.
That is indeed the way God has ordained it. Earth is like a university, and our course of study will never be complete so long as we live on this campus. The moment a person believes that he has achieved an exalted plane in life, at that moment, the evil one has successfully cut off the educational process that alone can perfect real holiness in life.
How many millions of Christians have been fixed in a state of tragic immaturity because they have believed a doctrine of instant perfection that has no basis in Scripture? Spiritual infants populate our churches and become problems because they have not continued to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Finally, the doctrine that the pursuit of God is a pointless errand has been the great inhibition to Christian evangelism. Of those who neglect or refuse to receive Christ as their Savior, the largest portion do so because they believe that the way to fulfillment is along another road. They pursue business achievements, personal pleasure, prestige, or other forms of human accomplishment as the path to success as they perceive it. Each individual who is not a Christian believes that there is a more valuable course to follow in life than the spiritual one.
Millions in their spiritual blindness believe the satanic doctrine that there is another path to destiny beside receiving Christ as Savior and growing in the Christian life. Satan makes the world appear to present great promise, but once again, this is a promise that cannot be fulfilled. He promises, but he does not perform.
Despite this lack of performance, people continue to believe that the path to destiny is in some other direction beside God.
Deciding against the will of God for their lives, they move into wasted years and a lost eternity.
They discover too late that the only purpose worth pursing was the exciting plan that God has for their life. To believe any other point of view is to be subverted by a satanic doctrine.