The responsibility for establishing the new believer does not rest entirely with the evangelistic workers who made the contact. The convert himself must put forth every effort to become well-grounded in his new-found faith. He is a babe in the truth, and will continue to grow into the full stature of Christian manhood only as he avails himself of the means of grace provided for him. The goal ahead is holiness. Spirit, soul, and body must be sanctifled, and the added light he has recently received will vitalize his religious experience.
Growth in Christ will come as the new member makes progress in his private devotions and in Bible study. He must learn to exercise his spiritual powers by using his talents for the salvation of souls, and by participating in the various missionary projects promoted by the church. But growth is not merely defined by these acts of grace, or by the things which he should do as a believer. There must also be a daily discipline in overcoming sin. The whole course of his life must be decidedly changed, while he exerts a resistance toward the evil habits of the past. He is bound to be a bit confused at times by these drastic changes, and will then need the sympathetic guidance of those who are responsible for establishing him in our message. Living a life entirely dedicated to God is not the accomplishment of a few days. It takes time to make a deep-rooted Christian.
After being introduced to the writings of the Spirit of prophecy, the new convert to the faith usually makes rapid progress. But now he will need more direction if he is to learn to understand the proper relationship of these messages to the Bible itself. Zeal is the by-product of conversion to Christ, but if misdirected at this stage, may lead to fanatical tendencies which frequently bring problems to one's family. It is just as much the duty of the Bible instructor to provide wise counsel now as when the believer was facing the Sabbath test. The teacher assumes the role of a counselor, and this requires sound judgment and experience.
Explicit obedience to God brings true soul satisfaction and stimulates the spirit of witnessing for truth. This always stirs up the adversary, and persecution is bound to follow. This is a trial to the young Christian, but it is also a blessing to him. It is his privilege to learn to walk with Christ under all circumstances. If the test is not brought to bear from without, it will come from within. He must learn to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus, and not to expect perfection in the church. To bring home the truth to him that his brethren and sisters in the faith are, with him, just "saints in the making," is sound counsel.
We believe that no one is better fitted to give the new believer the tender and important counsel needed at this stage of his experience than the worker who brought him into the message. To leave the new convert without this help too often causes him to wrestle with the foe when he is not spiritually prepared to do so. When the Bible instructor must be transferred to another community, the pastor who is left in charge may fill the need, provided he is well acquainted with these new people. Wise evangelism today suggests that we strengthen our defenses on this very point. The tendency seems to be to leave our field of labor before these new members have learned to stand firm for truth.