God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. Genesis 1:22-23
In the Genesis account, we see that God was not only interested in creating, but He was also interested in allowing His creation to participate in the divine outworking of His plans. God allowed all his creations the blessedness of being fruitful and increasing. He first created everything according to its own kind, and then, once that divine work was completed, He graciously offered his creation the gift of being an active part of His continual work.
So what about us? We too have been made a new creation by God, so how does God allow us to participate in the outworking of His divine plan? Genesis reveals to us that it’s all interconnected with what ‘kind’ each particular creation was made according to.
The fish were made according to their kind, so they increased in their kind. Likewise the birds were made according to their kind, so they increased in their kind. So before we think about how God wants us to be fruitful and increase, we need to remember what ‘kind’ we have been made in accordance with, and praise God that we have been made not according to the fish, or the birds, or Adam, but according to Jesus! By the grace of God, Jesus is our kind!
So if we have been made in accordance with Jesus, then it is Jesus that God desires us to increase it and be fruitful in. We have entered into Christ, and we are all now new creations with an eternal and glorious inheritance, but God has also given us a wonderful gift to participate in his continual work here on earth.
We can participate in God’s continual work by being fruitful and growing, but how does that actually happen? The Apostle Paul testifies to us that it is not through trying to bear fruit, or trying with all your willpower to be better; rather it is something so much more wonderful and Christ glorifying: it is by understanding God’s grace in all its truth!
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. Colossians 1:6
When we take the time to rest with God and allow the Holy Spirit to share more of the wonderful good news of God’s grace, we truly begin to experience the Christ life bearing fruit in us! Remember, the fruit of the Spirit is exactly that; it is the fruit of the Spirit; it is not the fruit of our willpower! We can be confident that the Spirit will produce the fruit that is in accordance with the person of Jesus, when we rest in Christ and allow ourselves to grow in our understanding of God’s grace in all its wonderful truth.
As Christians, it’s important to remember that ‘increasing’ is not about increasing your abilities, or your spiritual disciplines; it is about increasing in your understanding of God’s grace and growing in the knowledge of who Jesus truly is. Just as the Apostle Peter testifies to us as his final words to the church, God desires that we increase in the knowledge of Jesus, and the grace of God that has been given to us through Him.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18