106.0 The Long Look: When we take a general overview, we discover that the redemptive journey actually has three phases. The first, of course, is the Reconciliation Phase. This is certainly the most familiar phase. Before anything else can occur, we just need to experience God's forgiveness through the Cross of Christ.
106.1 Renewal: The second phase is the Renewal Phase. This is the restorative phase. This is where we start to get our messed up emotional, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual "wiring" straightened out. And it is in this phase that Christ deals decisively with the Residual sin problem.
106.2 Fruitful: Finally, there is the Fruitful Phase of the journey. After God forgives us and straightens us out in a thousand ways and empowers us over sin through the Living Christ, we move on to other important things. Specifically, we start to focus on producing something of value to God: Character Fruit.
This "fruit" is actually new and beautiful character traits that are generated in the believer by the power of the indwelling Spirit Christ. Paul mentions some of the fruitful traits of this Christ empowered character in Galatians, chapter 5, where he says,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." So, in this third phase the believer is defined mostly by these new, fruitful expressions of character in his or her life.
We should note that these three phases of our redemptive journey are not perfectly distinct. They are somewhat distinct in that forgiveness is the dominant issue early on, then renewal becomes dominant, then finally, fruitfulness. But, there is certainly some overlap and mixing of these issues during the overall process of the redemptive work.