“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
George Barna has written a great little book that is entitled, “Maximum Faith: Live Like Jesus,” in which he deals with the subject of genuine transformation. Barna spent six years studying how Americans become Christians and how their lives are transformed by God. What he found to be true is that a majority of those who profess to know God demonstrate very little, if any, transformation of life. He discovered that though America is very religious, very little of American faith is transforming. Barna writes, “As the data will reveal, literally tens of millions of [professing] American Christians have denied God His rightful place on the throne of our lives and withheld control of our lives so that we, not He, can reign supreme, all under the cover of being ‘good and responsible’ Christians.”
QUESTION: Have you been radically transformed by the power of Jesus Christ?
Scripture teaches that salvation in Christ is transformation. It is the work of God in creating something new. Where there was death, salvation is the birth of new life. Where there was darkness, salvation is the entrance of new light. Make no mistake about it: salvation is not simply renovation; salvation is total transformation. It is not the mere addition of ‘religion’ into one’s already crowded schedule. Salvation is the life of Christ in you. As Paul writes in this verse, ‘old things’ have passed away and all things have become new. Sin has been cleansed and forgiven. No longer does the person live for himself. He or she has been given new life in Jesus Christ that loves and adores Him. Because they have been transformed by Jesus, they love things that they once hated and hate things that they once loved. They have experienced a transformation of “want to’s.” Because of God’s Spirit living within them, they now love what God loves and hate what God hates. There is an overwhelming desire to please the One who has given them this new life. They love God’s people. They have passion for God’s mission of reaching the world and making disciples of all the nations.
It should be understood that we are totally incapable of transforming ourselves. There is a difference in change versus transformation. Granted, there are some things that we can ‘change’ about ourselves. I can change where I go, what I wear, what I eat, and what my habits are. Change, however, deals with superficial and external things. Transformation, on the other hand, is the work of God. Transformation deals with the heart and that which is internal. Jesus doesn’t simply ‘change’ us. Jesus transforms the one who has placed his or her trust in Him. Because a new birth has taken place, there is now a supernatural appetite for the milk of the Word. Spiritual growth begins to take place whereby one is conformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. As I am surrendered and obedient, God conforms me into the image of Jesus. When I am disobedient, God convicts me and breaks me so that I can be conformed into the image of Jesus.
We must desperately long to see transformation growth in our churches today. For the most part, the church is growing by sheep moving from one pasture to the next. Disciple-making rolls up its sleeves, takes the gospel to those who are lost, and seeks to introduce them to Jesus Christ who can transform them by His grace. Disciple-making means that we who are transformed by Christ live for the express purpose of seeing others transformed by Christ. Just as Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost, so also must we as His followers go to those who are in desperate need of His salvation.
“Father, thank You for the transforming power of the gospel. The gospel of Your Son is the power of God to salvation to all who believe. May we as Your people live to see others transformed by Your power. Give us a great burden to see people saved and to make disciples of the nations! Amen.”