Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas and Transformation

Another biblical metaphor that is used to describe what God does for us in Christ is transformation. When it is added to deliverance, renewal and forgiveness we see even more clearly the many complications of sin and the many-faceted nature of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It should remind us of something that the apostle wrote in Romans 5:20 (NLT) "But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant."

4. Transformation.
In the Bible forgiveness and transformation go hand-in-hand. This is because Jesus is not only our Saviour but he also our Lord. Jesus does not save anyone that he does not conform into his moral likeness. This transformation begins with our conversion when we turn away from sin and we turn to God in faith. This is not something we can do in our own strength even though we are responsible to repent and believe. We turn to God because he comes to us in power and initiates our conversion. But we do turn. We seek him because he first seeks us and calls us efficaciously to himself. Our commitment to God sets us apart as his. Theologians call this definitive sanctification. We are regarded as holy because we belong to him. We are his people. But this setting apart is never separated from progressive sanctification. As God’s people we are being progressively transformed into the likeness of our Saviour. It does not happen instantaneously and it is never complete in this life. Rather it takes place gradually over time and it is only complete when we stand in the Lord’s presence. Though it may seem like we will never be done with sin, that is not the case. One day God’s work in us will be complete (1 John 3:1-2; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). Jesus did not come into the world just to pay our debts – as wonderful as that is – he came to restore the image of God in us. Sin makes a mess of God’s handiwork. It keeps us from being all that God made us to be. We need to be remade and to be holy and pure to dwell in God’s new creation forever. As a result of Jesus’ work we will not only have a righteous standing before God but we will be righteous through and through. What a great day that will be and all because Jesus came to save us from our sins.

To be continued...

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