Radical Transformation for those in Christ

TransformationI wonder how accurately we see our radical transformation already realized through faith in Jesus Christ. At this time, I see two immense, deep-seated barriers we must break through in order to help one another experience an accurate answer to the second essential question: “How does God see me now that I’m His follower?”

Two Problems Blocking Radical Transformation:

1. Old Testament Focus:

Our focus may be locked into the post-Genesis 1 and 2 OT (Old Testament) as our launching place for life. The OT is important and God’s inspired Word. Just not our initial focus. We are used to reading a book from cover to cover so many are told to read the Bible like this, cover to cover. I was. Just this week I met with a young Christian who is struggling because he began with the OT. This often skews their view of God and Christianity. First get an accurate view of Jesus in His incarnation. Unfortunately, many strategies for spiritual renewal and growth begin with the OT, such as:

“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

2. Pre-Christian Focus:

Our focus may be locked into our state prior to placing our faith in Christ. This then blinds us to some of the radical transformation that God made at the instant we abandoned ourselves to Jesus by faith. We label ourselves (or let others label us): “I’m just a sinner save by grace” and falsely believe this is an accurate spiritual perspective. I was a sinner. I have been saved by grace. I still sin, but that does not define my identity. One person cataloged thirty-three, God-given, irreversible changes at the instant a person is born-again that define our identity. Note the “such werein 1 Corinthians 6:11 (past tense, already completed!)

God’s Bedrock for Radical Transformation:

1. Begin with the Relational Trinity in our Thinking:

Most of my blogs massage this idea in some way since my website is dedicated to this “mental map.” Where we begin with our thinking radically impacts the answers we come up with. Also, most of what is available under the tab “Bible Resources” has the purpose to return us to this relational Trinity, incarnational, Genesis 1 & 2 high view of God and redeemed humanity. Nothing is more crucial in our spiritual journey…once we have new life in Jesus Christ.

2. Begin with a New Testament Answer to the Two Essential Questions:

One crucial, interpretive key to understand Scripture is: progressive revelation.” In other words, the Bible as a whole is a bit like how we parents raise our children. We would not and should not treat our children at two years old the way we do our teenagers. A two year old could not understand and the weight of life would be too much for those young ones. The OT and the Law are God’s tutor to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:23-25). The OT is vital…crucial…yet still preliminary (note the “greater than” argument in 2 Corinthians 2:3:7-11).

Soak in Hebrews 1:1-3 until the revelation of Jesus Christ radiates throughout our lives. Such a view of Jesus Christ makes it possible to rightly see the Father (John 1:18; 14:6-9). This is our sure foundation to cooperate with the Father, Son and Spirit in the radical transformation process set out for each of us before creation (see Romans 12:1-2 after the incredible chapters 5-8).

Now Use this Mental Map to Interpret the OT.

2 Corinthians is instructive here, although I can only briefly point us to this for our own personal study. I value the OT highly, as Paul does…it’s just not my first priority of study. As I bring a NT perspective (relational Trinity, incarnational, high view of redeemed humanity) to the OT, I clearly see the radical differences between the OT and the NT (although both are God’s divine, unchangeable Word). Notice Paul’s three “even more glorious” comparisons in 2 Corinthians 3:7-8, 3:9-10 & 3:11 leading to the transforming ministry of the Spirit as we behold Jesus Christ.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now Use this Mental Map for Insight to See Who We Now Are:

Here is a very quick window into a very large study, “What is the state of humanity without a personal relationship without God?” and “What is the state of humanity in intimate relationship with God the Father, Son and Spirit?” I have blogged outlines of Romans and Ephesians, two books that will help lay this healthy foundation in our lives.

In short, man without a personal relationship with God is dead, spiritually separated, without hope in themselves. Theologians use the term “total depravity.” Not that humanity always does bad from society’s point of view. They may do a lot to good to their fellow man and woman. Depravity is from God’s perspective. It means that humanity is thoroughly dead, through-&-through every part of us is separated from God, without the ability within to bring life to ourselves. No so-called spark within exists that simply needs fanned. Dead people need a Savior to bring eternal life.

This accurate view of humanity prior to repentance (from my understanding of Scripture) however then often bleeds over into our view of humanity after we come to Christ. This undermines our growth. We were such people (1 Corinthians 6:10-11), but now God made us forever different…and we are growing so our lives reflect it more consistently (theologs call this “sanctification”).

“We become what we behold!” God designed as worshippers to become more like whatever is the focus of the affections of our heart.

What is your life focus? More an OT view of God and man? Not wrong, only preliminary as God raises us. More stuck in your past? True, but past. Or has your focus been renewed so you may experience more radical transformation?

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