Nine month Sandy Update today from Pastor Tim McIntyre from Oasis Christian Center on “God in Our City”. 11:00 A.M. on WMCA 570AM or at www.wmca.com
It’s about transformation…
There are many ways to think about this thing we call the Christian life. It is admittedly very difficult to summarize our Christian walk in a few phrases, harder still in a word to two. I think, however, that if I needed to summarize it in one all-encompassing term I would use the word transformation. This word, in my opinion, sums up the Christian experience. It is what the Christian life is all about. Let me explain using a well-known often quoted Scripture.
The apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has past and the new is here.”
This verse shows that the Christian life and its accompanying transformation is an event. The event being spoken of here is that of being “in Christ”. The product of that event is that the individual is a new creation. The New Testament speaks of our relationship with Jesus as being “in Christ”. At the moment someone confesses Christ as Savior and Lord they are “in Christ”. They are united to Christ and given new life and are said to be born again (1 Peter 1:3-5). A Christian is someone who has been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transported into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). This transformative event is called salvation.
This verse also shows us that the Christian life and its transformation is a process. It states that “the old is past and the new is here.” More literally it says “the archain is past, behold (all things) have become new and are becoming new”. This speaks to the whole idea of a process. Each person who confesses Christ as Lord and Savior enters into a life long journey of growth and change. Ephesians 4:22-23 speaks of putting off the old self and being renewed in the attitude of your mind. 2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of being transformed into the image of God through the Spirit of the Lord. Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We call this process of transformation sanctification or restoration.
Finally, the verse implies that the Christian life and its accompanying transformation is a destination. This process will one day be complete. We will be completely transformed into the image of Jesus Christ at a point certain in the future. In heaven I will be who I was created and saved to be. In speaking about our transformation in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Paul says “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” This destination is sometimes called glorification. The hymn writer says it this way;
Then we shall be where we would be;
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Then shall be our own.
Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him ~ Thomas Kelly
This whole matter of transformation is summed up in Romans 8:29-30. There we read, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” This speaks to the absolute surety of the transformation of those who are the Lord’s through faith in Christ. They will be changed, they will experience transformation.
In closing, let me just ask whether or not you have experienced that transforming event of salvation. If not, please seriously consider inviting Christ to be your Lord and Savior today. Let me also ask you whether or not you are cooperating in the transforming process we call restoration. If not, please surrender anew to our Lord. Finally, are you deriving hope in this life from the coming reality of your transforming destination called glorification? If not, plan to get your head and heart around where you and I are headed. The Christian life is about our transformation — the Event, the Process, and the Destination.