Thursday, September 06, 2007

True Transformation

For several weeks now, one of the weekly groups that I meet with has been looking into Romans 12. We’ve discussed the process of renewing your mind, the challenges of taking captive every thought and many other aspects of how to truly grow, mature and walk by the Spirit. We’re about to wrap it all up, but this last gathering really summed it all up for me as I’ve meditated on the verses and spent some time looking deeper into the Word.

What I’ve personally come to is this - we totally over-emphasize salvation. OK, OK, I know that some of you are about to send this blog into your “never visit again” folder. I urge you take a deep breath and let me explain. To be perfectly clear, I am in NO WAY WHATSOEVER saying that salvation isn’t key, vital and absolutely necessary. It is after all, God’s perfect plan to reconcile us back to Himself and invite us into His glorious presence. My point is this, Romans 12:2 states that what “transforms” us is “the renewing of (our) mind”. It doesn’t say salvation transforms us and suddenly makes us “behave” as we should. Salvation in the Greek is “sozo” that is defined as saved, delivered, protected and made whole. In other words, salvation enables me to be transformed. At my point of salvation, I surrender my will, my ways, my desires and allow God to make me whole, which He does without any effort or action on my part. What must now take place is my responsibility – I must be transformed.

This process of being transformed, in the Greek, is referred to as “metamorphose” (fashioned into a new form). It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to immediately understand this concept. It is described as “to change, transform or transfigure”. When most of us think of metamorphosis, we likely think of what a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. A detailed online description of insect metamorphosis states that it’s much more than just a change in appearance or function. It states that it is also “accompanied by a change of habitat and/or behavior". Likewise, we must see changes in our behavior and where we allow our minds to dwell. We have been given a Helper, the Holy Spirit to assist us, convict us and enable us to be transformed, but we must daily, instance by instance choose to renew our minds. Despite my mind needing renewed, I am a new creation seated with Christ in heavenly places.

I believe that herein lies one of the biggest errors of Believers today. Sermon after sermon and altar call after altar call is performed with the understanding that at salvation all of your problems, struggles and mindsets are eliminated and renewed. I disagree… I disagree because I’ve lived it. How many times do we see people service after service after service “rededicating their lives to Jesus”? Time and time again, when I was on church staff, people would say “I just don’t feel any different” or “I’m just not seeing any changes after I got ‘saved’”. Salvation is seen as some magic wand that is to instantly transform our flesh into Christ. We’ve been sadly mistaken. Read Paul's writings, read Jesus’ parables. They are all filled with words to remind us that we must choose, we must lay down our old carnal mindset and put on the mind of Christ. Am I saying that we must toilfully strive and work to no end to bring it about? No. There’s no toiling in submission.

Too often we want to throw off the idea that we’re responsible for anything in Christianity. We somehow have this idea that “Well, isn’t Jesus supposed to do all of that for me?” How sadly mistaken we are to think for a moment that we simply “get saved” and then walk on without any concern or decisions. Transformation is a process – is it a process that you’re in? Are you daily renewing your mind, submitting your thoughts, decisions and actions unto the Lord? It’s time we seek Him in His Word. It’s time we go deeper into what we’re called to do and how we’re to do it. It’s time to be transformed!

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