Your word is a lamp to my feet
Volume 02, Number 26
In this issue:
A TRANSFORMED LIFE
T. Sean Sullivan
Every one of us whether we like it or not, changes. It is very common to "fear change"; we human beings enjoy our "comfort zones".
There are unavoidable natural changes that we must face: We are changed physically by aging-from an infant to an adult, and if we live to see them, "…the difficult days" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). We are also changed intellectually by the experiences of life that we all face. Life brings changes, and there is not much that we can do to resist them.
There are also changes that are made by choice: One can decide to follow a course of exercise to change their body and achieve some ideal of "physical fitness". One can pursue higher education to change and their ability to reason and achieve some ideal of "human intelligence". Life can be changed by choices, and the direction of our desires has a lot to do with it.
There is a passage of Scripture that speaks of change; it provides a significant warning and a blessed exhortation. We learn from Romans 12:2 that some changes are disastrous, and others will take you to greater heights than you can imagine. Let's consider changes spoken of in Romans 12:2, first the warning, then the exhortation, but in between the desire to change for the better.
Many Live a Conformed Life
The word "conformed" essentially involves changing to become like something or someone, in this case, it is changing to become like the world.
By the nature of "right" and "wrong", there must be a contrast between them. However, the Tempter, continuously paints in "grays", and beguiles many into changing toward his darkness (1 Peter 5:8). To conform one's self to this world is to change to become like those of the world.
Why would anyone desire the corruptions of the world, when truth and righteousness are readily available to all of us (2 Timothy 3:16-17)? because the world works on their weaknesses-the sins of the world attract our eyes, focus on the impulses of our body, and appeal to our pride (1 John 2:15-17).
If anyone takes on the changes necessary to become like the world, they are doing so in rejection of God, His goodness, and His blessings. Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Those who reject God and choose the world will not inherit the kingdom of God, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).
The worst result of this choice is a total lack of preparation for the end, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 says, "…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. Such a choice is not an "acceptable phase" or a "temporary rebellion", it is a tragedy that must be avoided at all cost.
When one finds themselves conformed to this world and receiving the results of sinfulness they must seek to be reformed.
All Need a Reformed Life
When we find ourselves at the bottom, we have nowhere to look but up. This was real life for the Apostle Peter, who denied Jesus vehemently (Luke 22:54-62). Peter did not run away from the faith, he looked up, determined to be reformed and stronger and that is so clearly portrayed in his inspired work known as 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 1:6-9, he proclaims the challenges of life as proof of our faith. In 1 Peter 1:13-21, Peter declared hope as only found by trusting God. Then 1 Peter 4:1-2, Peter says Heaven is worth all measures of self-sacrifice.
Reforming one's self must be a complete departure. We cannot "cut back" or "slow down" our sinning, we must shun it all together-knowing that sin prohibits our future hope of Heaven (Revelation 21:27). We must rid our life of sins entirely--taking a determined stand against present sins and future temptations, as well as, seeking to be cleansed from the sins that separate us from our God. We must stop the practice of sinning-repent (Luke 13:1-5; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9). We must also be cleansed-through baptism (Luke 24:44-47; Acts 2:38-42; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Through cleansing, we are blessed with a fresh start, the newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).
Our reformation of life brings us to the goal of a transformed life.
So, We Can Live a Transformed Life
Once we reform our life to align with God's will (Matthew 7:21); we will discover the joy of a transformed life. There will certainly be relief and joy in the moment -like the eunuch of Ethiopia, who went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:35-39).
A life transformed will be a life that delights in the constant joy of having a better direction to follow (John 14:6; 1 Peter 2:21-23). The joy of continuously growing in understanding (1 Timothy 4:13, 15-16; 2 Peter 3:18). The joy of gaining and maintaining a confident expectation of, "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3).
Everything we must leave behind would have only destroyed us, but our new way will lift us up to continuous joy. There will be reasons to rejoice every day (Philippians 3:1a; 4:4). We rejoice in the appreciation of freedom (John 8:31-32). We rejoice in the confidence of truth (James 1:17-25). We rejoice in the hope of everlasting glory (1 Peter 1:6-9).
Romans 12:2 says, "…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Do not let the world take you down to destruction. Look for the change that arms you against sin and sinning. Discover, and enjoy, a transformed life away from sin.
The last part of Romans 12:2 speaks of "proof". A transformed life proves just how good God's will is. When we demonstrate our transformed life, we prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God, to all those who are willing to see.
Where are you today? Still holding on to the world, hoping it will get better? Perhaps you are tired of the same old dead-end way? There is a good, acceptable, and perfect way to be set free. The opportunity of being reformed and transformed can begin with your determination to choose change by first obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. That opportunity is yours, right now.
Walk in Christ’s Commandments
4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Beware of Antichrist Deceivers
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
Created by John Bass, last updated. 06/27/2023
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.