23rd August 2013

The Transformed Christian 

“And we all…are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV UK)

Often, when I hear evangelists preach about becoming a Christian, I think about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. First, you have to kill the old man (or the old woman). Then you need a new heart that has to be quickened by the Spirit, as if the Spirit were a divine lightning conductor. Thereafter we add a few bits and pieces and gifts  – let’s call them acquired characteristics. There we have it – the Christian, cobbled together by God the Father, a kindly bespectacled cosmic scientist with white sticky-out hair.

Obviously the above paragraph is exaggeration for effect. Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to understand the relevance of being transformed into Christ’s image. His point was that, although new life in Christ includes who we are uniquely, it is not built on an old, dead structure. It is not a case of revitalizing the old model and forging it into a new one by bolting on the traits of Jesus Christ. Nor is a simple start-to-finish process, rather as the verse above indicates it is an eternal act brought about in Jesus that will result in “ever-increasing glory”.

When you think of how men and women were made in the image of God, of how they were expelled from the garden of Eden and consequently lost all concept of what God was like, and of how Jesus is the image of the invisible God, this all makes sense. If we are to fulfill the purpose of our being made in the image of God, it is to Jesus we turn. We are transformed into his image because Jesus is the only image of the Father.

This transformation is not a make-up job. It’s not a smoothing away of our rough surfaces to make us into nicer, less offensive people. It is something entirely different. It is like being born again. It is becoming like Jesus.

Just as all those years ago humanity was made in the image of God, so now believers are transformed through the Spirit into the image of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

A Christian is not a re-conditioned version of his or her former self. In Christ each of us individually becomes “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Father, thank you that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, that I am being transformed through the Spirit into the image of your Son. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


bible3About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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