Biblical Truth #7: Sanctification (Living the Transformed Life)
Once Christ paid the price for sin, those who believe in Him and put their trust in Him, begin a new life by His power. The Bible describes this “new life” as a transformation. Interestingly, many have analogized the Christian “transformation” (i.e., from “old” self to “new” self) to that of a caterpillar’s “metamorphosis” into a butterfly.
Webster’s dictionary defines metamorphosis as “a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means” or “a striking alteration in appearance, character or circumstances.” Through metamorphosis, the caterpillar becomes a totally new, and much more beautiful, creation.
Metamorphosis compares to the process of change that Christians undergo in becoming God’s adopted children. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” In other words, we are not simply reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated, but we are re-created (new creations) living in divine union with Christ. And in Romans 12:2, Paul states: “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Upon a person putting their full trust in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, he (via the Holy Spirit) invades the believer’s heart, transforming their lives to be more Godlike. The Bible states that God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for his children, and he wants them to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey him. Over time, we begin to develop new perspectives, passions, possibilities, and pursuits. More importantly, we transform from being “self-focused” to being “God-focused”. We transform from being the caterpillar that is completely self-absorbed and obsessed with consuming food and destroying plants, to a beautiful butterfly who sails through the air, flying and pollinating flowers and beautifying the earth.
The Bible refers to the metamorphosis process of a Christian as sanctification, which is a daily and growing separation from our old selves to our new selves in Christ. And this change process is typically a lifelong journey that never ends. Daily application of God’s Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts. And as beautiful and miraculous as this process is, the transformation process inherently involves some discipline and pain. Remember, sometimes God puts us in the fire not to burn us, but to purify us. And sometimes God puts us in the water not to drown us, but to cleanse us. Having a prayerful, surrendering, and God-focused mindset is important.
From Persecutor to Preacher
One of the greatest examples of a transformed life is the apostle Paul. Paul hated Christians and did not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and as a consequence he persecuted Christians constantly by beating them, killing them, and putting them in jail. However, God had a plan for Paul, and through an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, God took one of the most hardened unbelievers and created a beautiful new person out of him. Paul went from being a famous persecutor of Christians to being one of the most famous preachers for Jesus and Christianity. Only God’s transforming power can explain this miracle. And this same transforming miracle has happened in millions of lives over the past two thousand years and continues to this day.
Dying for Truth
Finally, its significant to know that the supermajority of Jesus’ 12 disciples were killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. They continued to defend their faith in Jesus all the way to the point of death because they had personally witnessed and experienced his transforming truth (i.e., about Jesus’ ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and being Lord and Savior). Without this transforming faith, these once man-fearing disciples would have certainly confessed the whole Jesus movement was untrue simply to avoid a painful and imminent death – because one basic human truth is that “people don’t die for a lie”.
Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test:
Q. Have you ever told a lie?
Q. Have you ever stolen anything?
Q. Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
Q. Have you ever lusted over someone?
Q. Have you ever hated someone?
If you have done these things, God sees you as a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, an adulterer-at-heart, and a murderer-at-heart. And this is only 5 of God’s Ten Commandments (a/k/a “God’s Law”). And the Bible warns that on the Day of Judgment, God will punish you in a terrible place called Hell. But, there is “good news”! God is not willing that any should perish. Sinners broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid their fine by shedding His sinless blood on a cross ~2,000 years ago. This means that God can legally dismiss their case (and yours!): “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. Today, repent (turn away from your sins), put your complete trust in Jesus, and confess Jesus as your Lord & Savior… and God will give you eternal life as a free gift.
Contrary to popular belief, being a “good person”, doing “good deeds”, or being “religious” will not get you a ticket to heaven! Many people are hoping God will dismiss their sins because their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. They further hope that because God is “good” he will let them go unpunished and enter heaven. However, because God is “good” he must by nature punish sinners (i.e., God would not be a good judge if he let criminals go free). The Bible states: “There is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) The Bible also states: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) And finally, think about this, if your goodness could save you, Jesus would have died in vain (i.e., for no good reason). The Bible states: “I (Jesus) am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me. (John
14:6) Friends, please don’t “roll-the-dice” and gamble your eternal life on the life-threatening lie that being a “good person” will get you to heaven.
Here is a prayer you can use to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior. It is a suggested prayer – the key is that you are speaking from your heart.
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me turn away from sin going forward. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus into my heart and I confess him as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for sending your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Congratulations! And welcome to God’s family!
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