Summary: Seven characteristics of real transformation in a man who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ. Transformation of Apostle Paul.
Everybody in this world is looking for a need to change. We believe that men must be transformed for a better future. The fact is, the world cannot really bring about real transformation. Anything the world does in terms of change is superficial. The only way real transformation can happen is through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was on the earth, He was committed to the ministry of real transformation. He was not interested in starting outside reformations. For all of the things that He saw, there may have been political solutions, there may have been economic solutions, there may have been some very just revolutions, but He led none and yet Jesus Himself did more to change the world and men than any man who ever lived. He did more to bring love, peace, joy, justice and equity into a world than anybody who ever lived. And He did it by never doing anything to society structurally, but by only changing the hearts of individual men.
Now Paul spoke about his transformation in Ephesians 2:1-3 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. That's a pretty bleak picture.
Ephesians 2:4-5 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And the transformation is complete in Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
That's the real transformation that the Bible offers to men. Now this transformation occurred in the life of the man Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9. Incidentally, we know only very little about him before his real transformation, but from the little know about him before his real transformation, he was a horrible character. He was cruel, he was hostile, he was strong-willed, he was zealous for his own opinion and if you didn't agree with his opinion, he would just kill people. He was self-sufficient, independent, inflexible, angry, persistent, crusading, unloving, etc., etc. He was everything that a very bad individual would be. But on the Damascus Road something drastic, something divine happened to this man.
Real transformation occurred when he met Jesus Christ face-to-face. In a split second on the Damascus Road, he became exact opposite of what he was. It is absolutely beyond our imagination apart from an understanding of the divine miracle of salvation. Everything completely changed. That's how real transformation operates.
Christianity is a transformation of your life. Once heard a man say, you know, being a Christian is like putting a new suit of clothes on a man. That is not right. It's like putting a new man in a suit of clothes. It's not superficial. Christianity is not a repair job. It's a real transformation. And that's what happened to Saul.
Now this chapter records the real transformation and it gives to us the pattern for the transformed life.
Seven features of real transformation
1. Faith in the Savior.
When a man puts his faith in Christ at that moment he is totally transformed. He is a new creation. However, that is his positional transformation before God. From there you have six other things that take place in the practice of real transformation that follows the positional one.
It's like a child who's born in an instant and when you look at a baby, you don't say well the baby will be all right in a few years because he'll grow an arm and he'll grow a leg and he'll grow an ear. No. When the baby's born, all the parts are there. It's a total creation. It's only a matter of growth within the framework of what it already is.
And so you see, the first one was the creation. It is a perfect creation: Colossians 2:10 Ye are complete in him. Saul was created a new, whole creation. But then there was a process of growing and developing from the moment of salvation and yet salvation is complete.
2. Fervor in supplication.
The real transformation was apparent in the life of Saul because he began immediately to pray fervently.
3. Faithful in Service.
The third thing we saw about the transformed life was faithfulness in service. Like Saul every Christian is saved to serve God. No Christian is ever saved to go to a monastery and lock himself in. We are called to serve.