Summary: How God changes a coward to a conqueror, a fearful man into a rock in His kingdom. Transformation is the difference between our faith and most religions of the world. As a continuous process, perfected on the day of the Lord.
More often in the church we hear testimonies of men and women saved by grace. In various ways we all joyfully testified of what God has done for us. On the other hand to speak of what God is doing in our life at any stage is hard to tell. Therefore the single, most important discerning characteristics of a believer are a changed life. Because it speaks louder than words. It is the process by which God changes a worthless and despised individual into a vessel fit for His use. Also, a fearful and defeated believer into a rock that is not ashamed of what he has believed. A coward into a conqueror. It also shows how beliefs impacts character. Praise the Lord.
This word was first used for our Lord in all the gospel except the gospel of John, Matthew 17: 2, and Luke 9:28-36. It is the Greek word “µetaµ??f?s??” metamorphosis which means to change form or shape”. It is a continuous and lengthy and daily process that begins at conversion, but never reaches perfection in this life, but ends on the day we pass into glory. It is a work that God does and not man. We cannot transform ourselves by any means. And, this paragraph in the epistle to the Romans explains how God does it. Transformation by Him that transforms is what we shall be dealing with in this teaching notes.
In nature the butterfly is a very good example of the process of metamorphosis. It develops from the larvae in stages to become the butterfly. Amazing, isn’t. Just watching the tiny worm so tender and shapeless going through the transforming process is a wonder. This is the same thing the Lord wants to do with us if we allow Him. Also, it can be called the process of sanctification by which God renews the whole nature of the believer into the image of God. It is an act that takes place in the heart and mind. It is not legalistic as some believe and practice, substituting the works of the law for the fruit of the Spirit. It is a spiritual process that belongs to the Holy Spirit. We are all expected to co-operate with Him.
In addition, more can be drawn from this passage. It stems from the fact that it reveals the difference between Christianity and other religion. Also, the difference between the nominal, cultural Christian and the born again, regenerated believer in the Messiah. When we received Christ at the new birth, we also received His fullness and grace John 1:16. Also, as the scripture said Christ in me the Hope of glory. Now, the outworking of that fullness and glory outwardly is what is called transformation. The Apostle in the book of Galatian also spoke of Christ being formed in us, Galatians 4:19 which is a picture of that transformation.
There is also a depth in this verse that we cannot fathom revealing the love and mercy of God. It is like a door that turns both ways, looking back to the previous chapters and forward to the next chapters. In this chapter the Holy Spirit uses many imperatives or commands more than any other chapters of the book of Romans.
The epistles of the Apostle Paul are always structured in divisions to facilitate our spiritual growth. That is, it first declares the doctrine, followed by the application. It does two things, by saying and teaching us how to walk the saying. That is the theology first, followed by the moral application. The Bible says we should be both hearers and doers of the word of God without the omission of either.
There are several question that be asked from this passage, such as:
· How shall I live the Christian life?
· How does God turn a natural life to a spiritual life?
· How can I be transformed and sanctified?
· How can I transit from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness?
· And more questions on making the most of our Christian life and walk.
The answer to most of such questions is supplied in this very chapter. We know much of the person and works of Christ Jesus through the gospel account. But here the Spirit of God takes and show them to us and translate it to life in us. It has the divine and the human side. It has the negative and the positive commands. All pointing to what is impossible with man is possible with God. God says do your part and I will do mine.
The passage begins with verse one with an appeal to present ourselves to God by the mercies of God. It does not ask us to yield or surrender ourselves, but to present. It is saying, first consider the mercies of God as the grounds of presenting yourself to God. God’s mercy is revealed in chapter1-11 of the book of Romans. He saved us, sinners dead in trespasses through His mercy revealed in the death of our Lord for our sins. He revealed His righteousness and justice in the death of His son for us. So, He says look at my mercy and come. The presentation of ourselves to God means the denial of every right and full submission. Also, giving up all claims to myself and abdicating my throne and letting God sits on the throne of my heart.