Summary: The Lord does not merely help us fix up our lives or amend our ways; he transforms us into a new creation and wants us to spread this transforming message. But first, we must look more closely at this transformation.
Transformed, Not Merely Reformed
1. Last week, many of you experienced power outages; transformers were exploding
2. Transformers increase (step up) or decrease voltage (step down).
3. It is more efficient to send electricity long distances at a higher voltage, and then to step it down before it enters our homes.
4. Our text does not use the word “transform.” But the concept is there.
5. We are called a “new creation.” We have exchanged our old life for a new life, not merely adjusted or reformed; instead we are a new creation, transformed.
Main Idea: The Lord does not merely help us fix up our lives or amend our ways; he transforms us into a new creation and wants us to spread this transforming message. But first, we must look more closely at this transformation.
I. Our View of CHRIST Is Transformed Once We Are Transformed (16-17)
A. Our view of LIFE has changed
1. Our worldview used to derive itself from society, our peers, our family – according to the flesh
2. Now we look at things from a Scriptural viewpoint, God’s perspective – according to the Spirit
B. Our view of JESUS has changed
1. When you date a person, you have one view of that person; when you marry that person, you have a different view
2. When we hear about Jesus, we gain one perspective; when we surrender our lives to him and come to know him more deeply, we have a different perspective.
C. We have become a new CREATION
1. The New Heaven and New Earth are technically the “new creation.”
2. New desires, different values, different worldview, different goals in life
3. Our souls belong to that era; we are previews; souls now, bodies later
Romans 8:22-23, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
• Imagine if you were transferred back in time to 1920. You would be out of place. No cell phones, computers, long distance calls expensive, no air conditioning, automatic transmissions, CD players, jet planes, or even TV. The ballgame stands would be populated by men only, dressed in dark suits and straw hats. You would be out of place.
D. The practical manifestations are WORKED OUT as we grow
II. God Is the One Who INITIATES Our Transformation (18-19a)
A. God is the direct CAUSE of the all the above changes
B. God RECONCILED the world to himself through the Messiah
1. Reconciliation implies a change in relationship
2. It refers to God’s disposition toward us; he offers his hand
3. But reconciliation is two ways: we must take his hand, receive him
4. God’s reconciliation is dependable: My friend Joe’s dad, Vito, didn’t speak to his brother for twenty years…
C. Christ did this despite our many TRESPASSES
• Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
D. God provided the OBJECTIVE basis of salvation for all
1. The Reformers agreed with the Roman church that Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, the objective basis of salvation
2. Where they disagreed was on the Subjective; how do we make salvation ours? Through sacraments and the church, or by faith alone?
3. Yet, nowadays, many professing Christians no longer believe that Christ died to pay the penalty of our sins…but the truth does not change…
III. God ENTRUSTS the Transforming Message to Us (19a)
A. It is a message of RECONCILIATION (19a)
B. We are AMBASSADORS who implore (20)
1. Paul is exemplifying how to win people for the spiritual
2. Paul is challenging the carnal to examine whether they are saved
2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
3. Paul suspects some in their midst are not yet converted
C. The heart of our message: the great EXCHANGE (21)
This is exemplified in Zechariah 3:1-5,
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?" Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, "Remove the filthy garments from him." And to him he said, "Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments." And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.