IMPUTATION AND TRANSFORMATION

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

IMPUTATION AND TRANSFORMATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Š Copyright, 960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Jesus Christ kept the Law of Moses perfectly and then died to pay the penalty for our transgressions of the Law. Because of His atoning death God is willing to forgive the sins of any individual who asks for forgiveness in Jesus' name.

Once our sins have been forgiven God is able to impute (ascribe; assign) righteousness to us even though our behavior has been and yet is abominable in God's sight. Righteousness is behavior that is acceptable to God.

Imputed righteousness has been preached and taught throughout the world. Now it is time to emphasize transformation, the second great dimension of the Christian salvation. Transformation includes redemption from the hand of the enemy and also the growth of Christ in us until we are in His image and abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Salvation

Imputation Transformation

Redemption Growth in the image of Christ and in union with God through Christ

The Work Assigned to the Firstborn

Conclusion

IMPUTATION AND TRANSFORMATION 

Introduction

Jesus Christ kept the Law of Moses perfectly and then died to pay the penalty for our transgressions of the Law. Because of His atoning death God is willing to forgive the sins of any individual who asks for forgiveness in Jesus' name.

Once our sins have been forgiven God is able to impute (ascribe; assign) righteousness to us even though our behavior has been and yet is abominable in God's sight. Righteousness is behavior that is acceptable to God.

Imputed righteousness has been preached and taught throughout the world. Now it is time to emphasize transformation, the second great dimension of the Christian salvation. Transformation includes redemption from the hand of the enemy and also the growth of Christ in us until we are in His image and abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

Our salvation includes:

Imputation.

Transformation.

Transformation includes:

Redemption.

Growth in the image of Christ and in union with God through Christ.

Why the emphasis on transformation at this point in the Christian Era?

One way of answering this question is to consider the pattern revealed in the feasts of the Lord. Speaking symbolically, we are now celebrating the spiritual fulfillment of the fourth feast, Pentecost. The feast that follows is the blowing of Trumpets.

The blowing of Trumpets announces the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the entrance of God's will into the earth. This means that imputed righteousness, while it will spare us from the wrath of God, no longer is adequate. The Kingdom of God is not composed of people who are acceptable to God merely by forgiveness but people who have been transformed by the provisions God has made through Jesus Christ.

The God of Heaven has many needs. None of these needs can be satisfied with people who have experienced imputation without an accompanying transformation.

God needs:

A house in which He can rest and through which He can guide and bless His children in the earth.

A wife for the Lamb, a helper suitable for the Lord Jesus.

Brothers for the Lord Jesus.

A royal priesthood that can mediate between God and man.

Rulers and governors over the political entities of the earth.

Judges of people and angels.

An army of disciplined solders who can return with Jesus and drive wickedness from the earth.

A body, a fullness, providing an extension of the Person of Jesus Christ

Teachers who can bring God's laws and words to the ends of the earth.

Various ministries and gifts to bring the members of the Body of Christ to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.

Sons of whom God can be proud.

These are real, practical needs that God has. While we can perform these tasks to a certain extent before we have been transformed, their full, pure, effective implementation depends on our being conformed to Christ's moral image and our abiding in untroubled rest in God's perfect will.

Perhaps the greatest of the several errors of Christian thinking is that these roles will be fulfilled by untransformed people on the basis of "grace." If this were the case, the Kingdom of God would have no substance, no reality.

We must realize, in addition, that going to Paradise will not change us. Sin began in Heaven around the throne of God. Sin began in the earth while the first man and woman were in Paradise.

Living in Paradise will not make us righteous, holy, or obedient to God. But living righteously, holily, and obediently to God will eventually result in our being in Paradise.

We will not be made fit to fulfill the needs God has by our dying, by our going to Heaven, or by the coming of the Lord. Fitness to serve God in His Kingdom can come <MI>only<D> through transformation, and transformation can come <MI>only<D> as we interact with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

We already have spoken of the significance of the Jewish feast of Trumpets as having a bearing on the present emphasis on transformation.

Let us employ another major type from the Old Testament, the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The fourth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Lampstand. The Lampstand corresponds to the fourth feast of the Lord, the feast of Pentecost.

The fifth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Altar of Incense. The fifth feast of the Lord was the blowing of Trumpets. We see these coming together in Revelation, Chapter Eight where the incense from the altar resulted in the blowing of the seven trumpets, the trumpets that announce the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Thinking about the feasts of the Lord, since four is midway between one and seven, we conclude that at Pentecost we are halfway through the program of salvation. We of today are at a midpoint, a turning point. The decision we must make is whether we will attempt to make God our servant or whether we will be a member of the great Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ, the One who is to bring deliverance to Israel and justice to the saved nations of the earth.

God is asking you today: Will you humble yourself, count your own life as finished, present your body a living sacrifice, and begin to do God's will? Or will you cling to your state of imputed righteousness and your gifts and live to please yourself?

This is a decision of extreme importance. It must be made by every believer who desires to move past the Pentecostal experience. There absolutely is no way in which anyone can move past Pentecost without bowing at the Altar of Incense. None of God's needs can be met by people who, although very gifted and accomplished in Christian work, are still self-motivated, who never have laid down their life that they might be raised with Christ.

There is much religious fervor today. The one important issue, as far as God's people are concerned, is that of dying to self-will that we may be raised in God's will. 

Salvation

Salvation is a broad term. Perhaps its primary meaning is that of preservation in the Day of the Lord, the time when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven to establish His Kingdom on the earth. As we contemplate the texts of the Epistles we come to realize that salvation includes much more than preservation from wrath.

Salvation includes imputed righteousness, that is, the forgiveness of our sins and the assignment of righteousness to us—righteousness that would be earned by us were we able to keep the Law of Moses perfectly.

Salvation includes transformation. The Bible speaks of our becoming a new creation, a creation in which old things have passed away, all things of our personality have become new, and all things are of God.

Imputation. The great error of our thinking today is that we become a new creation by imputation, by grace, by mercy, by God's love and favor, or because the Bible says so. This is totally incorrect. The change spoken of in the New Testament is an actual transformation of what we are in spirit, soul, and body.

Imputed righteousness is the all-important first step of our salvation. Christ's righteousness is assigned to us. But here it stops. So often today the definition of grace is limited to "forgiveness" and then applied to eternal life, being born again, going to Heaven, ruling with Christ, and all other aspects of the Kingdom of God.

A swollen grace has become poisonous, supplanting the major works of sanctification, consecration, and glorification.

The transformation, the new creation, is to be actual, observable change. It is not a case of grace, mercy, faith, or any other shibboleth. God wants righteous, holy, obedient people. This is the purpose for the new covenant. It is for this that Jesus Christ died. 

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18—NIV)

The Divine work of transformation includes redemption and growth in the image of Christ and in union with God through Christ. God desires that these two aspects be emphasized and reemphasized in the day in which we are living. Imputation is the first and necessary step. But if it is not followed by transformation God's needs cannot be met. There is no Kingdom of God, because the Kingdom is not in imputation but in transformation.

Transformation. Transformation includes redemption, which is total deliverance from the person and works of Satan, and growth in the image of Christ and in union with God.

Redemption.

Redemption has to do with our deliverance from the hand of the enemy.

It is very important to understand that redemption is as a line segment. This means it has a point at which it begins and a point at which it ends.

Our growth in Christ and our entrance into untroubled rest in God through Christ is as a ray. This means it has a definite point of beginning but no end. There will be no end to our growth in Jesus Christ. It will continue for eternity. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.

It is our point of view that the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the sixth of the feasts of the Lord, has begun today and will extend throughout the coming thousand-year rule of Jesus Christ.

Two major acts were performed during the Day of Atonement. The first act was the forgiveness of sins through the blood of a slain goat. This was part of the atonement, the reconciliation. The sprinkling of the blood of the slain goat portrayed the forgiveness of guilt on which our assigned righteousness is based.

The second act was the portraying of the removal of our sins as the scapegoat, while yet alive, was led out of the camp.

The time has come now for the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur ) to take place. As we have said, the process of redemption, of deliverance, has begun and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Everlasting righteousness will characterize the new world that is coming.

Total redemption includes the absolute removal of sin from the believer, from his spirit, his soul, and his body. The three great divisions of sin are worldliness, the passions and lusts of the body, and self-will. As was true of Jesus in the wilderness, each of the sons of God is tested rigorously in each of these three areas.

Redemption is a finite work. We are to be delivered totally. There shall be no sin in the new age.

The work of redemption has begun now with a firstfruits of the Church. According to our understanding the purpose for the thousand-year Kingdom Age is to redeem the entire Church. The firstfruits, having the birthright, have now a double portion of the calling of God on them. The purpose of the double portion is that they may assist the other members of the Body in the work of redemption.

The strong are to bear the infirmities of the weak.

Here we have a Gideon's army getting the victory for all Israel.

An arm of the Body of Christ will get loose and then untie the rest of the Body.

The Lord will not abandon the weak, the smoking flax, the bruised reeds. Those who put their trust in the Lord will be brought to health and strength. The Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings. His people will go forth and frisk about as calves of the stall.

A little one will become a thousand.

Great doings are afoot today as Christ and His Kingdom draw near to the earth. The important thing is that each believer submit himself or herself to the Holy Spirit in order to participate in the work of redemption, of deliverance from all the power of the enemy.

Our Lord was able to keep the sun in the heavens while Joshua pursued the Amorites. This meant the earth stopped rotating, or the sun moved along with the rotation of the earth, thus disrupting the entire solar system. Whatever took place, incomprehensible power was displayed.

This same Power is willing to deliver you from all the works of the enemy. Only one power remains to be dealt with, a critical power. That power is your own unbelief and disobedience.

Do not draw back in unbelief. Do not think about your own body now dead in sin. The Spirit of God will direct you, one city at a time, as you put to death the deeds of your body.

Chances are, if you are reading this the Spirit already has begun to make you, perhaps an experienced Christian, aware of the sin in your life.

Ask God for a report card and see what happens.

Imputation without deliverance fulfills the needs of man without fulfilling the needs of God. If the individual forgiven and righteous through imputed righteousness refuses to take part in the program of deliverance, insisting on maintaining his own sinful personality, then he is living in disobedience to His Father and will not go unpunished.

God will permit no sinners in His new world of righteousness, in His Kingdom, not by grace, mercy, faith, or any other substitute for righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

To misunderstand this is to misunderstand the Divine salvation and the nature of the Kingdom of God.

In numerous passages the New Testament warns the believer of the consequences of continuing in sin. 

Growth in the image of Christ and in union with God through Christ. Let us speak first of the image of Christ and then of union with God.

As we have stated, growth in the image of Christ and in union with God through Christ will increase for eternity. Deliverance from sin is a finite work. It has a definite conclusion, an omega, and a finish. However, our growth in Christ and in the rest of God will continue into the eternity of eternities. What a wonderful prospect!

One day we will be just like our Master, Jesus, although He always will be unique, having come from eternity and being our Savior and Lord.

Yet we are destined to be in His image according to the unchangeable Scripture. We have been predestined to be in His image. 

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29—NIV)

The opening chapter of Ezekiel reveals the external glory of the Lord while the temple of Ezekiel, in symbolic terms, portrays the internal character of the Lord. We must be like the Lord Jesus internally before it will be granted to us to be like Him externally. 

"The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way." Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple of the LORD, and I fell facedown. (Ezekiel 44:3,4—NIV)

Such verses as the above, and the passages concerning the guardrooms, the stone tables of sacrifice, and so forth, are referring to the inner character of the believer who has been conformed to the image of Christ.

The Prince, Jesus, is the only One who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the Presence of God. The Glory of the Lord fills us when Jesus Christ is eating bread and worshiping the Father in us.

We must have guardrooms and be experienced in the devices of the enemy. We must have created within us the stone tables of sacrifice. All we are and possess must be offered continually to the Father. He will have no idols vying for our attention and affection.

The outer image reveals in a glorified manner what has become true of us inwardly. Remember, this is not going to be accomplished overnight. We have all eternity to grow in the image and likeness of God. 

Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10—NIV)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect Man, Lion, Ox, and Eagle. To be in His image we must have these four personalities formed in us.

We must be perfect as the man. This means we have a heart of compassion and love, being filled with moral righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God so God may find rest in us, in His chariot.

We must be perfect as the lion. We have many enemies and through Christ we are to govern them all. The individual who fears man or Satan will end up denying His Lord. The first class of people over whom the Lake of Fire maintains authority is the fearful.

We must be perfect as the ox. We must learn to work, to bear burdens, and to do so sacrificially. As was true of the oxen of Elisha, we must work in order to provide food and then be sacrificed to the Lord. Our God is a burden bearer!

We must be perfect as the eagle. God has not called us to grub in the mud of the earth. Our church life must never become a routine, a business. We must pray continually so that our spirit soars before God.

Each one of us has one or more parts of our personality that must begin to grow and develop. To come short in one of these four principal areas is to be incomplete in the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Christ is Son of man, very man of very man, filled with compassion and holiness.

Christ is the Lion, the King of all kings. We are to rule as kings with Him.

Christ is the Ox, the Burden-bearer for the sins of mankind. Finally He was offered as a sacrifice. We too must bear the burdens assigned us on behalf of the Body of Christ. We must share His sufferings.

Christ is the Eagle of God. All night in prayer He soared in the heavenlies, for He was to come down on the new day to face the perversity and treachery of those who were religious but not godly.

Even today we have people who are members of the Christian religion but who are not Christians. They have never turned aside from their own life. They have not taken up their cross. They are not under the discipline of the Master and are not growing in His image. 

The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. (Ezekiel 1:16—NIV)

The wheel in the middle of a wheel reminds us that Christ is in us and we are in Christ. 

Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around. (Ezekiel 1:18—NIV)

To be able to see is the gift of God and it is given only to the righteous. The wicked are blind and walk in darkness. 

I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:27,28—NIV)

Compare: 

But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18—NASB)

As we behold the likeness of the glory of the Lord we are transformed into the same likeness and image.

This fulfills the original Divine fiat concerning man, that he would be in the image and likeness of God.

We certainly are not there yet. But we have all eternity to grow into the image of our Father.

The only Man who fulfills the original Divine pronouncement concerning man is the Lord Jesus Christ. When His Bride is made in His image we will have Man as God intends for Him to be, male and female.

It is a grand plan and all the resources of the Godhead are bringing it to pass.

We have just discussed image. Also included in the work of transformation is our growth in union with God through Christ.

Union with God through Christ is as important as growth in the image of Christ. To be in the image and likeness of God and not be in union with God is a terrible fate indeed. It means we are another satan in the universe.

Satan desires to be like the most High. But he has no intention of being in union with the Most High.

There is a great danger in the Charismatic move of today. It is that the believers are seeking power. This will lead only to participation in the False Prophet. They also are promoting reconciliation with each other. This can be wholesome, but if the individual believers do not seek first a fiery union with God through Christ, the result of the reconciliation efforts will be another babylon (man-directed religion).

What we should be seeking is union with Christ, to be part of Him, to live by His Life. Then all the power we need will be available as we need it.

But to seek power of itself is a very wrong pursuit.

The Charismatic believers are at a fork in the road. Either they are going to try to use their gifts to save the world or they are going to submit themselves to Christ so He can use their gifts as He will. It is impossible to move past the Pentecostal experience until we decide to become part of the Servant of the Lord.

We must as an individual come to the Lord. We must renounce all of our religious ambition. We must tell the Lord we are laying our gifts, our ministry, our very life at His Feet to use as He will.

If we become a great leader, fine. If we are never heard of again, twice fine.

Christ is the Vine and the only Vine. We are to be branches from that Vine. Only then do we bear eternal fruit, the right kind of fruit.

Beware of trying to be God's man of faith and power. Flee from people when they attempt to exalt you. Get yourself out of the picture. Go to the Lord and ask Him to forgive you your self-seeking, your attempting to use His Glory for your own aggrandizement.

How wonderful it is to abide humbly with the Lord, out of the spotlight. How wonderful it is to walk with the meek and lowly of the earth. The waters of Shiloah run softly.

But woe to the individual who is seeking the power of Christ. He wants the horns of the Lamb but his voice is that of the dragon. In back of all his religious talk there is a leviathan. His name is self-seeking. He will murder Christ whenever and wherever He appears, all in Jesus' name of course.

The only way to keep from being deceived, the only way to keep under the shadow of the Almighty, is to humble yourself, to become nothing, to keep running to the Lord for every detail of life.

If we are to be transformed we must keep going to God for every detail of life. We are full of inertia, full of momentum. We can't go and return as a flash of lightning as a chariot of God should because we are so bent on our own way. We are not seeking God in everything. We are not bringing everything to Him in prayer.

We are in a hurry to force our own way on the earth. We must learn to abide. We must come up out of the wilderness of problems learning on our Beloved. Only then are we in the program of transformation.

We are to be one in Christ in God and one with all others who are one in Christ in God. We are to be part of Christ, part of God.

This is not to say we are God. It is to say that God is making us part of His Person just as Jesus Christ is part of His Person. To deny this is to deny the plain Scripture, to stagger at the promise of God.

To deny the plain Scripture in the name of rejecting blasphemy is a false humility. God will not accept that any more than He will accept presumption. To believe what God has said, no matter how majestic the promise, is righteousness in God's sight. The believer who puts His trust in God's Word will not go away empty. But those who sit in the seat of the scornful, as many do today when faced with the mighty promises of the Scriptures, will inherit a desert of salt and scorpions.

Man was created by the Lord to be the throne of God—nothing less than this, the very throne of God. The creation of man is God's answer to the arrogance of those angels who, becoming puffed up with pride, ambition, and presumption, left their first station. God is showing them He can take the dust of the earth, burn it in the fires of suffering, and make of it a holy nation of ruling priests who then will judge the angels and govern all the works of His hands. 

The Work Assigned to the Firstborn

The firstborn son is given a double portion of the inheritance so he may provide for the family. It is of note in the fifth chapter of First Chronicles that the right of the firstborn passed from Reuben to Joseph and his sons. 

The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)— (I Chronicles 5:1,2—NIV)

We note also, in the above passage, that a ruler came from Judah.

There is deep symbolism here. If we go over to the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel we find a passage about two sticks. 

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37:16,17—NIV)

One stick represents the Ruler from Judah, Jesus Christ. The second stick represents the right of the firstborn given to Ephraim on behalf of Joseph. Ephraim was born of a Jewish father and a Gentile mother. Jacob prophesied that Ephraim would be the father of many nations, not just the one nation of Israel.

Paul tells us that the two sticks, the cross, have removed the "dividing wall of hostility" between the Jewish elect and Gentile elect. 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16—NIV)

The two sticks symbolize the cross of Christ by which Judah (the elect Jews) and Ephraim (the father of many nations, signifying the elect Gentiles) become one new Man.

In choosing Joseph as the firstborn the Lord passed over several older brothers. We need to remember that Reuben lost the birthright because of moral sin. Joseph was a savior of many nations, including his own family, and the right of the firstborn became his.

The interpretation is that God's firstborn, after Jesus Christ, will be composed of elect Jews and Gentiles and they will be, as was true of Joseph, the ones who will preserve the family of Israel as well as the Egyptians and the rest of the world, so to speak.

First the elect must be discipled by the Word of the Lord. This is how they are transformed. We must keep His commandments. If we love Him we will keep His commandments. When we patiently keep His Word He protects us from the temptation in the world. When we keep His Word the Father loves us and Christ and the Father make Their eternal abode in us.

The Lord Jesus Christ is first and foremost of the Firstborn. After the Lord Jesus comes the firstfruits of the Church, set forth in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

We have written so much concerning the division of the Church into Zion, and then the remainder of the Tabernacle at the high place in Gibeon, of Gideon's army, of the three anointings of David, and so forth, we will direct the interested reader to these books (The Firstfruits of the Bride), for example.. Suffice it to say that clearly written in the Scriptures is the concept of a firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb who will, we believe, assist the remainder of the Bride in the work of redemption and of change into the image of the Lord and rest in the Father's will.

In order to discuss the work of bringing the firstfruits, the remainder of the Church, and finally the nations of saved people to a lesser extent, into the image and will of God, we must refer back to the Great Commission.

Although the Great Commission is frequently quoted as our need to go forth to persuade people to "make a decision for Christ," this is not a correct interpretation. The Great Commission is to go to all nations and make disciples, teaching them to keep Christ's commandments.

We disciple people by teaching them. The Word of God comes to the mind and then to the heart. The Word of God, in the form of the body and blood of Christ, is formed in us only as we hear the Word of God, gain faith, knowledge, and wisdom, and then act on what we have heard.

The new covenant is the bringing of the Word of God into our mind and then our heart.

We need to be cautious whenever a move of revival consists primarily of various experiences. Experiences do not disciple us, it is the teaching of the Word of Christ that disciples us.

It appears that the great mass of Christians throughout the Church Age until the present time have received the grace of imputation. Now it is time to begin to think about the Church without spot or wrinkle. The Church will not be unblemished by imputation but by transformation. Therefore a massive work of discipleship, of transformation through the Word of God, is to begin now and continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature sons of God—maturity as measured by the full stature of Christ.

We firmly believe that as soon as God's firstfruits redeemed from the earth (Revelation, Chapter 14) have themselves been transformed by being discipled so that they are without guile and follow the Lamb wherever He goes, God will use them to disciple, to transform, the remainder of God's elect.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is one whole It will be built to perfection by the working of every part.

Then the whole Church, the new Jerusalem, will have the task of transforming the saved nations of the world. Thus the new Jerusalem, the holy city, will be the moral light of the world.

The saved nations will go up to Jerusalem to be discipled, to be transformed by the Word of God. The change in them will be evidenced by the cessation of war.

People are not transformed by a magical grace. They are transformed by learning and then "eating" the Word of God, the Word to the mind and then the Word to the heart.

There are several passages of the Scriptures that point toward the transforming of the Church. 

We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9—NIV)

The above passage is referring, we believe, to the building up of the less mature "sisters" by the fully mature sister mentioned later in the passage.

When we speak of being built up in the future we are not indicating that believers will have a "second chance" to please God. There is no second chance. You have to obey God when He comes to you.

To be "lost" means God has decided to remove you from the program of transformation. He has judged you unworthy of the Kingdom of God.

Please note also that in speaking of our growth in the ages to come we are not suggesting any kind of Purgatory. The concept of Purgatory is that we are not admitted to Paradise until we have suffered in the next world.

When speaking of being discipled, being transformed, we are not referring to admittance to Paradise. We are explaining that until we are transformed we are neither competent nor eligible to assume the roles and tasks of the Kingdom which have been prepared for us. We are not eligible because the Word of God assigns the roles and tasks to the victorious saints. We are not competent because we ourselves are still in need of ministry. We can't rule the nations until Christ is seated firmly on the throne of our personality and we with Him.

None of this has to do with entrance to Paradise but to the operation of the Kingdom of God in the earth.

The Law of God and His Word will go forth throughout the ages to come. All of us will continue to be transformed by it. The victorious saints, the remnant of Jews and Gentiles, now one stick in the Lord's hand, will return with the Lord Jesus to Jerusalem and turn away sin from the Jewish people.

Speaking of the coming to maturity of His Body the Lord said: 

And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

Compare: 

"He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day That we may live before Him." (Hosea 6:2—NASB)

The Church finally will come to perfection. There yet shall be a Bride as terrible as an army with banners. 

Conclusion

Salvation includes imputation and transformation.

Imputation is the assigning of righteousness to the believer on the basis of the forgiveness of his or her sins. The assigning of righteousness is made possible through the atonement made by the blood of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.

Transformation includes redemption and growth in the image of Christ and growth in union with God through Christ.

Redemption is a finite work. Redemption is deliverance from all of the person and all of the works of Satan. The deliverance occurs in spirit, in soul, and in body.

There is a time when redemption begins and a time when redemption has been completed.

Transformation is an infinite work. It has a specific beginning, when we receive Christ, but continues throughout eternity, as we understand it.

Transformation, as we have said, includes redemption from the power of Satan as well as growth in the image of Christ and growth in our union with God through Christ.

Transformation occurs as we are discipled, taught the Word of God, and then act on it. As we act on the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ are given to us in the spirit realm. Christ is formed in us in spirit, in soul, and, when the Lord returns, in body. We are not completely transformed until all we are and do proceeds from the Person of Christ.

As Christ is formed in our personality the Father and the Son come through the Spirit and make Their eternal home in us.

Growth in our union with God through Christ takes place as we learn to look to God's will for every aspect of life, every decision, every detail. It takes a great deal of patient exercise, a continual cooperating with the Spirit of God, until we flow peacefully with the flowings of the Godhead. This is the rest of God and brings a peace that is well worth pursuing.

God is able to rest in us as we learn to rest in God.

It appears that the vast majority of the Lord's people are at the imputation level. They may have gained a smattering of knowledge of God and His ways but the massive work of converting them to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God has not been their experience as yet.

The Scriptures are clear that there indeed shall be a Bride without blemish of any kind, a personage as terrible as an army with banners, a fully mature Body and Bride of the Lamb. There indeed shall be a holy city, a new Jerusalem, and the nations of the earth will glorify God when they see righteousness and praise streaming endlessly from the city of God. Every pot in the Lord's house shall be holiness unto the Lord.

But we know that such glory is not by imputation. If it were, then there would be no new creation, no Kingdom of God. In that case the army of the Lord would be filled with backbiting, gossip, slander, fear, fornication, pride, lying, witchcraft, jealousy, self-seeking, presumption, arrogance, and all the other characteristics of the Christian churches. The soldiers would be marching in great Divine glory and anointed with the Spirit of God but they themselves would be unchanged.

Some Bride this would be! Some holy city! Some army with banners! Some royal priesthood! Some brothers of Jesus! Some judges of men and angels! Some eternal tabernacle of God!

I would rather go live in the woods somewhere with my family than to have anything to do with a city full of people at the imputation level of salvation. Who knows? Maybe Jesus Christ feels the same way.

We think that transformation will come to all of God's people and eventually to the saved nations of the earth.

We think that transformation will begin with a remnant of Jews and Gentiles, and that they, having a double portion of God's Presence, will nourish the remainder of the household of God.

When all of God's Church has been transformed the Law will go forth from Zion (the Lord's warrior remnant, the camp [fortress] of the saints) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, from the beloved city.

The saved nations will come up to Jerusalem to be discipled by the Law and the Word. They will return, beat their weapons into implements of construction and fruitfulness, and live in justice, peace, and security.

The Lord has promised to gently lead those who are with young, that is, those of us who carry the immature and the weak until they are strong enough to walk on the highway of holiness, the only street of the new Jerusalem.

How about you? Are you ready to press forward in the program of transformation? 

"So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth." (Hosea 6:3—NASB)