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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Doing Away With Sin, #4
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)
How and When Transformation Is Accomplished
Before we take up the subject of deliverance from the power of sin, let us consider for a moment the topic of moral (and eventually physical) transformation. Is such transformation promised in the New Testament?
When God says "conformed to the likeness of His Son" God does not mean a better attitude toward life is adopted, that more godly behavior is pursued. God means the full power of the Godhead will be exercised in the work of transforming God's elect into the express image of Christ—body, soul, and spirit.
But when and how does such transformation take place?
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)
It can be seen from the above that such change is to be taking place now as we follow the Holy Spirit in the program of sanctification.
Sometimes it is ventured that we shall be "changed in the twinkling of an eye." However, this expression is found in the Resurrection Chapter (First Corinthians, Fifteen) and is speaking of the clothing of the physical frame with eternal life.
And then, in the third chapter of First John, we find that when Christ appears we shall be like Him. But the third chapter in the several verses that follow tells us if we are walking in unrighteousness in the present time we are not of God but of Satan. Again, John is speaking of the outward change that will take place, not of the all-important inward change that is the basis for the outer change.
The inward change takes place now through the many operations of the Holy Spirit as He removes worldliness, lust, and self-will from our personality and creates Christ in us. The outer change will take place when the Lord returns. It will happen instantly, as the Scripture says.
The Lord Jesus has enough power to remove our sins in an instant. But it is not possible to create Christ in us in an instant. Christ in us can be created only over a period of time as we willingly cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the numerous operations that destroy the sin in our adamic nature and fill us with the Nature of Jesus Christ.
Those who are hoping to be changed from a lazy, disobedient believer into a giant of faith by means of a pre-tribulation "rapture" shall experience weeping and gnashing of teeth while confined in the outer darkness. This is what the Bible teaches.
The believers in Galatia had been saved and filled with God's Spirit, according to the text of the Book of Galatians. But Christ had not been formed in them sufficiently, and this was demonstrated by their willingness to return to the Law of Moses.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19—NIV)
It appears the Apostle Paul was expecting such change to occur in the present world, not when the Lord appears from Heaven.
And so Christ must be formed in us, and He is when we diligently obey the commandments found in the New Testament. When Christ is formed in us, then the Father and the Son come and make Their eternal dwelling place in our newly transformed inward nature.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23—NIV)
To be continued.