What Is Transformation?
We must be saved
not only from
but even from
who we are
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
— Romans 12:2
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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
— 2 Corinthians 3:18
As we considered in a previous note, there are two sides to the New Testament teaching of salvation: the “once-for-all” side and the “day-by-day” side.
Our eternal destiny is already secured by our “once-for-all” believing in Jesus. However, the question of where we will spend the Millennium, the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth, will not be settled until we stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10); it depends on how faithful we are to follow Christ “day-by-day” during our Christian life. (See)
As we follow Christ, we will experience what the Apostle Peter refers to as “the salvation of soul” (1 Peter 1:9); the Apostle Paul refers to it in the verses quoted above as “transformation.” In this way we will be prepared to see the Lord.
Our Christian life began when we were born anew; we simply believed in the Lord, and in that instant the divine life entered into our human spirit, the innermost part of our being. The Lord Himself tells us this:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
— John 3:6
At the resurrection, our Christian life will be completed when we are “raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This will also happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet,” as the Apostle Paul tells us (1 Cor. 15:52).
In contrast, our being transformed does not take place in an instant, but is instead a life-long process. This is one of the great differences between the new birth and transformation. So, transformation, or the salvation of the soul, may also be called the “ongoing” aspect of our salvation.
A second difference is that, while the new birth, our initial receiving of the divine life, takes place in our human spirit, as the Lord tells us above, transformation takes place in our soul; as Paul says in Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (The mind is a part of our soul, of who we are.)
Moreover, in this salvation of the soul, we are not only being saved from God’s judgment; we are being saved from who we are. The Lord is working within us to save us from all the corrupt, selfish, and evil things in our inner being, in how we think (our mind), in how we feel (our emotion), and in the decisions we make (our will), so that in all the parts of our being we begin to express something of Christ, rather than ourselves.
This involves allowing the cross of Christ to work in our inner being so that we no longer live according to our “old man,” who has been crucified with Christ; rather, we walk “in the newness of life,” that is, in the newness of the divine life, in resurrection (Rom. 6:1-6). Thus, it is no longer we who live, but it is Christ who lives in us (Gal. 2:20) by His divine life, until He is even “formed” within us (Gal. 4:19).
This is the result of transformation. At this point, when people contact us, they will not merely touch something of our good behavior; they will touch something of Christ Himself living within us and being expressed through us.
What a marvelous, full salvation is this!
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— 17 November 2023 —