The Gospel Is . . . Day 2 – The Gospel Is Transformative
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, ESV)
Perhaps you know someone who came to Christ whose transformation after their conversion was jaw-dropping. Maybe they had been an addict or profusely used every cuss word in the book. Or they may have been the life of the party and spent every weekend drunk and sleeping around. You may have thought they would never be interested in the gospel, so why even bother trying to tell them the good news, as they would surely laugh it off.
The truth of the gospel will transform us because when we are converted we pass from spiritual death into life. The Bible says we become a “new creation”—dead to the life of sin we once led and alive in newness of life through His Spirit. Because this happens inside of us, we will naturally change on the outside, what is seen and known by others. That’s why we see those shocking transformations in some who were deeply entrenched in sinful lifestyles, and also in those who were less “wild” but no less sought out by a loving and merciful God. God desires that all would come to repentance and be saved.
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the hearts of God’s people, it should become evident that He is present within us. It should change our demeanor, our words, our actions, our motives, our thoughts, and how we respond to trials and difficult circumstances. When His Spirit transforms us, it’s an attractive transformation—not in appearance, necessarily, but in how the world perceives us. We should be joyful, honest, trustworthy, encouraging, kind, humble, patient, disciplined, loving, and willing to serve others. Honestly, sometimes I can be far more consumed with myself and what I want, which does not accurately reflect the Spirit within me.
If you’re a believer, how has the gospel changed you? What about you would make others assume you belong to Christ? Our flesh desires to have its way to fit in, not stand out, but as Christ followers, the loudest testimony we may have is a changed life that demonstrates Jesus to those around us. Our change may not be as dramatic as some. We may not have been the town drunk, a drug dealer, a prostitute, a murderer, or a home wrecker (but what a transformation that is to see!). Yet no matter what we once were, as Christians we must reflect change for the better. The Bible says that by our fruits (of the Spirit) we are known and recognized as believers, so they must be present to some degree if we truly belong to Him.
While being “weird” isn’t the goal, being transformed into a person that acts more like Jesus is. People who know you well should know you belong to Him. Being changed is a privilege, not a burden. We will continue our transformation until the day of our death, and await the perfect transformation when we receive new bodies in Heaven. Until that day, though, we continue to grow and mature and, hopefully, look more and more like Jesus as we move throughout our life’s journey.