Category Archives: Transformation

Made new

As I come to realize that my true homeland is waiting for me, my patriotism gets redefined. As I see that believers around the world are my fellow countrymen, my nationalism takes on a new look. As a Christian, the key word is NEW.

  • I am a new creation.
  • I have new loyalties, new allegiances.
  • I am a member of a new nation, a new heavenly kingdom.
  • I have new responsibilities as a member of that kingdom.
  • I have new countrymen, a new family.
  • My priorities have been made new; my outlook on the world has been renewed as well.
  • I have new hope, new joy, new peace.
  • Love has made me new, giving me a new love for my God and my neighbor.
  • I am a new creation

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21–22)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

“Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)

“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:16–17)

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)

“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” (Ephesians 2:14–15)

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24)

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave” (Colossians 3:9–11)

“But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:8–13)

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13)

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.” (2 John 1:5)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”” (Revelation 21:1–5)

It’s about me, not them

We don’t do the right things because of how that will affect others. We do the right things because of how they shape us.

What I mean is, loving your enemy won’t always make your enemy love you back. Turning the other cheek just might get you slapped a second time. Giving to those in need means that you will sometimes be taken advantage of. A soft answer doesn’t always turn away wrath; at times it just gets you shouted down.

I hear Christians who are afraid to do good things because others might take advantage of them. Let’s get this out of the way up front: you will be taken advantage of. If you trust others, you will get burned now and again. If you reach out a hand, you’ll get bitten sometimes.

But if you don’t reach out, if you don’t love, if you don’t forgive, if you don’t trust, you’ll never become like Jesus.

And that loss is much greater than what any person can do to you.

Our focus determines our outlook

In yesterday’s Links To Go, I included a post from Jay Guin’s blog. He did an excellent series on the mission of the church, and this post was one of the conclusion articles. He made a point that I want to repeat. In talking about the lack of emphasis on personal transformation in our churches, Jay observes:

Here are some quick and easy tests:

  • When your members have more tenure in your church, do they become more entitled and demanding or less?
  • Are your older members harder to please and appease than your younger members?
  • When your members are unhappy, do they voice their unhappiness by economic/power means (withholding money; threatening to leave) or as family (through conversation; persuasion)?
  • When a difficult change is suggested, do the members respond in terms of how this change will affect the members? Or how it will affect the people they plan to invite to church, have a Bible study with, or serve in the name of Jesus?

Excellent point. I differ with Jay as to the misplaced emphasis. He’s says this happens because of the emphasis on personal salvation, which is seen as being achieved through membership and attendance. I would argue that it’s because we’ve reduced Christianity to a restoration of the early church, with a focus on practice. I do agree that what’s lacking is an emphasis on transformation into the image of Christ. Rather than encourage people to become more Christlike, we encourage them to be better rule keepers. Too many people in our churches know the five acts of worship better than they know the Beatitudes.

If we spend a lifetime focused on rule keeping, we’ll end up dominated by three things:

  1. A critical nature
  2. A contentious spirit
  3. Fear

If we spend a lifetime focused on becoming like Jesus, we’ll end up dominated by three things:

  1. Love
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Peace

I know which I prefer.