It is written, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness], “(2 Corinthians 5:17-21, AMP).
What Paul is teaching us in this Scripture is simple. When we come to Christ (acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior, repent of our sins, and get baptized), something wonderful happens to a person’s life. The heaviness of their past sins is washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The cross paid for it all in full. He will exchange our ugliness with His righteousness. We are no longer bound by those past sins because we are reborn as a new spiritual being that is united in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our old life of slavery to our sin nature has gone and left us, and a new life devoted to Jesus Christ here. This simple understanding is the foundation of understanding what it means to have a new life in Christ. However, this is only the first step in our journey to sanctification. What happens next is understanding how to live a “transformed life.”
This leads me to share a second truth with you, and that is what a transformed life should look like. The first step in this understanding is acknowledging that you are a new creation in Christ. Living a transformed life simply means putting our faith into action. God does not conceal from us how He expects us to live. He wants us to live a holy and righteous life so He can use us. God wants us to be His hands and feet on this earth and to live a life that reflects the sacrifice of His Son.
It is written, “So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self,” (Colossians 3:5-10, AMP).
God’s word gives us a simple blueprint to live a holy and righteous life. Notice that the first words in this Scripture are to “put to death.” This is to highlight that as a new creation with the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we have the strength to put these things to death. We now have a way to combat our sin nature. Our immorality, impurity, lusts, greed, and idolatry will bring the wrath of God upon us because we know better. Having a transformed life means that we walk in reverence to the Lord daily and that we have the humility required to put God’s will before our personal wants and ambitions. God’s will and mission should become our will and our mission. We are no longer sons of disobedience, and we are no longer living underworldly standards. This understanding allows us to identify anything in our life that does not come from God. Our anger, our rage, our malice, our slander, and our lies must be put to death. We need to understand this is a daily battle, however, after our transformation we understand the truth that we are now in the image of Christ. In fact, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ,” (Galatians 3:27, AMP). We must emulate the life and ministry of Christ daily because we do not deserve His sacrifice yet He called us all to Him by name. This leads me to share my last simple truth with you, and it is what should drive us to live a transformed life.
Having and living a transformed life means that we are now adopted heirs of God. It is written, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, ‘Abba! Father!’,” (Romans 8:15, AMP). As we see in Romans 8:15, we receive the spirit of adoption. It is this Spirit that seals our inheritance as adopted children of God (Ephesians 1:13-14). The simple understanding that someone like us, who is deserving of nothing more of death and destruction, have become heirs (adopted children) to God should be the driving force behind living a transformed life. It should bring about reverence not only for our Heavenly Father but for Jesus Christ who through His obedience died on the cross for us. He made a way for each one of us to not only have salvation through Him but to have a special helper (the Holy Spirit) to give us the conviction needed to live a life worthy of His sacrifice. It is a humbling realization when someone can understand what it took to be able to have a transformed life; the accountability that comes from being made new and the expectation placed over how we live, and that through God’s Spirit we are not only partakers of His grace but his adopted children. This is how much He loves each and every one of us.
In this message, we have discussed three simple truths. The first truth was what it means to have a transformed life. The second truth was how to live a life according to this transformation. The last truth was the driving force behind wanting to continue living a transformed life. However, ultimately it is on us to actually apply this message into our lives daily. If every single day when we wake up we are not in pure reverence for the new life that we live that was paid with the blood of Jesus Christ, and we don’t manifest our faith into action (living a transformed life), we are not only making a mockery of God but the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. These three simple truths should convict us to not only run from our old “sin nature” but to live a transformed life that is focused on emulating the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Also remember, if for some strange reason you believe you do not have the strength to do it, look at the life of the Apostle Paul. It is upon his epistles and his life that we can see that a sinful man can not only live a transformed life but allow others to see that there is still hope in this fallen world. Paul showed us then but what is stopping us from showing others today?