Agents of Transformation
Today, Jesus Christ holds forth the opportunity for mankind to be transformed into His image; but sadly, society and the organized church rarely manifest His nature or seek to accomplish Godís will. Salvation experiences abound; but then, the transformation process becomes stalled; and life continues for most as it was before - meaningless and without hope. The world remains little changed and shows few signs of the presence of the sons of God; therefore, it is necessary to take a closer look at the transformation process as delineated in scripture to determine the components of the process and to determine how to best facilitate that process in the life of the individual Christian, so that the life of Christ and the will of God may abound in the earth.
The Father God has made three clearly defined agents of transformation available to the Christian: 1) the Word of God which is a written expression of His will, 2) faith which gives substance to the Word of God and 3) the Holy Spirit who brings revelation knowledge of the Word of God that it may be acted upon by faith. The absence of any one of these three agents guarantees that the transformation process will not go forward.
1) THE WORD OF GOD
It has already been established that Jesus (God the Son) and the Word of God are synonymous. John 1:1-3; 9-13 clearly identifies the Word of God and its function in the world, "In the beginning was the Word , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it.........The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (RSV)
This passage defines the Word of God not only as Jesus Himself, but also as life, light and the creative force of creation. Jesus is life, and the Word of God imparts that life to men. Jesus is also the light and the Word of God delivers that light to men that they may be separated from the kingdom of darkness in this world. The Word of God enlightens men with the Truth of Godís plan and will; and that enlightened mind empowers men to be reconciled to God and to be "born again". The spoken Word of God created the world and all that is within it; and it is still a creative force in this world today as it is spoken by the children of God. Psalms 50:23 says, "Who so offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."(KJV) Godís full salvation is released to His children as they learn to speak His Word into the events that surround their life; for He has given them power to become (to be transformed into) the children of God.
Romans 10:14-17 emphasizes the importance of the Word of God to the salvation experience, "But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? An how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how are men to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ĎHow beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news?í But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, ĎLord, who has believed what he has heard from us?í So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."(RSV)
This passage establishes four important points regarding the Word of God.
1) The Word of God speaks of God, His nature and His will; it dispels confusion and releases Godís power in the earth; it explains the complete plan of God for His children and details the method by which they may return to Him or be saved.
2) Speaking or preaching the Word of God produces results. Isaiah 55:10-11 says, "For as the rain and the snow come own from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (RSV)
3) Hearing the spoken Word of God produces faith. It produces faith or trust in Godís faithfulness because God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19); Jesus cannot lie. Hebrews 1:3 says, "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His Word of power."(RSV) Jesus is absolute; His Word is absolute. Websterís defines absolute as ultimate, complete and perfect. The Word of God is, therefore, the ultimate power in the universe, and it always produces the desired result when spoken.
4) Hearing the spoken Word of God causes man to make a decision to obey or disobey that Word. Jesus Himself pointed out in Mark 7:9-13 that it was possible for the traditions and opinions of men to make void the Word of God not because the Word is powerless, but because God has given man the right to choose to disobey. Mark 7:9 says, "And He said to them, ĎYou have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!í" (RSV) It is necessary for forward motion in the transformation process to know that the choice to disobey the Word of God for any reason produces consequences. In his book The Phenomenon of Obedience, Michael Esses said, "As the day follows the night, Godís blessing follows obedience and His chastisement follows disobedience. To know Godís perfect will for life is to walk in perfect obedience."(ix-x)
Godís will is His Word, therefore, to walk in obedience, the Word of God must be known; it must be read and meditated upon; it must be acted upon in obedience to produce positive results. In Luke 8:21 Jesus demonstrates the importance of obedience to the Word of God when He declares that those who hear the Word of God and keep it are His mother and His brothers. Obedience to the Word of God produces salvation or rebirth bringing the "born again" into the family of God with all the protection and blessing associated with that position.
Jeremiah 13:10 speaks of the results of disobedience to the Word of God, "This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this waist cloth, which is good for nothing. For as the waist cloth clings to the loins of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, that they might be for me a people a name, a praise and a glory, but they would not listen." (RSV) God Himself makes two very important points in this scripture. 1) The individual who ignores or disregards Godís Word doing, instead, what is right in his own eyes is "evil"; he is rebellious and good for nothing. 2) Mankind was originally created to cling to God for instruction and life that they might bring praise and glory to His name.
It is important to see that the contrast between an obedient response to the Word of God and a disobedient response is dramatic. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says, "And if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and over take you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God." (RSV)
The word obey in Hebrew comes from the word shama (Strongís H8085) which means to hear intelligently with the implication of obedience. The word obey in Greek comes from the word hypakouo (Strongís G5219) which means to hear, to comply with, and to submit to. Websterís dictionary simply defines the word obey: to comply with instruction or to follow orders. It is significant that the Greek and Hebrew words for obey include as the first definition, to hear. Frequently, Jesus said to His followers, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." In other words, listen to what I am saying, submit your will to the directions and comply with what you have been told. The result of following the advice and direction of the Creator is success. It always works and brings blessing with it. Understanding the nature and power of the Word of God is imperative to the transformation process.
Hebrews 4:12 also has this to say about the vital nature of the Word of God (Jesus the Son), "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (RSV) In this passage it is important to see that the Word of God is clearly, again identified as Jesus Christ Himself. The unique attribute of the Word which is discussed here is the ability to separate what appears to be inseparable. The Word of God is able to separate the soul (mind) and the spirit of man.
The separation of soul and spirit is vital to the transformation process; because with the fall of Adam, the Spirit died and was subjected to the soul or mind of man until the flesh eventually became dominate. Only the Word of God is able to separate the spirit from the imprisonment of the mind and give it new birth. Peter makes this clear in 1 Peter 1:23, "You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God." (RSV) The Word of God is the imperishable seed which brings forth the harvest of "new birth". It is the two edged sword which breaks the yoke of bondage which holds the spirit captive. In light of these points, it can be seen that reading the Word of God on a daily basis is an absolute necessity to the transformation process.
2) FAITH Click to continue
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