God Works Through Transformation (Part 1)

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Some religions work through a stringent system of parochial schooling, memorizing chants, and various rituals. Yet through all this, no lives are changed. God, on the other hand, works through transformation. He changes people from the inside out, causing them to pursue good and to shun evil. The top two verses above show us how it all comes together: We work because God works.

Notice where God works: in you. He aims at the heart and the desires, so that we will want what God wants. This process continues on throughout our earthly life, and we experience progress along with some setbacks as well. God keeps us on track by working in our lives and by applying needed discipline. He shows us how to glorify Him with our lives.

But God does not do this alone. He initiates and takes the lead, but we cooperate. He gives us this gracious gift of salvation, but then we “work it out.” How do we do this?

1. By reading His Word and praying.
The Word of God builds us up as we read and pray over it:

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

The more we meet with God the more we get to know Him. He uses this time to teach us His Word and also to strengthen our walk.

2. Through chastisement.
This work of God cannot be emphasized enough: When God disciplines, we need to give Him our ears and listen to Him. The Bible makes it clear, God disciplines every child of God (Hebrews 12:5-11). Through this process, God shapes and molds us into His image.

We will continue this discussion tomorrow, and look at further ways God transforms us.

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