God Works Through Transformation (Part 2)

“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).

We’ve been discussing how God transforms us. Yesterday we examined how God transforms us through His Word and through disciplining us. Today we look at two more ways God transforms us.

3. Through the church.
The local church serves a vital role in shaping the life of the Christian. Though God does the work, He performs much of it in and through the body of Christ. For example, we grow by serving others. In fact, God shapes the church through the gifts He gives to us and how we use them (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). As members of Christ’s body, we support, encourage, serve and counsel one another on our road to heaven. Paul writes:

“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

4. Through spiritual conflict.
Strange as it may seem, God matures us through the rough and tumble of spiritual battles. As we enter spiritual warfare, God strengthens our spiritual resolve and “toughens us up.” Battle tested Christians come out of the conflict more prepared to love and serve God.

Of course, Christians should not enter the conflict without full armor. Once again Paul writes:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

For most of us, God takes a lifetime to transform us into Christ’s image. We will face setbacks along the way and no one experiences victory 100 percent of the time. But through God’s own grace He transforms us more and more into Christ’s image as we look to Him for strength.

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