The Transformed Life
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Greetings, and the dear Lord bless you and make you a blessing! It is a wonderful old-time greeting. It is precious to our hearts; we’ve used it with you so many times, and we do trust the Lord will use your life. So many hearts are in need today; there is such a great opportunity for serving the Lord.
I’m going to read you something from His Word in 2 Corinthians. This is a very wonderful and precious passage. We’re going to begin back with the 3rd chapter, and the last verse in the 3rd chapter and then go into the 4th chapter. God’s Word says:
“We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:1–6).
Now note this verse especially, because it has to do with what we are going to talk about for a little while. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) And then we go back to that verse that we began with in the very beginning, “But with open face we behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.”
We are transformed as we behold the Lord. There is no other way of being transformed except by His Spirit, as we behold Him, as we keep our eyes on Jesus.
I noticed lately that the following clipping that I’m going to read has appeared in a number of bulletins. It says: “Longfellow could take a worthless sheet of paper, write a poem on it and make it worth $6,000; that is genius. Rockefeller could sign his name to a piece of paper and make it worth millions; that is capital. An artist can take a 50 cent piece of canvas, paint a picture on it and make it worth a million, and that is art.”
But God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Jesus Christ, put His Spirit into it, and transform it completely. That is the transforming power of salvation—salvation by the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. This transforming power of our Lord will never cease, never.
It is an amazement to me when God reaches down and lifts up a man like Billy Sunday—drinking, cursing, wicked—and washes him in the blood of Calvary, thoroughly cleansing him, and sends him out to be such a blessing to humanity.1 That’s a mightier transforming power than any of these mentioned!
And God is doing it every day, He’s doing it! Just a year ago this month, I was in a meeting where a boy of 16 was leading the song service, and as he sang those old Gospel hymns, his face literally shone with the joy of the Lord. You could just see the radiance of Christ on his countenance.
I was afterwards told that he had been reared as a thief in a vile, wicked home. Since he was 12 years old he had been sent out to steal the support for that family, while a drunken father and mother slept off their stupors. He also stole in order to secure the narcotics that he’d been using since he was 13 years of age.
But one day some young people from the Teen Challenge group found him and led him to Christ. He had been singing in bars—though that was against the law, of course—and he was in and out of juvenile hall, picked up by the police for theft and drunkenness. Now Christ had come into his heart and he was completely transformed by this wonderful transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can think of so many who until the day they died lived the transformed life, and I know so many, such a number today who are still living in real victory, blessing all that are around them. I remember back in the old days when I was so active out in the Lord’s service and evangelistic work, [there was this woman named] Bridget. I think I mentioned her one time.
She had been born in a brothel. Her mother was a prostitute, and she told me that she had never known there was such a thing as a “good woman” until she was 15 years of age. She used to stand on the street corners there in San Francisco, on Fillmore and Eddy, and push back her sleeve and hold a $10 bill in her hand, and say, “I’ll give $10 to anyone here,” she was a street preacher, “to anyone here that can put their finger here on my arm where there isn’t the mark of a dope needle!”
She was so filled with God’s Spirit, and her life was so clean and sweet and wonderful, she just radiated Jesus Christ! The transforming power that took place in that life was something so divine, so wonderful, that people talk about it even to this day, and the name Bridget is so well known in certain circles.
How does such a transformation take place? Sometimes it takes place so quickly! There is the verse of scripture that we just read to you: “We all with open face behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and are transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The transformation takes place by beholding Jesus! Many seeking to find the way in the Christian life try with human striving and carnal willpower to transform their lives. How wonderful and how marvelous and what a relief when Christ in His fullness comes in to abide, from thereon He’s enthroned in their hearts, and He will just lead and guide in the way that they are to go.
Because, after all, the Christian life is just the life of another person coming in and taking over. You never can do it the way we’ve just mentioned, by human striving and carnal willpower; you can never come into that transformation, never! It is only as you behold Him, only as Christ comes in to abide in you, and you abide in Him: “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you,” then this transformation takes place (John 15:7).
Also in Colossians 1:26 and 27, Paul said that he’s going to tell you a secret. He takes a long time to get to it, but in the last few verses he tells how the secret of living the Christian life, how to come to real victory through this secret. Note just these two verses, 26 and 27, where He says, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Christ in you. Paul also said, “He hath been with you but He shall be in you.” So this is the mystery, the secret of victorious living. This is the secret of the transformed life: a person coming to abide in you and living out His life through you—that person, Jesus Christ! In Galatians 2, Paul again says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20) He continues with that beautiful verse, “And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
It’s a wonderful secret, Christ in you. That’s it, dearly beloved: It isn’t your striving; it isn’t your trying to transform yourself. It isn’t your gritting your teeth and clenching your fist. It’s just as you abide in Him and He abides in you, as you just yield yourself completely to Him. That’s the secret! He comes in and lives out His life through you. You do the yielding, He gives the victory and He does the transforming.
God bless you. He’ll change things in your life if you’ll give Him half a chance! Just read your Bible and look to Him and trust Him utterly. Amen.
- Billy Sunday (1863–1935) was a professional baseball player who got saved after hearing a Salvation Army Gospel team one afternoon while drunk, and later became an evangelist. By the time he died in 1935, the number of converts from his ministry had reached an estimated 1 million, with another 100 million who had heard him preach.