How To Have Life-Changing Transformation in Your Walk With God
Today marks a very special day; today I welcome author & speaker Brett Barclay as the first ever guest blogger on JCBlog.net. Brett has a marvelous way with explaining scriptural truths that will both bless and challenge you. He is one of my very favorite writers which makes this event an incredible honor for me and my readers. My prayer as you read through this wonderful post, is that The Lord will quicken these truths and you will experience life-changing transformation in your walk with God. I invite you to leave a comment or send an email and hope that you will visit Brett's site; righteousinchrist.com and take advantage of all the truth presented. Enjoy ~ Juli
I have really been enjoying reading Juli’s studies on the book of Colossians about the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. Following is something the Lord showed me as I was studying Colossians.
“21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight… 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Col 1:21-28.
Paul uses the word “present” twice in these verses to tell us 2 very powerful things about our relationship with God.
First, in verse 22, the work of the Cross presents us “holy, and blameless, and above reproach.” This is the judicial act of God declaring you righteous in Christ. It means that God pardons all your sins, and accounts, accepts, and treats you as righteous in the eyes of the law. You now possess a righteousness that perfectly and forever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s very own righteousness.
Second, in verse 28, the ongoing preaching and teaching of Christ in wisdom with warning presents you “perfect” (mature, fully developed and fully-grown) in Christ.
So, the work of the Cross presents you “holy, and blameless, and above reproach” in Christ and the ongoing preaching and teaching of Christ presents you “mature” in Christ.
This tells us some simple yet profound things about the Christian life.
1. The Christian life is all about Christ from beginning to end
He’s the one who gets you in and He’s the one who matures you into His likeness. I love Paul’s summary statement of this fact in 1 Cor 1:30-31, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””
2. Holy, blameless and above reproach is not mature
This is a very important distinction to make. You are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor 5:21). You have been declared just and righteous (Rom 3:21 – 5:21). Not only that, but you have been transformed and now Christ lives in you (Gal 2:20; Col 1:27). This is not the end of the matter, but the great and glorious beginning. A new life of maturing into a fully grown, fully developed son or daughter of God has just begun.
Imagine you had a son or daughter and you were still tying their shoe laces when they were 16. Imagine they were incapable of feeding themselves. Outside of injury or disability your child is evidencing an acute lack of maturity and growth.
Are they still your son or daughter? Yes, and they always will be. And your love for them will always be undiminishing. But what they are demonstrating in their lives is a lack of maturity – they just haven’t grown up in these areas.
So relationship is not at stake, but maturity is.
So the key issue here is your relationship with Christ is not at stake, but your maturity in Christ is.
Here’s a biblical example.
The Apostle Paul writes to immature believers in the Corinthian church. In 1 Cor 3:1-4 he says, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?).
The Corinthians were immature, carnal and had not grown up yet. How did Paul know? They were displaying envy, strife and divisions in their relationships.
I love the definition Andrew Murray, the famous South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor, gives carnality. He says, “carnality is the result of prolonged infancy.”
So its definitely possible to be holy, blameless and above reproach and yet still be immature and underdeveloped in your walk with God.
So, how does God mature his children?
3. The main mechanism God uses to mature and develop His children is the ongoing preaching and teaching of Christ
It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that changes hearts and conforms us into the image of Christ (Rom 8:28-30). It’s the gospel that matures us (among other things of course).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the transforming power of God. Paul says in Rom 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
The gospel does not just contain the power of God, or direct us to the power of God or convince us of the power of God, it is the very power of God itself!
Here’s a great biblical illustration of this.
James 1:23 says the word of God is like a mirror. Why a mirror?
A mirror is a piece of glass that reflects the condition of your physical appearance or, your outer man. In the morning when you wake up and get ready for the day, you make changes to your outer man (your physical appearance) based on the reflection you see in the mirror.
Well the gospel, or “the perfect law of liberty” as James 1:25 describes it, doesn’t reflect the condition of your outer man, it reflects the condition of your inner man. Peter calls this part of our lives, “the hidden person of the heart.” (1 Peter 3:4).
By the way, unlike the gospel being “the perfect law of liberty”, Paul refers to the Law of Moses as the “ministry of death” (2 Cor 3:7) and the “ministry of condemnation” (2 Cor 3:9).
All the Law can show you is how you don’t measure up to God’s standard. That’s one of the primary reasons God gave the Law – to highlight your sins and lead you to a Savior (Gal 3:19-26). Consequently, all the Law can bring to you is condemnation and death. The Law shows you “who you are in Adam.” It is designed to lead you to Christ. It was not designed to mature you in Christ (Gal 3:24-25; 1 Tim 1:8-11).
However, the gospel is altogether different. It is “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25) and shows you “who you are in Christ.”
Here’s what I mean.
The Law calls us sinners (Rom 3:9-18) – the gospel calls us saints (Eph 1:3-6)
The Law says we are unrighteous (Rom 3:9-18) – the gospel says we are the very righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)
The Law says you have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:16-21) – the gospel says you are holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph 1:3-6).
So why does looking into the gospel mature us? Back to James 1 and “the perfect law of liberty.”
The gospel doesn’t just reflect the condition of your inner man, like a mirror mentioned above, it also transforms the condition of your inner man!
2 Cor 3 also likens the word of God to a mirror, which transforms us from glory to glory. Gazing into the perfections of Christ – the glories of His Person and Work – will have a powerful transforming effect on your life.
As you gaze and fix your focus on the gospel and what Christ has gloriously accomplished for you, you “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18). Amazing!
Don’t fix your gaze on your walk with Him. Don’t fix it on your prayer life, Word life, quiet time or how much or little time you think you should be spending with Him. Don’t focus on the quality or quantity of your religious activities. Don’t even fix it on your moral performance and behaviour – good or bad.
Fix your eyes and firm your gaze on Him and Him alone. You will be transformed from glory to glory!
“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Heb 12:2 (AMP).
Brett has been teaching the Word of God since 2002 in bible colleges, churches, home groups and on video and radio – in Australia and overseas. In 2010, he led the establishment of C3 College Online and has written the learning materials for its courses on culture, leadership, faith, successful Christian living, and the New Testament. Currently, the college ministers to over 2,000 students worldwide. Brett founded Righteous in Christ that is focused on imparting the life transforming truths of a believer's righteousness in Christ. Its purpose is to help believers thrive in their identity and liberty in Christ.