Total Transformation

posted by Dr. John Thweatt, Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Pell City, AL
One of my favorite things about CrossPoint is the number of stories Ryan tells me that deal with total transformation. When a person places faith in the Gospel message he or she is converted and at that moment the old is gone and the new has come. From time to time I will talk to someone about a member of our church and they will tell me what he used to be like—I just cannot believe it. He is totally different now and the change is due to one thing—He met Jesus.

Recently I began meeting with a young man in our church. He was experimenting with a number of things and his life was falling apart. I shared the Gospel with him and one day he called me and said, “I’m ready to become a Christian now.” The next time he came into my office the transformation was stunning. He just wasn’t the same person. Paul said it like this (Galatians 2:20), “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Bob Roberts said, “The journey of transformation begins with legitimate conversion. To convert means to change over, to switch. Following are some myths about conversion that make it difficult for us to understand what it actually entails.”

“There is a myth that conversion means making a better me, improving who I am. However, Scripture contradicts that theory because it teaches we are totally lost and depraved apart from God. Conversion is far more than taking a lot person and conquering bad habits.

There is also a myth that conversion means praying the sinner’s prayer. This is wrong; it means more than mouthing words. It is possible to pray the sinner’s prayer and not be converted. First John 2:3 says, “We know that we have come to know him” because we obey his commands. We know it by the kind of life we are producing.

You may be familiar with the lingering myth that conversion is the epitome of spirituality. No, it is just the beginning. Churches who gauge themselves by baptisms, attendance, and membership do not emphasize what we are producing as much as how fast we are producing it…We know that conversion is not the end all of spirituality. What numbers do you talk about the most?

Many churches inadvertently promote the myth that conversion means going to church and jumping through the hoops…

Of course, some buy into the myth that conversion is nice, but not total, allowing one to continue to have a secular and spiritual dichotomy. However, Jesus taught that there is no separation in the life of a believer of the secular and spiritual; we are one being.

Finally, there is the myth that conversion is primarily fire insurance. Wrong! “That’s only a benefit and not the motivation.” (Transformation, pp. 66-68)

Obviously, transformation doesn’t mean we are perfect, but if you and I are justified then God will begin the process of sanctification and will continue that until He calls us home. When it comes to salvation it isn’t all about what we can do for God—it is about what He will do in us. Paul said, “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” When it comes to salvation all we bring to the table is the sin which makes our salvation necessary. We bring the sin and Jesus brings everything else, but when we respond to His salvation in faith the transformation is amazing!

1 Response to “Total Transformation”

  1. 1 Lisa Blakesley
    July 19, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Dr. Thweatt,
    It has been as honor to sit under your teaching this week, if only by blog. I really appreciated today’s message about true transformation. Especially in the “Babylon” we currently live in that would want us to believe that what it has to offer is worth giving up our moral standards for. It’s so important to be reminded that if you couldn’t be doing or saying something with Jesus sitting right there with you, then you shouldn’t be doing it. We should be living transformed lives!! And each day as we grow in our relationship with Christ, there should be evidence of change, because with the Holy Spirit’s help we can hold to Christ’s Way and not “Babylon’s” way.

    Again, thank you for filling in for Pastor Ryan! What a joy it has been. Blessings to you and your sweet family.
    Lisa B.

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