Living the Transformed Life
By Peter Amsterdam
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Salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit bring transformation to our spirit; they break the power of sin over us, which enables the process of spiritual growth that changes our fundamental inner nature. The process of having our thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes reflect Christ isn’t something that happens on its own; it calls for conscious inner transformation. The apostle Paul expressed it by saying “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and … be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and … put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”1
So what do we do to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, to put on our new self?
One key factor is believing what Scripture teaches. The type of belief that results in ongoing transformation isn’t one we give mere intellectual assent or acknowledgment to. Rather, it is a belief that becomes a foundation for how we live. It’s one thing to believe that God exists; it’s something quite different to live with the Creator as the center of our lives, so that our decisions and actions are based on our relationship with Him. Belief in this context means conviction and commitment to live by what we believe.
Following are some key beliefs which play a major role in becoming Christlike:
Belief in God: Scripture teaches that God exists; He created the world (the universe) and everything in it out of nothing; He is personal; He is triune (one God in three persons); He is actively involved with the created world,2 although He is not part of it3; He loves and cares about the world and those in it; He loves and cares for us, His children,4 and is involved in our daily lives; He is good, and we experience His goodness in our lives; and even though everything in our life isn’t good and we don’t always understand why some things happen, we put our trust in Him as His ways are higher than ours.5
Our Creator wishes for us to enter a loving relationship with Him. However, sin and the cares of this life compete for our affections and desires. There are many distractions which pull our loyalty, focus, and desires away from God. We are often faced with a choice of whether to attach ourselves to and worship God or turn to things which pull us away from Him and make them the object of our worship. Knowing that God wants us to resist evil, we look to Him for the grace and power to do so, and we do our part to resist and overcome sin in our lives.
Redemption: Because of His love for humanity, our loving God made a way to restore us to fellowship with Him. Though we were sinners, in rebellion to Him, He made a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled. By accepting Christ as our Savior, we become children of God. Through God’s goodness, love, and kindness we have eternal life.6
In Christ: Through salvation we are “in Christ.” “Because of him [God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God.”7 Being in Christ means that you are a member of the body of Christ,8 a child of God and heir to His kingdom,9 a temple of God’s dwelling,10 a new creation,11 and a citizen of heaven.12 Knowing this brings confidence that we are part of God’s family; He is our Father, Jesus is our Savior, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us. We are forgiven human beings who are loved by God Almighty. Because we are in Christ, we can express who we are in Him without having to prove who we are.
Eternal life: Possessing eternal life means we will live forever. Scripture reveals that when we die, our bodies return to the earth but our spirits live on. It teaches that there will be judgment, but those who have received Christ have been forgiven for their sins and will be seen by God as guiltless on the judgment day.13
It’s from reading, believing, and living according to the Bible—God’s Word—that we learn the truths it reveals. Within its pages, God has given us knowledge of Himself, His plan of salvation, and instruction on how to live our lives in alignment with His will. The Bible establishes our beliefs and guides our actions. It possesses authority in that it gives God’s instruction on how to be in relationship with Him, what is right and wrong, what is pleasing in His sight and what isn’t. As God’s truth is revealed to us, it’s meant to be the lens through which we view our world: a means of guiding us to make godly choices, have right attitudes, and live in alliance with God.
These basic beliefs (along with many others taught within the pages of Scripture) become the foundation stones upon which we base our decisions and actions; they shape our worldview, and thus direct how we live. They are a road map which guides us in the right direction. Over time, the way we think, feel, and act will be increasingly transformed into Christlikeness. The root cause of this transformation is based on what God Himself has revealed to us in Scripture. We are changed because we believe what God, through Scripture, has told us, and we act upon it.
When we truly believe in a loving, personal, all-powerful God, we trust Him and have confidence that He can, and will, do what He has promised. He will guide us, and if we live in accordance with the principles found within His Word, we will have confidence that we are operating within His will and will receive the benefits of doing so, both in this life and for eternity.
When we believe that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we recognize that God, within Himself, is a perfect loving community. Understanding that we are made in God’s image and likeness, we recognize that as human beings we are to operate in love and harmony in community. Our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, other believers, and people in our town, country, and the world are all members of communities to which we belong. We are called to love others as we love ourselves and treat them as we want to be treated.
When we believe God loves each human being as a person created in His image, we understand that everyone has value. This leads to both self-respect and respect of others, no matter their religion, race, economic status, politics, or any other difference.
When we understand that God is holy and that nothing unholy can come into His presence, we live in gratitude toward Him for redeeming us. Had He not made the way of salvation available to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we would have no personal relationship with Him, no salvation, no indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We would receive the wages of sin, which is death, instead of the gift of God, which is eternal life.14 However, because of His gift to us, we can live lives of joy, knowing that we are in relationship with God and that our sins are forgiven. In gratefulness we want to please Him, live for Him, and reflect Him and His love to others, to share the good news of salvation with them. Having been forgiven for our sins, we forgive others for their sins against us.
Being in Christ gives us self-worth, not based on what we accomplish but on our value to God. We don’t need to prove anything or put others down to bolster our ego or standing.
Knowing that we have eternal life changes the way we live in the present. Knowing that we will live with God for eternity should cause us to live with hope, even in trying times. No matter how difficult our lives may be, we know that this present time is only a moment compared to eternity.
If we truly believe what the Bible teaches and we make the effort to apply those truths to our lives, we experience ongoing transformation. If we truly believe the teachings of the Bible and align our inner self, heart, mind, soul, and spirit with those beliefs, then our thoughts, desires, feelings, decisions, and outward actions reflect those beliefs. When we believe Scripture, we build our lives on a rock-solid foundation, and we have the conviction to live by those beliefs. It is in living those beliefs that we become more like Jesus.
Originally published August 2016. Adapted and republished February 2022.
Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
1 Ephesians 4:22–24.
2 Acts 17:28.
3 1 Kings 8:27.
4 1 John 3:1.
5 Isaiah 55:9.
6 John 3:16.
7 1 Corinthians 1:30.
8 1 Corinthians 12:27.
9 Romans 8:17.
10 1 Corinthians 3:16.
11 2 Corinthians 5:17.
12 Philippians 3:20.
13 1 Corinthians 1:7–8.
14 Romans 6:23.