Transformation - Dwelling Spaces

Sunday, 17 April 2016


This evening I was preaching on 1 Corinthians 15.12-34 at church, and we were talking about what it means to live life differently as a result of believing that Jesus rose from the dead. Paul clearly expected that the gospel, the good news about who Jesus is - his life, death and rising again, would make a difference to the way that Christians lived. In fact he says that Christians are to be pitied if the gospel is not true because we have chosen to live a difficult life of loving our enemies, putting others first, forgiving, suffering and even dying for our faith.  So I asked how our lives today as Christians look different from the lives of non-Christians around us.

We had a good discussion, and coming away from it I was struck particularly by three things. First, on the face of it, the lives of Christians day-to-day don't generally look much different. But underneath the day-to-day sameness, I think (and hope) that Christians are holding a shifted perspective on things, asking what God thinks about a situation, and asking God what they should do in a situation. The outcome might be the same, being kind to a stranger, or helping someone out, but the motivation comes from wanting to serve God, rather than feeling better about yourself, or wanting to gain something from another. In a sense Christians have already died. Baptism is a death to self, and new life post-baptism means living for God, not yourself.

Second, Christians are in the process of being transformed into more Christ-like versions of themselves. You may not be the most loving or giving person, but there is a transformation going on that means, as you become more aware of God at work in your life, and ask God to help you change, you gradually become more loving or giving or more whatever it is. Ask any Christian that you admire and they will be pretty clear that there are all sorts of areas that they are changing and growing in. It is a slow process of submitting our lives to being shaped by God through the Holy Spirit, but God is faithful to God's promise to complete the good work begun in us (Philippians 1.6).

Finally, Christians are more likely to play the long game. The life of faith looks ahead to a heavenly home. Someone read out Hebrews 11.13-16 - those who believe in God will not be totally settled on earth, there is a confidence in a final destination beyond death. Whilst it doesn't make pain and suffering in this life any less real or difficult, it does become more temporary. Hope stretches further than the life we see around us.

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