When I look around my church, or any other church I have visited, I do not see people who are looking for a way into sin, even though many may be caught up or trapped in sins of the flesh. I see people who are looking for a way out of sin but cannot figure out how to break free.
Traditionally, these people are pointed to the law and told to follow the rules. In other words, they are directed to their self-efforts, self-righteousness, as the key to the transformation they seek. The same self-effort humanity has had to rely on since the fall. In Galatians and Colossians, Paul tells that trying to perfect ourselves by the flesh after we are saved, trying to stop sin and manufacture patience, peace and self-control, will not work.
First, Paul strongly tells us that going back to the law to perfect ourselves will not work. This is what most Christians do, what I did initially, in an attempt to stop the sin they still see in their lives after coming to Christ. Paul states that this attempt is foolish.
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Gal 3:1-5 NAS
Next, Paul tells us that self-abasement, trying to force ourselves to become like Christ by the flesh will not work.
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. Col 2:20-23 NAS
There is a difference when a person comes to Christ and places themselves under His care. Transformation happens God’s way and not man’s way. We are no longer relying on ourselves; we are relying on Jesus. We walk by faith in the Spirit not by sight in the flesh.
How to be Transformed God’s Way
The word used for transformed in the New Testament is the Greek word metamorphoó. It is defined in Strong’s 3339: Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: metamorphoó Phonetic Spelling: (met-am-or-fo'-o) Definition: to transform Usage: I transform, transfigure.
The Greek word metamorphoó is where we get the word metamorphosis which means a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means. Think of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly all by the power and hand of God.
Metamorphoó is used only four times in the New Testament. Two of those verses are when Jesus was supernaturally transfigured, transformed, before Peter, James and John.
And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. Matt 17:2 NAS
Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. Mark 9:2-3 NAS
The other two times Metamorphoó is used in the Bible, it applies to us. In these, God tells us the way to be transformed into Christ’s image is supernatural, metamorphosis.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2 NAS
First, we renew our mind to the truth. To the truth that we are right now a New Creation in Christ. We are seen by God in Christ, in our born again Spirit, holy, sanctified, righteous, perfected and complete. God sees our flesh as crucified and dead on the cross with Jesus, sin condemned in the flesh, never to be redeemed. The dead flesh cannot help us. This is all about surrender to God’s truth of who we are right now in Christ. To be transformed, metamorphosis, and allow our born again Spirit to rule our lives, we keep our eyes on the perfection in Christ as though we are looking into a mirror. We see ourselves in Christ as He is right now. This is who we are too.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18 NAS
What You See in the Mirror is the Key to Your Transformation, Christian
As Christians, we all desire to be more like Jesus. However, if we behold our failures in the flesh, we will struggle and battle unsuccessfully, attempting to produce the attributes we see in Jesus, by the flesh. We try to love our neighbor, be patient, stop sin, be peaceful like Jesus, and we often fail. The flesh will never defeat itself. Unfortunately, if our way does appear to work for a season, it only leads us to pride and the judgment of others who we now view as less Christ-like, continuing the vicious circle of sin. These struggles require no faith, just flesh.
God’s ways are not our ways; His way to be transformed is NOT FOUND in the works of the flesh, IT IS ONLY FOUND in Jesus Himself.
Mirrors reflect what we look like. Before we come to Jesus, we look at God’s law in the mirror comparing it to our flesh, to see in truth where we fall short. We see we need Jesus.
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Gal 3:23-25 NAS
Galatians 3:25 tells us that after we come to Jesus, we are no longer under the law; God sees us walking in the Spirit, in Christ, under grace and no longer under the law – Rom 6:14. Now, by faith, in the Spirit, we no longer see the law in the mirror and where we fall short. We see Jesus in all His perfection as our reflection in the mirror. We walk by faith and not by sight.
We are transformed by the renewal of our mind to the truth of what God states, that we are a New Creation in Christ. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus glory as though we are looking in a mirror. As we keep our eyes fixed on the truth, we are supernaturally transformed, metamorphosis, more and more into His image for the world to see. This is when our perfected born again Spirit rules our lives and our dead flesh falls off into the background. This is abiding in the vine, abiding in Christ so that He produces fruit through us.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Cor 3:17-18 NASB
This is how God supernaturally transforms us – metamorphosis. It is His work, not ours. Notice the verses mentions a mirror and emphasize the Spirit, not the flesh. Normally, when we look into a mirror, we are interested in what our flesh looks like. We all know how to behold our flesh in the mirror.
Born again, we look past our unredeemed flesh that was crucified and died on the cross with Jesus, to our redeemed and perfected Spirit. It is the mirror image of the Spirit of the Lord. Our verses, 2 Cor 3:17-18, are telling us to look at Christ as if He were in the mirror in front of us, looking back at us. Imagine Jesus face to face with you as you look into the mirror. Do you see Him as righteous? Do you see Him as sanctified? Do you see Him as Holy? Do you see Him as perfect? Do you by faith see yourself in the Spirit as a reflection of Christ as God the Father sees you?
We know Jesus is Holy (Heb 10:10), Perfect & Sanctified (Heb 10:14) and Righteous (Rom 4:5). But did you know, these referenced verses and many more are specifically talking about who we are in Christ?
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 1 John 4:17 NAS
This is what we are to behold, to see and believe by faith is already a done deal from our Fathers perspective, “as He is, so also are we in this world.” We simply agree with God and believe that it is true. This is what your Father’s love has done for you. This is how we are transformed and walk in the Spirit. Transformation for the world to see comes as we continually look into that mirror and behold ourselves completely in the perfection of Christ as the Father sees us, as the Bible teaches.
“in Him, you have been made complete” Col 2:10a NASB.
Look away from yourself, stop struggling in your crucified and dead flesh, beholding the sins of your dead flesh that will never be redeemed. Stop trying to force your dead flesh to comply by your dead flesh. As God instructs us, see your sinful flesh as crucified and dead with Jesus on the cross. Walk in the Spirit by humbly placing yourself in the finished work of Jesus. By faith beholding: His Holiness, His Perfection, His Righteousness, and His Glory as the reflection of your true identity in Christ. You are at this very moment, a new creation in Christ. As you behold His glory the fruits of the Spirit will be supernaturally produced in your life. The fruits are exactly what we need to overcome sin and this world.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22-23 NAS
for we walk by faith, not by sight—2 Cor 5:7 NAS
Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross.
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20