He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy. And they were glorifying God because of me. – Vs 23-24
Transformation. Isn't that what the gospel is all about? Being radically changed from the inside out. In two sentences Paul summarizes the change that took place in his life. He went from the persecuted to being the persecuted. He went from destroyer to disciple. This one time Pharisee on the ladder to success, was now a new man with a new heart. Yes, his change was more radical than many of ours. And it was more immediate. Or was it? Paul says it was well over three years. During this time he grew in the faith and was prepared by God for the task for which he was called. And all the while he was going through the transformation of his life and character, heart and soul, mind and spirit. The life of Paul is a perfect example of the verse in Romans 12:2.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This passage was written by none other than Paul himself. And he spoke from experience. He had been and was still being transformed as he daily renewed his mind. As we read in 2 Peter, Paul was daily growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is how transformation takes place. Sure, Paul had been saved on the road to Damascus, but God was not done with him. That was just the beginning of a transformational process that would continue until the day God took Paul home to be with him. Transformation is a daily, ongoing process by which we are changed, step by step into the likeness of God's Son.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
Paul was being transformed. Are you? Am I? And are people glorifying God because of us? Paul's transformation was more than just a story about life change. It was visible, undeniable, and in many ways, unbelievable to those who were witnessing it. Paul was a changed man. Not just on the outside, but on the inside. He had a new heart, a new nature, and they revealed themselves in a new passion: spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentile world. How is your transformation showing up in daily life? Can others see the change taking place in you? Is it radical? Is it impacting the way you talk, act, think, and live? When we allow God to continue His transformational work in our lives, transforming us into the image of His Son, with ever-increasing amounts of glory, others will sit up and take notice – and glorify God. They'll have to admit that the change is not man-made, but God-produced, and give Him the glory He deserves. I like the way The Message paraphrases Romans 12:2:
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Fix your attention on God and you'll be changed from the inside out.
Father, Thank You for continuing Your transformational work in my life. Sometimes it seems painfully slow. Other times it seems as if nothing is happening at all. But You are faithful and You continue to work inside me to make me into the man You want me to be. The same power that saved me is slowly sanctifying me, making me more like Your Son every day. Help me keep my attention fixed on You, so that I might be changed from the inside out. Amen