The Journey From Salvation To Transformation
” Just as salvation is by grace, so transformation is also by grace”.
The word salvation is usually used for the beginning stage of spiritual growth, although the Scriptures also say you”are being saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18) And that your full salvation awaits the kingdoms’ culmination (Romans 13:11). That ongoing process by which you “are being saved” includes what God is doing inside you and in the world around you. The part that’s going on inside you is called “sanctification” (becoming holy as God is holy – 1 Thessalonians 5:23) Or transformation (taking on the world view and values of Christ – Romans 8:29; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Just as salvation is by grace, so transformation is by grace. “By grace” means:
God takes the initiative to do it in you because of His love
He does it in you by the power of the Holy Spirit
There’s nothing you can do to earn what God does in you
But while grace rules out earning, it doesn’t rule out effort on your part. You need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. You “work out” what God “works in” you. Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
How does that happen, you ask? One way is through God’s word. The Bible is involved both in God’s part and in your part of transformation. On one hand, the word of God has divine power to affect your mind and heart. It is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). On the other hand, the Spirit is not going to pour the transformating truth of the Scriptures into your mind magically while you watch television and eat candy. You need to put time and energy into taking it in.
When Paul calls “the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) is at least in part the renewing of your brain. How do I mean? Understand, brain scientists divide learning into two categories: explicit and implicit. Explicit learning is learning specific events and facts:
. What happened to you last Friday?
. The names of the twelve apostles
. The verse “In your anger do not sin” and its reference, Ephesians 4:26
You can often learn such things in one try, although memorizing twelve names or a verse and it’s reference can take some repetition. Still, this kind of thing is relatively easy to etch into your brains’ cerebral cortex. Implicit learning is quite different. It involves learning a procedure or skill:
. How to kick a football
. How to act with love toward someone who has hurt you
How to be angry, but not sin
You see, when you learn something implicitly, it feels like your body has learned it too. Your body knows how to kick a football. You know automatically how to feel anger but not sin. When you learn something implicitly, you often can’t explain in words how it’s done. You just know how to do it. It’s hard to explain to somebody how to express love or how to feel anger but not sin.
Implicit learning is the way you form and change the way you see yourself and others. It happens by “practise”. It involves incremental shifting of connections between neurons in your brain. You may have to practice a golf swing thousands of times in order to lay down the neuronal pattern in your brain that makes the swing automatic. In the same way, you may have to practise something a thousand times before being angry without sinning becomes your reflex reaction to a situation.
But how do I practice? Stay tuned for the next blog post on that soon.
Blessings and Love ???