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Thursday: The Transforming Power of the Word — 27 Comments

  1. It probably goes without saying that most readers (and writers) in this forum believe the Bible is important and has a message for us today. The issue for us is not its authenticity from our perspective but how do we project that authenticity to others. If we are brutally honest with ourselves most of the rest of the Judeo-Christian culture regard the Bible as no longer really relevant in the modern world. I remember seeing a Bible in a public meeting place once when I was with a group of secular people and one of them commented, that he did not think anyone read the Bible any more. He was largely right.

    And I don't think we can expect that even now in a time of crisis that people are going to rush out and buy Bibles to read them. The only authenticity that many people are going to experience about the Bible is if they see Bible-believing Christians behaving in a manner consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

    John makes a significant connection between Jesus, the Word, and God:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:1-4, 14 KJV)

    Just as Jesus became "the Word" - the revelation of God to us, so too we must be the revelation of Jesus to the rest of humanity. In plain terms that means our lives must be a witness to our relationship with Jesus.

    Authenticity in the Christian's journey is not an argument based on historical corroboration, or canonical processes, or eloquent arguments by a media-savvy evangelist. It is based on an authentic life connected with Jesus. To be honest, that is tougher than winning an argument with words.

    Amen!(51)
  2. Forthe word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

    God’s Word is the only ingredient that can transform a person’s life on all three levels – spirit, soul and body. When the Word of God goes into your spirit, it has the power to make you what it talks about, bringing about a transformation. That transformation in your spirit will ultimately affect your tongue, causing you to speak in line with the Word and consequently chart the course of your life in the direction of God’s will.

    The Word of God can also transform your way of thinking as the Bible says in Romans 12:2: “…Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” And then, of course, the Word of God can transform your physical body: “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ears unto my sayings…for they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:18-20).

    Amen!(19)
  3. The Kingdom of God is about living a life of self-giving Agape love. This love cannot be hoarded as it only remains alive by being continuously expressed.

    What we understand, believe and interpret from scripture is vitally important - ONLY if it results in a transformed life of service to God and others (Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:35).

    Wherever you are located at present, look around your local community at present. Who are those that are quietly going about doing acts (sometimes a smile or a word of compassionate encouragement) of self-giving to others in need (within the limits of lockdown restrictions that are in place in many places)? What do you see?

    Amen!(13)
  4. Hebrew 11:5-6

    By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

    The most important in a relationship is trust. It is impossible for a relationship to flourish without trust. In a world pleasures of flesh were supreme Enoch walked with God and tasted the eternal life and pleasures that none had experienced in his time. Why? Because the world was concentrated on its immediate gratification of this life. It takes faith for us to believe there will be a resurrection when we shall be rejoined with him in the heavens of heaven.

    Matthew 13:53-58

    53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

    But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

    58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

    When we read the bible without faith; we see Jesus as the son of a carpenter, son of Mary and count him as ordinary man. What was the outcome? They could not receive the greater miracles.

    Can you limit God from performing the impossible in your life?

    With God all things are possible. He is kept on knocking on the door will you open the door to let him in.

    Amen!(16)
    • Newbegin,

      Thank you, it makes me think:

      Rom 12:2 we are transformed to know God's will
      Heb 11:5-6 to please God like Enoch we must do His will

      Is our goal in life to be kind & gentle or to know God and have a relationship with Him which has the fringe benefit of a changed nature. Rom 6:22  But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God's slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life. 

      Also when people met Jesus they queried - where did he get his abilities - do people notice we are different and query why?

      Amen!(8)
  5. Rom 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
    This is the text that resonates with me because my temprement is a Guardian which is introvert, concrete thinking, logical, conforming to standards.
    I have experienced the living power of the Word of the LORD to transform my mind, when I spend time daily studying and meditating in the Word my actions are more like Jesus, but when I go without that power source my light dims.

    God's goal for us is to be like Jesus, so what is His temprement? Was He idealist, rationalist, artisan or guardian?
    No surprise, He embraced the best of all types. What is your type? Do you reflect that part of Jesus?
    Paul in the remainder of Romans 12 recognizes that humans have been given a variety of spiritual gifts and instructs us to develop and use them without hypocrisy, to be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.
    He ends the chapter with what was one of my Mother's favorite verses: Rom 12:18 if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.

    Amen!(7)
  6. Discussion for today: What is your answer to someone who says "One can be good without Jesus to transform them"?

    Amen!(5)
    • I would be very cautious in answering such a question and my answer would depend on who was asking and why. I have very good un-churched friends who altruistically serve the community and who essentially are an example to me. Is it possible that Jesus is transforming them "anonymously"? So many folk have had a bad experience with people carrying the Christian tag and have rejected Christianity as hypocrisy, yet they feel the call to selflessly serve others. Perhaps Jesus is saying, "I understand!" to these people.

      Amen!(16)
      • I absolutely agree with your thoughts regarding anonymous transformation (Luke 6:43-45) and compassionate understanding (John 8:11; Luke 23:34; John 3:17).

        Amen!(4)
        • A few pertinent quotes by Sister White on this topic from:

          https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/746.77:

          The Basis of God’s Decision

          Far more important than when God will decide is how He will decide our destiny. What standard does He use and how will He determine whether or not that standard has been met? Ellen White answers these questions for us. The standard, she says, is “the law of God...by which the characters and the lives of men will be tested in the judgment” (The Great Controversy, 482). In support of her position she quotes Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; James 2:12, and Romans 2:12-16. She is also quick to point out that faith in Jesus Christ is essential in order for men to be able to keep God’s law and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (The Great Controversy, 436). IJWEGW 9.2

          Since all men are different, and no two people have identical heredity and backgrounds, God does not expect the same response from one as from another. Ellen White states: IJWEGW 9.3

          “He has given light and life to all, and according to the measure of light given, each is to be judged.”—The Desire of Ages, 210.

          “Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth, and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear, they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected.... Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness.”—513C 1145.

          “None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain.”—513C 1145. (See also Testimonies for the Church 2:691.)

          When Ellen White speaks of light that is brought to an individual, she specifies that it is not light unless he understands it. “We shall not be held accountable,” she states, “for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused” (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1145). Again, she declares that it is “the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul” that will condemn sinners in the judgment (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1145). IJWEGW 9.4

          On such a basis, there is hope even for those in heathen lands who have never had the opportunity of hearing the gospel. Ellen White unequivocally declares: IJWEGW 9.5

          “Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality,yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God. IJWEGW 10.1

          “How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me’! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval.”—The Desire of Ages, 638.

          Again and again, she emphasizes the importance of our attitude toward the needy and the suffering. She states: IJWEGW 10.2

          “At the last day the final decision by the Judge of all the earth will turn upon our interest in, and practical labor for, the needy, the oppressed, the tempted. You cannot always pass these by on the other side, and yourselves find entrance as redeemed sinners into the city of God.”—The Review and Herald, October 30, 1886, p. 738.

          “He has plainly stated that the decisions of the last day will turn upon the question of practical benevolence.”—The Review and Herald, July 11, 1899, p. 437.

          “When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and suffering.”—The Desire of Ages, 637.

          Amen!(1)
          • Thanks Sieg for your time and effort to provide those quotes.

            In light of this information that you have selected and provided, what is your perspective on this topic?

            Amen!(0)
          • Hi Phil. I cut and pasted from the link 🙂

            I agree with the author that many will be saved who haven't received the formal Gospel. Many others will be lost who have received the formal Gospel but have rejected it as evidenced of their lack of love for God and for His other children (Romans 2:13-16; see also Matthew 25:31-46).

            Amen!(1)
      • I've never heard/seen anyone mentioning Jesus transforming people "anonymously," but I like the concept.
        We are told that Christ enlightens every person who comes into this world. (John 1:9) And I understand that there will be people in heaven who have never heard the name of Christ but were obedient to His Spirit and manifested it in self-sacrificing love.

        I also believe we have gone down a rabbit trail by applying a very specific meaning to the "testimony of Jesus" that marks God's last-day people. Try thinking of the "testimony of Jesus" in light of the gospels. What was Christ's testimony? What message to all of creation did His life embody? Was He not demonstrating the agape love/ self-denying, self-sacrificing love of the Godhead? If that is so, then that defines the "testimony of Jesus" which is to characterize all of God's endtime people. Note that in Revelation 12:17, the "rest of her offspring" (of the pure woman, representing the people of God) have the "testimony of Jesus." This seems to refer to the whole group of "offspring," not to one or several individuals. Thus God's endtime people have the same "testimony" that Jesus had. They are a testimony to the agape love of the Father.

        I'm sure you've read also that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" and your mind jumped immediately to one individual who called herself the "Messenger of the Lord," and I believe she was, indeed, a messenger of the Lord given as a gift to God's endtime people. However, let's look a little more closely at the work of prophets. The meaning of the word "prophet" is "one who speaks for God." A prophet's words are respected as messages from God. Now let's apply that to God's endtime people: They have the testimony of Jesus - a testimony of God's agape love - and they have the "spirit of prophecy," that is, they speak for God. They demonstrate and speak a message from God. That is the work God designed for His last-day people. Have we missed it because we were simply proud of having a "prophet" in our midst?

        The life and work of Ellen White, exemplary though it was, will save no one. However, the "testimony of Jesus" evident in His people will have a power to draw many to Christ.

        Now back to the "anonymous" transformation of people: In light of John 1:9, I find it entirely plausible that God is transforming people into His image in spite of their bad experiences with nominal Christians, and they will recognize Him as their Lord when He comes.

        Amen!(11)
        • Thank you for your explanation of 'the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy' which I've always heard but was just shy of understanding peoples explanation. I have a better understanding of it now.

          Amen!(2)
    • Shirley, I would have to answer that maybe they just do not recognize that Jesus is working in their life, yet. I think it was Ghandi that said “preach the gospel daily, and when necessary, use words”. If such “good” people are opened to the Holy Spirit, He will lead them to know Jesus when they’re ready.

      Amen!(4)
    • Hi Shirley?
      Goodness is relative.
      During the Polish killing of the Jews in the famous Poland Concentration Camps, one who was good was an individual who could kill as many Jews as possible.

      Goodness in the land of carnibalism means one's ability to find food for starving children.

      Goodness is said when we meet benevolence. If a thousand die of Corona, goodness comes when you and your family did not die, even if you virtually help God with nothing!

      So generally true, one can be good without Jesus' transformation of them.

      But "goodness" as the third in the second triad, and the sixth of the nine Fruits of the Spirit, is God-given.

      The Biblical "Goodness" is the generosity of love. Synonymous with moral excellence, honesty, and even integrity, is an inward disposition of right doing.

      We know that the first triad of the Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy and peace) shows man's relationship with God. The next triad, in which the virtue in question is, (patience, kindness, goodness) show man-to-man relationship. The last triad (faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), show personal life and character.
      The man-to-man goodness is a sunny-side influence mapped by the earliest (LOVE, the queen of all virtues). And love is the not just Jesus, but Jesus the Christ.

      To that level, under what circumstances can one possess the virtue of goodness without Jesus' Christ?

      Amen!(1)
      • Thank you Simon for showing us the different understandings of the word "good".
        People can help others for their own reasons, we won't earn salvation by helping others however if we have the love of Jesus in our hearts we will love and help others.

        Your explanation of the triads in the Fruit of the Spirit is new to me and gives me deeper understanding of them and is the gospel in a nutshell!

        Amen!(1)
      • Wasn't Jesus described as one who "went about doing good"? Perhaps His example of doing "good" will provide a proper definition of the word, according to the will of God.

        Amen!(0)
  7. "it is impossible for us ,of ourselves to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. our hearts are evil, and we can't not change them. "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing?-Not one" " The carnal mind is enmity is against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be "
    Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. there may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they can not change the heart; they can not purify the springs of life. there must be a power working from within, a NEW life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That Power is CHRIST." steps to Christ p 19.

    here is the thing everything , made by man comes with a manual,
    mankind manual " THE WORD OF GOD" is eternal , it contains the power to stop the sin pandemic that mankind is facing for almost six thousand years, "chose this day who you will serve" the book of life, not to chose book of life is to chose eternal separation from God, the choice is ours.

    Amen!(4)
  8. How can we measure faith? How can we believe in something we cannot see? Which voices are we hearing inside? These can only be answered by experience. God has to be an individual friend first. Then we can share Him. It has to matter to me first.

    Amen!(6)
  9. Before we look at a few options, let us make it clear that we are not judging anyone, just trying to understand how God who looks at the heart looks at us in certain situations.

    There are a few texts we might consider:
    Matt 25, which starts with "the kingdom of heaven is like" and carries on and in Matt 25:31-46 describes the righteous as those who fed, clothed, housed, visited those in need and states that they will receive eternal life. Does this apply to anyone even if they are atheists?
    Then there is Rom 2:14  For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Rom 2:15  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; 

    Does the reason why people care for others matter to God? Does He only want them to be like Him or does He also want them to love Him?

    Again, I am not judging anyone, just trying to understand how the LORD views me and others. Maybe I don't qualify as righteous by those standards?

    Amen!(6)
  10. And then there is also the words of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:4 and the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:1.

    Amen!(2)
  11. Any show of love that is not borne out of an experience with Jesus is based on works, which means there is no acceptance of the grace which the death of Jesus on the cross offers and sorry to say may not be acceptable. it is not by might, nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord. We must believe and accept that it is the Lord that is working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.

    Amen!(4)
  12. Many in Jesus' day accepted in their conscience the Divine authority of scripture, but did not receive it in their heart by faith. Truth formed their doctrine and fueled their debates, but was not demonstrated in their daily life. This intellectual acceptance has no power to transform the life. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him", and without faith, the word of God is powerless to save.

    A sinner saved and sanctified by the truth will give evidence by their daily life, as Paul was a different person than Saul, or as the repentant Peter was bold to risk his life for the gospel after having once denied his Lord 3 times.

    If sanctified by Truth, the sinner loves God supremely, and their neighbor as their self. Self is no longer their god.

    Amen!(5)
  13. To be guided by the Holy Ghost.

    What a study? What are our beliefs!!
    Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little....
    Some says love comes first, some says no, faith, some thought believing, others trust. But what does the bible says?

    Jesus confronted the disciples with this question, Matt 16:13 but whom say ye that I am? Who revealed that to Peter? Did Peter just knew that from intellectual studies of the scroll?

    John 3:8-15 story of Nicodemus. A powerful one. Those verses led us to verses John 16-17.
    Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council
    He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration... but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you {DA 171.1}
    2 Kings 22:3-20 Verse 1 stated Josiah became king at the age of eight. Then I was wondering what was he doing all the time until he was twenty six yrs old. I turned to 2 Chron 34:1-33 and got the full story. He began to seek the Lord. The Bible says his father Amon was evil, and so was his grandfather Manasseh. But his great grandfather Hezekiah was good.

    I asked, how were his father and grandfather so evil, but he was so good and his heart pleased God like his great grandfather? I realized in serving God it does not matter where or who we come in contact with, if we truly seek God with a clean and pure heart to know him, he will send the Holy Ghost to direct our path. Josiah desired was to know Jesus and serve him. Despite he did not have the book of the law/scroll(bible), how did he knew those graven images both his father and grandfather erected were wrong in Jesus site?

    To be guided by the Holy Ghost is a wonderful thing. The Holy Ghost is with everyone, but not in everyone.
    When the Holy Ghost dwells in people/his children, he brings his character Gal 5:22-23 What a beauty!!
    As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely. {COL 67.3}

    Amen!(3)

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