The will of God: Man's transformation
God wants His people to know His will. Not just for the future but also for the present. There is a fine line between His promises and His will. His promises will always come to pass—either in this life or the next. On the other hand, His will is what He wants for us.... and He wants to transform us:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:15 ESV)
Christ did not come to die for our sins in order to tell us when the next major event will take place in our lives. He resurrected to fulfill His promise and demonstrate His power over death. To bring us hope in two ways. First and foremost, His resurrection gave us hope for everlasting life. The hope that we in our feeble and dead bodies will be resurrected on the last day and called to Him. Hope in this life is NOT enough:
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV).
The greatest of all hope is the hope of everlasting life in Christ. Even if this hope seems so esoteric at the moment, it will become dear to your hearts one day. Oh how I pray that God will teach us to number our days and show us our ends. It is good for us to remember the end of our lives. How else does one yearn for an eternal home without recognizing the brokenness of this world? Indeed, this world is so broken that even the most beautiful and majestic places of the sea are still infested with pestilence from the heart of the earth. Yet, in Christ, we have eternal life and one day, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV). The hope that the apostle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 15:19 is the hope of a sojourner— a Pilgrim who is traveling and is merely passing by.
Secondly, Christ’s resurrection gives us hope that our sins will be defeated. It is the hope of sanctification of the believer. The apostle did not hesitate to insist that our hope in Christ is relevant to this side of reality:
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV).
In other words, the resurrection of Christ is a demonstration of power to defeat sins. Why is that? This is so because sin leads to death and since death itself could not defeat our Savior, how can sin stand a chance? When we think about sin and death, we realize that if God has the power to give grace through salvation, He can give us grace for transformation and sanctification. Why does one simply hope to be transformed in this life? It is because this hope is the evidence that one has been saved.
It is not enough to want Heaven. You have to seek the kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness— which is Christ. The gospel is the good news that God’s anger has been appeased by the only one in all of Heaven who is worthy to die for your sins. A Christian is one who has the living God dwelling in him or her. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is Christ. If Christ is in us who empowers us, then one manifestation of His presence is a desire and growth in holiness. Christ empowers us to do all things if and when necessary (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, transformation is a will of God. It is extremely dangerous to live as a christian without evidence of transformation, for the infinite and eternal God is surely never satisfied with this sinful and broken flesh of ours. He is always working to conform His children to be more like Christ (Romans 8:29). It is also the Holy Spirit that seals us for everlasting glory with Christ. Therefore, lacking in this crucial piece of evidence should make us tremble.
Thus, the will of God, as revealed to us in the most general way—is to give us eternal life in Christ: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV). It is also to transform us into His image in the meantime.