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What is Transformation?

The Bible clearly reveals that human beings are tripartite—that is, we were created by God with a spirit, a soul, and a body (1 Thes. 5:23). The Bible also reveals that God’s complete salvation is a salvation that includes our entire tripartite being. First, our spirit is regenerated. This means that our human spirit, the organ by which we contact, receive, and assimilate God, is born of God the Spirit to have the life of God. This is the meaning of being born again. Regeneration, or being born again, is instantaneous. At the coming of the Lord, our body will be transfigured from a body of humiliation into a body of glory, like the resurrected, glorified body of the Lord Jesus. This transfiguration of our body, like regeneration, will also be instantaneous. But there is a very crucial aspect of God’s salvation that, unfortunately, is neglected by many very serious students of the Word. This aspect is transformation.

It is important that we understand the basic truth concerning transformation. Transformation is not a matter of the spirit or of the body, but of the soul—the mind, emotion, and will. Our spirit is regenerated, our body is transfigured, but our soul is transformed. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of the mind. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that as we behold the Lord, we are transformed into His image from glory to glory. Transformation is an organic life process that brings about a metabolic change in our soul, to make our soul the expression of the Christ who dwells in our spirit. Transformation is not instantaneous but involves a long process beginning from the time of our regeneration. In transformation, the divine element spreads from our spirit into our soul, causing an organic and metabolic change. In this metabolic change, an old element is removed and discharged, and a new element is added to take the place of the old element. As the process of transformation is going on, the old natural element in our soul is discharged and a new divine element is added, causing our soul to be transformed from glory to glory. This results in a change in the constitution of the soul in that a divine element is now a part of our mind, emotion, and will. Furthermore, there is a change in the image within us so that our soul is more and more transformed into the Lord’s image to express Him (Rom. 8:29).

God’s goal in His economy is to have a corporate expression of Christ through God’s redeemed, regenerated people. For this it is not sufficient that we merely be regenerated in our spirit. We need our soul to be gradually transformed from glory to glory, saturated and permeated with the element of God, so that we express God, shine forth God, and glow with God for the glorious expression of God in Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

For further reading on this subject, please see the footnotes for the above referenced verses in the New Testament Recovery Version and Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, chapters seventeen and eighteen, by Witness Lee.

From Issue No. 16, August 1999

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