Transformation. The Christian Gospel is the good news of transformation—God’s and our own. First and foremost, the good news is that God—who created this vast and ancient universe—consented to become like one of us. He took on a human brain and a human body and was born of an earthly mother at Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. He became like us in every way except sin, even going so far as to suffer a brutal, bitter death and be laid in a borrowed tomb. There is nothing outside our human experience—except sin—that is foreign to him. He knows what it is like to be human from the inside.
God did all this for our sake. He became as we are now so that he might make us like he is now. He is at work, through his Spirit, to transform us and make us like him. The writer of 1 John puts it this way: “We will be like him because we will see him as he is.” To become like Christ doesn’t mean that we will one day become “little gods.” And it doesn’t mean that we will somehow look like him. It means, above all, that one day in glory we will be able to love as he loves. That’s the marvelous transformation he is working in us. He is making us new creatures.
Becoming more like Christ. That’s what we ask for, pray for, work for, live for, and die for. To become like him. That’s true not only for us as persons, but also for us as a community. The Spirit of Christ is creating a new community, and the hallmark of this community is love. This transformation is not completed on this side of the grave. It will only be finished in glory, but we are already on the way.
A comment by Martin Luther sums up our life here in this world. “This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing; not being but becoming; not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”