Christians are called to fight an ongoing battle against a spiritual adversary. But this is only possible if we are being transformed by the Spirit of God. Peter encourages believers to stay alert and watch out, so we can successfully conquer and be victorious in our struggles. We win this spiritual warfare by becoming holy as God is holy. It is only the spirit of God that will give us the courage of our convictions, and the godly character that will set us apart from this world. How does this happen?
Applying Wisdom from the Spirit
Paul spoke to the Corinthians of the need for spiritual wisdom to discern one of the dangers in their society. He warned about avoiding mismatched alliances that were inconsistent with faithfully serving God. In Roman society the wealthy would create ‘client relationships’ with their subordinates who were often required to do the ‘dirty work’ for them. Paul was instructing Christians to be careful about people to whom they would owe favours. The believer was to be separate from the ways of society, so that God could dwell with them. They would not need the protection of these ‘client relationships’ for God would be their source of protection. And God’s spirit would lead them.
The Spirit Transforms our Nature
God’s purpose was to have his people become ever more like their Creator. They were to be holy as God is holy, so he could dwell with them. They could eventually be perfected and become his children — sons and daughters of God. How would this metamorphosis take place? Christ was perfected through living a human life and experiencing suffering, so he could fulfil his role as high priest. He would also become the firstborn of many brethren. For believers, this process begins with stripping off all the old evil ways and putting on a totally new nature. It is the spirit of God in us that brings about this transformation.
The Spirit of Comfort and Truth
Jesus, told his followers that the Father would send the Comforter, the spirit of truth, and it would be within them. They would be transformed by the spirit of God! How? At baptism they would be born of water and receive the gift of the spirit. It would give them understanding of the truth, and the love, desire, and power to keep God’s commandments. No longer would they be hostile to God’s ways, self-willed, and loathe to obey God’s laws. God, through his spirit would renew their minds, transform their hearts, and eventually give them the gift of eternal life.
The Spirit Gives Power to Perform
On the day of Pentecost those who were transformed by the spirit of God were given a job to do. They were commissioned to be God’s witnesses to the ‘ends of the earth.’ But they would not do this on their own. God’s spirit would give them power and the ability to perform and achieve God’s purpose. And more than this, it would empower them to be transformed into the very image of Christ. It is ‘all who overcome’ and conquer through the power of God’s spirit who will inherit all things and dwell with the Father. What a great future awaits those who are victorious. For having been transformed by the spirit of God, they can look forward to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. A time when God’s children will dwell with him forever.
Learn more about the Spirit of God