- Those of us here on the White Horse Inn certainly believe that people not only can be transformed, but that every Christian is transformed and is in the process of being transformed. But we just think very differently about that than most Americans today. Personal transformation is just not a category for us. That's a term with a lot of baggage. Generally speaking it's the kind of transformation that I'm still in charge of and that I can manage with the right game plan.
The new birth -- conversion and repentance -- now that's a completely different kettle of fish. God assails me from out of nowhere in judgment by His Word and Spirit; nails me, brings me to the point of agreeing with His judgment about me, and then executes me. And then through that pulls me out through the other side alive with Christ out at the other end as new creatures.
So it's actually the devil who's in the business of keeping folks on the treadmill of makeovers, New Year's resolutions, and self-help fads in order to improve the self. It's God who's in the business of killing us and making us new creatures in His Son. It's called mortification (dying to self) and vivification (living to God in Jesus Christ). And it doesn't just happen once, but every day until we're glorified. Furthermore, it's something that God does to us through His Word of Law and Gospel. Not something that we can do for ourselves, through our own clever programs.
- And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."