Your transformation starts with faith. The transformation process will not work unless the life of Christ is in you and you do what God asks. Because God is so gracious, He provides what you need to get started – FAITH and He gives what you need to keep going, His Spirit.
The first step in your transformation starts with faith. Faith is adequately defined as a “Firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing.” God has provided us with the ability to have this “firm persuasion.” Look at 2 Peter 1:1 to see something unique about faith.
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 1:1
The word “obtained” refers to how we got our faith, which tends to give a wrong impression of what the Greek word tells us. The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Louw-Nida) provides the following definition:
To receive, with the implication that the process is related somehow to divine will or favor.
Similarly, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament (Zodhiates) provides,
To obtain by lot (Luke 1:9), to have fallen to oneself. To obtain (Acts 1:17; 2 Pet. 1:1). To cast lots (John 19:24). The Mishna informs us that the various offices of priests and Levites in the daily service were determined by lot.
So, this faith is not something you searched for, selected, or purchased. It is something that God, because of His marvelous character and grace, has allotted to you as His child. It is the same faith given to the apostles.
What is this faith?
I believe it is Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection,
So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17
Your transformation starts with faith in Jesus! Without Him, you have little power to do any of the following seven steps. This faith can be “…like precious faith with us,” which means the apostles. While I am not at the same level as the apostles, I am in the same family. And they, like you and me, can have a “like precious faith” when we accept the reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The transformation process will not work unless God, in His power, works in you and you choose to do what He asks. Because God is so gracious, He provides what you need to get started – FAITH and He gives what you need to keep going, the life of Jesus and the energy of His Spirit.
Faith is central to the complete Gospel message. The good news is you are His child if you have trusted in Jesus Christ, AND you are delivered from the “corruption that is in this world” daily by trusting in what God asks you to do.
Faith is tied to humility
There is more opportunity to trust God when you accept that you are under God. Humility accepts that you can’t and won’t change without God’s provision.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6
Faith is a critical issue in life. It is crucial because God has built the entire system of human existence upon faith. Everything God has instituted for human behavior, DONE CORRECTLY, requires faith. Everything in the Old or New Testament is built on the foundation of faith in God, that He is PERFECT, and that His ways are the right ways.
The next step is where you choose a virtue of Jesus Christ. Do you want the virtues, goodness, or moral excellence of Jesus Christ?
This step is about you saying to God, “I recognize you are the Lord, the Master, and I am the servant. I accept my place. I want to be like You and what You want me to be.” Using the faith that God has provided, you can now trust His ability to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The third step is knowledge, not intellectual knowledge, but spiritual knowledge. You gather knowledge about the virtue or moral excellence that you would like in your life. It is the “practical knowledge” of learning from God how things work and how to handle life successfully. It is an understanding of life drawn from God’s Word, which includes practical discrimination of good and evil and an intelligent appreciation of God's will in your daily activities.
While transformation starts with faith, there are things to learn to have faith in. This is not intellectual but spiritual knowledge about the virtue or moral excellence you would like. It is the “practical knowledge” of learning from God how things work and how to handle life successfully. It is an understanding of life drawn from God’s Word, which includes practical discrimination of good and evil and an intelligent appreciation of God's will in your daily activities.
This knowledge comes from God, primarily through God’s Word. It is not knowledge for just knowing something, but for transformation and being conformed into being like Christ Jesus. The more you learn about the virtues of Jesus Christ, you will likely desire to have those virtues in your life.
Spiritual knowledge can deepen your desire and need for transformation, but that is not causal. It is still your choice to use it. Knowledge helps change your thinking, preparing you for self-control or temperance, the next step.